“I want to throw up,” a fan two seats over from me screams. It’s her last verbal expression before the Jonas Brothers walk out on stage – but far from her last emotional expression. While she (luckily) does not throw up, she’s screaming. She’s jumping up and down. So are nearly 20,000 other people shortly after 9:15pm on September 5thin Columbus, Ohio.
There’s a three part screen that will serve as the back drop for the Jonas Brothers, shapeshifting throughout the set – at times being one large screen, and other times breaking apart into three individual screens. Throughout the set, there’s a story that plays on this backdrop. It starts with the three brothers walking through a door and coming out the other side as their younger selves. When this is complete, the touring members come out first, standing off to the back of the stage. The Jonas Brothers come down on a rising platform, each decked out in a bright suit (Joe in blue, Nick in orange, and Kevin in green), with a color coordinated mic stand for extra effect.
After opening with “Rollercoaster,” the Jonas Brothers stop and just stare out into the crowd. What ensues is easily the loudest cheer I’ve heard from a concert – one that I’m not sure would have had a safe decibel reading. The screen behind then briefly shows “SOS” and then the band breakings into the upbeat pop-punk track. While the band’s new music sounds categorically different than this song, they don’t miss a beat of it at all.
The screen behind them shows a “What Is Human” video, and the band dives into a staggering performance of “Only Human.” There’s a pure, admirable moment that comes during the band’s performance “Strangers,” in which Kevin attempts to throw a guitar pick into the audience but it doesn’t quite make it. Without missing a note, Joe picks up the guitar pick and gives it to a security guard, along with a signed CD that he seemingly pulls out of his pocket, asking the guard to hand it to someone in the audience. This isn’t the only time this happens during their set, and you can tell it’s something that their fans (especially the ones that received these gifts) really appreciate.
Kevin keeps a guitar (electric or acoustic) on him at all times, Nick rotates in and out of being an additional guitar player, and Joe confidently walks through the stage all night. But if they’re the main attraction, then their touring members is an incredible side show to watch as well. They all are seemingly having as much fun on stage as the three brothers are, and humorously al interacting with one another all night, truly rounding out the show. It’s something that you don’t see too often, as most times touring members are confined to the back of the stage. That wasn’t the case here, as they were walking around with the brothers all night, sharing the stage as equals and adding an interesting dynamic to the show.
After performing “Fly With Me,” Kevin takes a few moments to talk to the audience. He talks about how they started talking about reuniting as the Jonas Brothers about two years ago, and thanked the fans for bearing with them, and then they dive right into “Used to Be” after a slight wardrobe change, which essentially just involved taking off their suits. During this song, the Jonas Brothers walk off the stage, between the divider that splits the audience into two sections, and immediately are greeted with fans leaving their seats and rushing to the barricade to get closer to the three brothers. Their walk concludes at an incredibly small b-stage a the end of the floor, one that’s barely big enough to hold all three of them. The first song to be played on this stage is “Hesitate,” with Kevin and Nick playing guitar. Back on the main stage, the two screens come together and cover the touring band. A consistent drum kick echoes throughout the arena, as the only sign the band is still behind the screen and not taking any sort of break.
At the end of the song, they take a fan request for “Turn Right,” so they kindly oblige as promised. This time it’s purely just the brothers, with none of their touring band at all. Joe continues his appreciation for fans, at one point during the song he picks up a phone from the crowd and starts recording a video from the stage. While they originally offer to take a second request from fans, Nick instead busts into the opening guitar riff of “Gotta Find You” on acoustic guitar – bringing back memories of Camp Rockto everyone in attendance.
Next up, it’s time for some solo projects to get some love in the set. First up is Nick Jonas’ solo hit, “Jealous” – but this version finds Joe taking over for the second verse and pre-chorus, joining Nick for the rest of the song. When it’s time for “Cake By the Ocean,” Nick picks up a guitar while Joe asks the crowd to go crazy, and they do. Some inflatable tube men come up from the ground, bringing the silliness of DNCE to the Jonas Brothers, and soon confetti shoots out causing even more (good) chaos in the crowd.
Following an interlude where Nick and Joe run off the stage, Kevin finally reappears with a new outfit after the solo projects get their time to shine. He comes up through the floor of the stage, showing off his piano skills for “Comeback.” Nick comes up through the floor with a different outfit as well, ditching his orange jumpsuit for a sleek, stiped jacket and blank pants. Joe doesn’t re-appear until the second verse, wearing black jeans and black jeans. The song ends and Nick takes over on piano for their song “When You Look Me in the Eyes,” a song that played at my eighth grade formal but still holds up today as a solid ballad from the band.
Once again, the Jonas Brothers return to their b-stage. Joe acknowledges, “There’s a few things different about the Jonas Brothers shows now. One thing is, I see a lot of people drinking out there,” and then proposes a toast. He toasts to their fans for waiting patiently on their reunion, and this Columbus, Ohio show. Toasting to new fans and familiar faces. This time on the b-stage, they rip through an impressive medley of their older songs: “Mandy,” “Paranoid,” “Got Me Going Crazy,” “Play My Music,” “World War III,” “Hold On,” and “Tonight.” All the while, the music videos to these old songs are being displayed on the big screens back on the main stage.
After the medley ends, the Jonas brothers go back on their main stage to play “Lovebug” and their ever-so-endearing cover of Busted’s “Year 3000” to close out the set. They run off the stage, but everyone knows they’ll be back out soon. And they return, first with “Burnin’ Up” and pyro all around the stage, and closing out the show for good this time with their impressive comeback single, “Sucker.”
One of the most impressive things about the Jonas Brothers reunion is how they’ve become even more popular than they ever were. For as big as they were, they never had a #1 single on the Hot 100 until “Sucker” came out earlier this year. Another layer to this success is that it has become less “embarrassing” to like the Jonas Brothers. When they were around pre-break up, there was this silly connotation that you couldn’t like the Jonas Brothers unless you were a young woman – something that obviously had no merit. Now, as their fans have gotten older from that time, everyone’s come to realize how wrong they were for shaming others for liking this pop-rock band that just so happened to have a young female audience. There’s nothing wrong with having that audience, and there’s nothing wrong with liking the Jonas Brothers.
Now, they’re back and bigger than ever, and probably don’t care whether you like them or not. The Jonas Brothers are here to stay, and we’re all better off because of it.