Jonas Brothers / July 15, 2009 / East Rutherford, NJ (IZOD Center)
And yet, with its trampoline flips, rapping bodyguards, foam-releasing hoses, and other spectacular stage antics, the Jonas Brothers' show could actually be described as a musical circus of sorts.
Even after three opening sets, anticipation did not waver for the band of brothers. In fact, it was continuously stoked by an emcee who asked the audience if any of its members wanted to be the "future Mrs. Jonas." By the time the introduction song, Queen's "We Will Rock You," boomed in the darkness and colored lights burst to reveal Kevin, Nick and Joe, fans were more than ready to rock.
The Jonas Brothers charged into their set with "Paranoid," the lead single from new album "Lines, Vines and Trying Times," then played four more consecutive songs with the accompaniment of strong horn and string sections. Youngest brother Nick Jonas and his piano turned on the revolving stage for an emotional medley of "Black Keys" and "A Little Bit Longer," a personal song he wrote about his struggle with type 1 diabetes. "I made a commitment to myself…that I wouldn't let it slow me down," he shared, recalling the moment he was diagnosed. "Don't ever let it slow you down, because I believe in you. I want to thank you for believing in me."
The mood switched with the Jonas Brothers' cover of British pop-punk band Busted's "Year 3000," and the song's lascivious lyrics were toned down to better suit this particular fanbase. Joe slid and stepped along with the grooving horn section while the audience sang the chorus.
"I think it's time for the parents to show off their grooves," the boys then announced, encouraging the adults in the audience to rise for a cover of Neil Diamond's "Sweet Caroline" that younger fans still enjoyed.
Nick demonstrated his drumming abilities during "Live to Party" while Joe and Kevin sprayed foam at fans, who cheered for at least one meager drop to land on them. At the center stage, two snare drummers rotated in a foggy haze as former "American Idol" winner Jordin Sparks rose from below the stage to sing her new single, "Battlefield," off her upcoming album of the same name.
The highlights didn't end there, though. After a quick outfit change, Kevin emerged sporting a white trench coat and black umbrella as water showered a side stage in the shape of falling hearts. Nick followed, and the Jonas Brothers launched into one of their biggest hits, the retro-sounding "Lovebug."
The brothers unleashed "Burnin' Up" for the encore, featuring a brief rap performance by their bodyguard, "Big Rob." When they finally held hands, bowed and said goodnight, fans screamed and promptly fled from the arena, hoping to catch a glimpse their favorite rock stars leaving the arena.
New Jersey pop-rock outfit Honor Society rocketed through its opening set with catchy, fast-paced tunes that sometimes even boasted guitar solos. Country-pop singer/songwriter Jessie James wasn't as enthusiastically received by the tween crowd, but she impressed with her single "Wanted," an edgy song co-written by Kara DioGuardi that owes a debt to Christina Aguilera.
It was Jordin Sparks who really ignited the crowd in preparation for the Jonas Brothers' set. Sparks strutted around the perimeter of the circular stage adorned in glitter, fringes, and high heels and previewed songs from "Battlefield" (due out July 21 on 19/Jive), including "S.O.S." and "Walking On Snow." The 19-year-old singer showcased her vocal prowess beautifully during, "Tattoo," her first-ever single, and fans swayed and waved glow sticks in response, uniting in a rare moment of blissful calm.
Here is the Jonas Brothers' set list:
"That's Just the Way We Roll"
"Play My Music"
"Fly with Me"
"Black Keys/A Little Bit Longer"
"Gotta Find You"
"Turn Right" "When You Look Me in the Eyes"
"Sweet Caroline" (Neil Diamond cover)
"Live to Party" "BB Good"
"World War III"
"Battlefield" (with Jordin Sparks)