Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Jonas Brothers leave fans ecstatic in Irvine

Every few songs during Jonas Brothers’ show with Demi Lovato on Sunday, I’d sneak a glance at my 9-year-old daughter. And, almost every time, she — like every other kid at the packed Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine — was on her feet singing, dancing, waving her sign or her glow stick.
She fell fast asleep by the time we hit the freeway to head home, so it wasn’t until the drive to school the next morning that I got her post-show report — particularly how she thought this concert compared to the previous two Jonas Brothers shows we’d covered.
Anna Lily’s verdict? Best one yet.
The reason why? This time it was almost all the hits you already knew, which made it more or less a party packed with favorites. For young fans of Nick and Joe and Kevin and Demi, that — and a parent willing to take you — is pretty much all you need.
Even relatively new songs from the soundtrack to Camp Rock 2, which premiered just two weeks ago, felt familiar Sunday because they’re played so often on Disney Channel and Radio Disney, the machine that helped turn these performers into superstars.
Yet, regardless of the corporate push that shot them to such heights so fast, there’s talent amid all the slick professionalism, and for fans among this near-capacity crowd that resulted in a fun-filled night of catchy pop-rock with a generous three dozen songs or so delivered in a little less than three hours.
Jonas Brothers wasted no time getting their night going, blazing through their first four songs – the infectiously catchy “Year 3000” and the peppy “Play My Music” among them — in less than 15 minutes. On this, the last night of their summer tour, it was clear the production had worked out any kinks it might have had long before reaching Irvine.
A middle section featured songs from both Camp Rock movies, and judging from the response those may have been favorites of the youngest fans present. For “Introducing Me,” Nick’s funny little number from the new movie, he played beat the clock, dared to finish by Joe in less than two minutes; words flying, he did it with six seconds left. After Nick’s spotlight turn, Joe and Demi served up duets on their big ballads from both movies, prompting a sea of side-to-side hand-waving from happy fans.
The rest of their set flowed smoothly — there aren’t really any spontaneous moments or ad-libbed song choices at these shows. They played a Beatles cover, “Drive My Car,” which they’d played for Sir Paul during an event at the White House earlier this year. Nick played a song off his solo album, Who I Am, which came off as an endearing anthem to self-empowerment.
A medley of their earliest songs came accompanied by a slide show of old family and band photos, the pictures of cute little Jonas boys eliciting plenty of love from the little girls (and a few of their mothers, too, we should note). And after a brief break they sprinted to the finish with an encore of “S.O.S.” and “Burnin’ Up” — two of their best songs, at least to our power-pop-loving ears.
Demi also thrilled fans, almost as much as the headliners who followed. Two years ago, after the first Camp Rock movie debuted and helped launch her career, she opened for the JoBros at Verizon, delivering a much lower-profile performance, at the time still seeming to be figuring out how to play live.
On Sunday, though, she came through with the poise of a veteran, arriving on stage in Disney diva fashion to sing “Get Back” and “La La Land.” As with Jonas Brothers, her video visuals were creative, polished and occasionally quite lovely to look at, especially during the carousel scenes used for “Catch Me.”
Her set opened with solo material and closed with four songs from Camp Rock, including the feisty anthems from the current movie, “We Can’t Back Down” and “It’s On.” For those numbers, she was joined by four of her co-stars from the movies, including Alyson Stoner and Matthew “Mdot” Finley, who on their own had opened the night with more songs from the latest flick — making sure that from the very start the familiar was foremost for the fun of fans.



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