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For Them, It’s All a Scream

TIMES STAFF WRITER

So here we are hyperventilating at the Hollywood Bowl, site of so much hyperventilation in the past. Great concerts. Historic albums. And now Hanson, those titans of teen music. Pop culture in its first trimester.

“I can’t believe we’re actually here,” says Erica Perez, 9, breathless in the back row on Sunday. “This is so awesome.”

Here’s what I know about Hanson: There’s three of them. They are brothers. One is about 4 years old.

And every young girl in America has their pictures plastered to the back of her bedroom door. That’s how good they are.

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“I love you, Taylor!” screams a girl with a Hanson logo painted on her stomach. “I love you, too, Taylor!” screams her friend.

They have counted down to this night at the Hollywood Bowl the way women count down to their weddings. Only it’s bigger than that, the biggest concert of their lives. For many, the only concert of their lives.

“This is the first concert I’ve ever been to,” says Angelene Storey, 9. “I can’t believe this. It’s just . . . so awesome.”

Now, like you, I’ve read most of the literature on Hanson. My youngest daughter buys the magazines in bulk, to clip out the huge Hanson posters and to soak up the huge Hanson hype.

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“Ask mom and dad if it’s OK to have a Hanson pajama party at your house,” one magazine says, explaining the best way to hold such a gathering. “If it’s not convenient for your folks, you may feel disappointed, but try not to argue.”

But nothing has prepared me for this. This is big. This is loud. There’s something in the air. Could be Clearasil. Or maybe canned vegetables.

“We Love Creamed Corn,” a big neon green sign says, a reference to someone’s favorite food, maybe a Hanson.

And here’s what else I know about Hanson: It’s Hanson’s world. We just scream in it.

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The warmup band finishes. The girls scream. The next warmup band finishes. The girls scream. Nothing happens. The girls scream.

And when the curtain finally goes up for Hanson at 8:45--well past a lot of bedtimes--their fans really scream.

“I don’t know why they have to scream like this,” says Alexis Ryan, 8, as her mother returns from the concession area with earplugs for everybody in their group.

“They’re just not used to it,” her mother Dana explains. “The parents, our hearing was shot years ago. But the kids are having fun.”

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Obviously. At the first-aid station, a couple of girls are having so much fun, they’re receiving oxygen.

And at one point, the front rows are having so much fun that Zac, the drummer, gets out his Super Soaker squirt gun and hoses them down.

“He threw his water bottle,” one girl screams. “Did you see that? Isaac threw his water bottle!”

And when it’s over, Lauren Bobbitt, 12, sits in her seat, too stunned to leave, wiping tears with trembling fingers, not believing she was actually, really here.

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“When Taylor threw his shirt, I was freaking out,” she explains. “I was just freaking out.”

Her mother, who made the three-hour drive in from Palm Springs, had taken another daughter to a Smashing Pumpkins concert just two weeks before.

So does this make her a candidate for “mother of the year”?

“You kidding?” Vicki Bobbitt says. “They’ll be grateful for about a week.”

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Chris Erskine’s column, “The Guy Chronicles,” runs every Wednesday in Life & Style.


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