There are three ways to know you’re at a Hanson gig; A) the tumbleweed rolling across the men’s urinals, B) the merchandise, and C) the resounding screaming that is audible only to a certain breed of Chihuahuas.

Tonight’s show at The Palace proved there is still much love in the loins for Zac, Taylor and – to a slightly lesser extent – Isaac. Every girl in attendance had a backstory to tell, whether it was a mock wedding ceremony with Zac or an angry blonde who is still pissed at her mother for not letting her see the band at Southland Shopping Centre.

Suffice to say, if you were a male and attended, it was because you had either been dragged along by a partner or were a couple of months early for the Refused gig.

After making the near-fatal mistake of trying to walk through the mosh pit to get to the bar, this reviewer settled on a restricted view near the back of the venue. Apparently many fans had lined up from 10am to get the best vantage point. Even if the Devil himself unleashed an apocalyptic war with the sole purpose of destroying humanity, these girls weren’t budging.

A young fellow from Nashville, USA named Matt Wertz did his best in the support slot. Though inoffensive, his constant harping of his love for Melbourne did begin to grate. So too did his comment about the repercussions of the Palace’s mezzanine collapsed, and how all underneath would perish. Ouch. Admittedly he did get a few decent cheers, though some were due to informing the crowd of Hanson’s set times.

After a lengthy interval, the big moment arrived. Girls screamed, boys hid under their collars and security braced for impact.

The first noticeable observation was that the three boys are far shorter in real life. Isaac, who always seemed to monster his two siblings in video clips, seemed particularly petite. To be fair, Zac and Taylor were probably still going through a growth spurt during the 90s. Besides, as most of the crowd pointed out, it didn’t really matter – the sight of Taylor in suspenders was ‘gorgeous’ enough.

As expected, the band ran through a legion of hits across a hearty hour and 40 minute set. These included ‘Penny And Me’, ‘The Time Around’, ‘If Only’, ‘Where’s The Love?’ and a worthwhile rendition of The Beatles’ ‘Oh Darling’. There were a few notable omissions, especially with more downtrodden works like ‘Weird’ and ‘I Will Come To You’.

The most surprising facet of the night, however, was how well new material such as ‘Give A Little’ was received. Even more surprising was how good they actually sounded. That said, the band could’ve ripped out ‘Mary Had A Little Lamb’ and the punters would’ve hollered with the same gusto.

The inevitable ‘MMMBop’ moment exploded toward the climax of the set. A predictable reaction ensued, a roar matched only when Taylor informed the room that they’ll be back again soon.

While often maligned, the track is still an extremely classy piece of pop. It’s also the catchiest tune to fill a headspace since John Farnham and Human Nature teamed up to rock out ‘Every Time You Cry’.

Though loved and sometimes despised, Hanson is an exception in today’s disposable pop realm. While nowadays the likes of One Direction attract the same fanfare, they clearly don’t posses the same depth of talent, a fact that’s strongly proven by the trio. For starters, the three Hanson brothers can write, perform and – as tonight proved – put on a show as excitable as it was fifteen years ago.

-Paul Bonadio (