Thursday, July 9, 2009

Jonas Brothers are GREAT :) even for people over 18!

Here’s a little secret that, so far, those old enough to vote don’t know yet. The Jonas Brothers are not bad at all. Actually, after watching the teen-pop trio’s sold-out show Wednesday night at the Target Center alongside more than 18,000 screaming fans, it’s tempting to even call these guys — gulp — great.

In just a few short years, the brothers have evolved from cartoonish crooners into something approaching a real band. Yes, a whopping 10 musicians backed them up, but the 90-minute performance also offered numerous opportunities for the boys to show off their ever-improving chops on guitar, piano and drums. That, alone, aligns them more with Hanson (musical brothers playing catchy pop/rock) than, say, *NSYNC (slick harmony singers with an emphasis on dance moves). These are guys who seem far more focused on the mechanics of creating music than most boy bands.

To wit, the high point of the night was “Much Better,” a JoBros-penned track that pops up on their newly released fourth album, “Lines, Vines and Trying Times.” It’s just the sort of breezy, horn-driven song that would’ve been a huge FM radio hit in the ’70s. To hear such an organic, likable number coming from three Disney pinups is unexpected, to say the least. (So was their rollicking cover of Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” which they dedicated to the parents in the crowd.)

Then again, during the extended solo in the middle of “Much Better,” two of the three brothers used the time to show off their skills … on a trampoline. Later, during the dizzy theme song to their TV show “JONAS,” they rode around the perimeter of their in-the-round stage on a cherry picker and used water cannons to soak row after row of screaming girls with sudsy white foam. Even though they were clad in breathtakingly tight trousers, there’s still some kid left in them somewhere.

Joe (the bad boy who dated, then dumped, Taylor Swift) and Nick (the sensitive one who may have an inner George Michael waiting to blossom) earned the most love from the fans, with Kevin (who, at all of 21, is the “old” one) spending most of the night concentrating on his guitar.

The stunning staging certainly equaled other recent eye-popping productions from Britney Spears and Celine Dion and gave nearly each song a show-stopping quality, as if you were watching the opening ceremony of the Olympics 20 times in a row. If there’s any complaint at all, it was that sometimes, it felt like the brothers were too eager to slip into autopilot and let all that dazzle overpower them.

Then again, these guys are working harder than most, with the past three years whizzing by in a seemingly endless cycle of recording, touring and, increasingly, acting in Disney projects. That they’ve grown so much amid all that speaks volumes about their future prospects.

Newcomers Honor Society and Wonder Girls turned in brief opening sets, with 2007 “American Idol” champion Jordin Sparks acting as the main support. The 19-year-old hasn’t been the most consistent live performer, but she gave the crowd a strong showing, and even returned near the end of the Jonas Brothers’ set to perform her terrific single “Battlefield.”