Live: The Jonas Brothers at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater in Irvine
By By Margaret Wappler
|Los Angeles Times Staff Writer|
Jul 14, 2008 | 12:00 AM
On Saturday night, a target audience gathered at Irvine's Verizon Wireless Amphitheater that would set aflutter the heart of any marketer worth his metrics. The joyful tribe of 15,000 tweens was bound by the bright garb of Hot Topic, Abercrombie & Fitch and other mall stores, and sparkly cellphones, the palm-sweaty medium for cryptic-cute messages.
Like avid ornithologists, these Hayleys and Ashleys had journeyed from all over the Southland and beyond to catch the songs from their favorite birds of a Disney-colored paradise, the Jonas Brothers, three siblings from New Jersey whose trills enthrall young feminine hearts more effectively than anything advertisers could dream.
No matter what tough cultural equations may be at work, it was an easy night for the amphitheater's security. When three girls galloped by, excited by the first chords of opener Demi Lovato, a guard outfitted in various gadgets said, "Ladies, no running please." They immediately slowed down.
Jonas pal Lovato wasn't the heartthrob of the hour, but she was greeted with obedient enthusiasm. Her winsome smile broadcasted hard-won confidence during the summer's smash, "Who Will I Be," and her brown eyes communicated pain when she sang about heartbreak. Her spiky bangs were wet with sweat, her cheeks flush, but she never took off her little red jacket.
The brothers took the stage after a 20-minute period in which the screens that flanked the stage were filled with text messages sent from the crowd ("I luv u Nick!") and ads including one for the band's charity foundation, ChangeForTheChildren.org. The pre-show entertainment was a good primer for the Jonas Brothers experience -- part wholesome lust, part charitable awareness, all commercially genuine.
On a stage with two ramps that flickered with bursts of fire -- this is the Burnin' Up Tour, after all -- Nick, Kevin and Joe Jonas pumped out sculpted rock 'n' roll. At its best, the Jonas Brothers' music has the tangy bite of the Cars, but without an obvious eccentric like Ric Ocasek, the band loses any real chance for edge or humor.
But it's not as if the Jonas Brothers don't reward individuality. It's just that they all happen to be expertly normal, imminently relatable in their bad days and struggles, such as Nick's battle with diabetes, which he spoke about during an extended bridge in "You Don't Even Know." Theirs is a dream of acceptance, set to music that's accepting of only the most polished radio sounds.
FOR THE RECORD: Jonas Brothers: A review of Saturday's Jonas Brothers concert in Monday's Calendar section referred to a song the band performed as "You Don't Even Know." The song's title is "A Little Bit Longer." —
Emily Zelden and Kylie Blaber, both 16 and from Westlake, got to meet the Jonas Brothers before the show. "It was like, surreal," Zelden said. "You think about what it's going to be like to meet them and then you touch them and it's amazing."
The Jonas Brothers are stars, but they make sure they are the kind of stars the fans can touch.