At GM Place on Monday, June 29
At 4 p.m., three hours before the Jonas Brothers concert was supposed to start, a black luxury SUV slowed to a crawl in front of GM Place’s Gate 9. A window rolled down, and the face of lead singer Joe Jonas—“the cute one”—appeared as he waved to a throng of fans on the sidewalk. In the closest thing I’ve seen to Beatlemania redux, hysterical screams erupted among the young girls who had gathered in the faint hope of precisely such a JoBro sighting, and 30 kids instantly dashed into the street and mobbed the car. It continued moving, and I felt sure that some overzealous tween would soon discover what it felt like when an Escalade rolls onto a flip-flop-clad foot. Hulking security personnel had to exit the vehicle and yell and push at the frantic horde before the car could safely continue.
Ninety minutes later, at a special “sound check party” inside a GM Place meeting room that was crammed with a couple of hundred contest winners and the lucky chosen few, there would be no such reckless behaviour. The Jonas Brothers fans who’d assembled there were warned twice that if any of them made a move toward the front of the room—where their heroes would soon perform acoustically—they would be escorted away. Nobody warned them about making noise, though, so when Joe strolled out with his guitar-toting brothers Nick and Kevin, a hellish caterwauling ensued.
Between laid-back performances of its hits “Year 3000”, “Love Bug”, and “S.O.S.”, the trio opened the floor up to questions, eliciting such thoughtful queries as “Can I have a hug?” and “Why are you so hot?” Not once did the topic of the Jonas Brothers’ music come up. Hugs and hotness trump tunes in JoBro World, it appears.
Although the concert was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., there was a serious delay in the assembling of the stage, and the doors didn’t open until after 7:30. Following three- and four-song sets, respectively, by Honor Society (sort of a nerdier-looking, slightly more aggressive version of the Jonases) and Jordin Sparks (an awesome R&B-pop crooner and former American Idol winner), the headliners took the stage to the strains of Queen’s “We Will Rock You”, then put the lie to that claim with the lightweight “Paranoid”, the first single off their new CD, Lines, Vines and Trying Times. Considering that Joe Jonas is a healthy 19-year-old who, like his evangelical Christian brethren, has vowed to abstain from premarital sex, you’d think his pent-up gonads would have him leaping about like Bruce Dickinson circa 1982. Instead, he sauntered around the perimeter of the stage like he had all the time in the world to get his sacred rocks off. I suppose he does.
“Thanks for being patient,” blathered one of the brothers, “we promise to put on one of the best shows ever for you guys tonight.” With a 10-piece backup band that included guitar, keys, drums, bass, violin, viola, and a four-piece horn section, they certainly had a lot of help in achieving that aim. But the real star of the show was the stage itself, a massive in-the-round setup that included secondary platforms on each side and an immense, circular lighting rig that also served as a video screen.
The biggest highlight of the 21-song set came with the soulful reappearance of powerhouse Sparks on her single “Battlefield”; the night’s lowlight was a tempo-trashing take on Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”. Somewhere in between lay “Live to Party”, the theme song from the new Disney Channel show Jonas. While Nick hammered the drums on that frisky tune, Joe and Kevin rode on a hydraulic lift and shot foamy white liquid out over the heads of the gyrating floor crowd.
Easy, boys. Don’t forget about those purity rings.