POST-DISPATCH MUSIC CRITIC
Nick Jonas showed himself up Tuesday night at the Pageant, where his new side project, Nick Jonas and the Administration, delivered a more musically satisfying experience than any Jonas Brothers concert.
Nick Jonas and the Administration is a much more scaled down and less teen-friendly outfit than the Jonas Brothers. Brothers Kevin and Joe are out of the mix and former members of Prince's old New Power Generation band are worked in.
None of that stopped Jonas' core crowd from coming out. The Pageant was packed with young girls, teens, and, in many cases, their parents.
For this departure the Jonas brother, who some consider the most talented of the pop-rock trio, eschewed his usual boy-band roots for a funkier soul sound, showcased on his upcoming CD "Who I Am."
"These songs look into my life, things that are real with me that I wanted to share," Jonas said. He hasn't yet fully mastered the art of what it takes to be a full-fledged front man, but he showed promise.
The new songs were by no means complicated, but they were often more textured than a typical Jonas Brothers song.
A full list of new songs such as "Last Time Around," "State of Emergency," "Vespers Goodbye" and "Conspiracy Theory" were rolled out and treated by fans as if they were old favorites.
Some of the songs felt that way. Best among them were "Olive and an Arrow," "Stay" and "Rock Garden," the kind of old-fashioned R&B numbers Prince could appreciate. During "Rose Garden," fans tossed long-stemmed roses on stage, and he took one in his mouth.
He also performed songs he wrote after he made the CD, such as "While the World is Spinning."
For good measure, Jonas also mixed in "classic" Jonas Brothers tunes such as a remix of "Inseparable," and also "Black Keys" and "A Little Bit Longer." He performed the latter two at the piano, and used the moment to talk about 2010 being a year of new beginnings and not letting anything slow you down, a reference to his diabetes diagnosis several years ago.
After talking about what a good year it was for music in 2009, he performed Owl City's "Fireflies," Kings of Leon's "Use Somebody" and even Taylor Swift's "You Belong to Me." Only "Fireflies" felt unnecessary.
Later in the concert he performed a cover of Stevie Wonder's "Signed Sealed and Delivered," but his rendition was pale version of the original.
Jonas, who had time to hang out in St. Louis Monday, name-checked Ted Drewes, the City Museum, and the Gateway Arch. He bypassed going up in the Arch, saying it wasn't for him.
Diane Birch opened with songs from her latest CD "Bible Belt."