The Jonas Brothers have come a long way from being a Disney boy band many years ago. After 10 years the trio finally came to Europe and kicked off their “Happiness Begins” tour right here in Birmingham. The over-excited kids and teenagers who grew up listening to them and watching them on TV every day are now young adults who took over the Arena to see their childhood idols live.
Unlike other former Disney stars, like Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus and Cole and Dylan Sprouse, who completely distanced themselves from their previous world, Jonas Brothers embraced their career start and proudly played some very old songs to the nostalgic, now grown-up, audience.
I got to the venue just in time to catch the last part of Jordan McGraw’s act. His strong voice and energising onstage persona warmed up the crowd for the main act for which some had waited too many years. He was probably a new name that most didn’t know before but it definitely got stuck in many of the heads of the 16,000 people present. His original hits including “Met At A Party” and “We Should Still Be Friends” and some covers like the Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back In Anger” had everyone on their feet the whole time. He wanted everyone to party on his pop/dance music and that’s exactly what we did. Opening for all of Jonas Brothers’ shows on this tour and all around North America and Europe, Dr. Phil’s son definitely got his name out there.
Next on stage was one of my favourite alternative/pop bands — Picture This. Dancing and jumping all around the stage, front man Ryan Hennessy had everyone singing along the whole time. It was their first time supporting Jonas Brothers and as long as they had the spotlight, the four-piece made the most out of it. The highlight was definitely “Take My Hand”, their debut single released back in 2015. The love song seemed to touch everyone deeply, singing back every word while swinging with their flashlights on. Another exciting moment was when Hennessy announced playing a new song for the first time, joking that they were scared they’d mess up but “they are professionals” so they won’t.
The unreleased “Trouble maker” followed their usual danceable rhythm and love theme, with a really catchy chorus. It’s safe to say that they didn’t mess up and probably I’m not the only one looking forward to the release of the song and obviously to see them live again.
The break before the main act was not long, just enough to take your breath, but that was probably for the best as no one could wait for the beloved three-piece. Everyone was standing while keeping their eyes on the stage with their phones in their hands ready to record the second the Jonas Brothers finally show up in the flesh.
The lights were still low when the three got down on stage, surrounded by pyrotechnics. The first notes of “Rollercoaster” had everyone shouting and cheering, and playing it first seemed like the symbol of the tour as it’s definitely what inspired the name — “Happiness begins”.
Only one-two minutes into the setlist and it was obvious that it was going to be one impressive show. The brothers went all out, with confetti cannons, neon lighted stage, balloons, fire, massive screens and more importantly, their strong voices, which sounded so much better than on TV.
The setlist had a mix of old and new, so that every fan would leave happy, even the most finicky out there. Straight from the second song we went back 13 years for “S.O.S”, from the time when the teenage heartbroken angst was complemented by the long, messy haircuts. Other new songs like “Only Human” and “What A Man Gotta Do” couldn’t be missed and the brothers showed even more why the world needed them to return, now with more organised sounds but the same energy. The big screens above the stage displayed both the live performance and also videos with them when they were younger.
Kevin admitted that two years ago they discussed doing the Jonas Brothers again but wondered if anyone would even care, so he thanked everyone for waiting for them. Going to the smaller stage across the arena, Joe also announced that it had been far too long and they had to be back, as they continued with “Hesitate” and had glowing planets rotating above them.
The next song was from “the very beginning”, when I was about 10 years old and used to watch the Disney Channel a lot. “Gotta Find You”, from Camp Rock, brought so much nostalgia into the room and I’m pretty sure that every one of the 16,000 people there knew at least the chorus. I felt like a kid again and probably I wasn’t the only one, as I saw the person in front of me actually starting to cry while singing the lyrics.
They all returned to the main stage and Nick kept going with his hit “Jealous”. The neon lights turned green and he played the piano with a video filmed in a forest in the background. He was joined by his brothers again for the dance-rock “Cake By The Ocean”, a song by DNCE centered by Joe Jonas. Inflatable tube men and a lot of confetti made it feel like a real party on the beach.
This was followed by more songs form their new album “Happiness Begins”, like “I Believe” and “Comeback”. They confessed that they feel like their fans had set the bar very high and Nick raised his glass with a “Cheers!” after thanking everyone for being the greatest people alive and urged keeping up the happiness. The brothers seemed unstoppable with another Camp Rock favourite, “Play My Music”, as Joe announced that this part is for all the OG Jonas Brothers fans out there, who’ve been supporting them from day one. They ended with the Busted cover “Year 3000” before leaving the stage for the encore.
Usually encores save the best for the end, but this time it was even better, with fire flames going up from the stage, representing “Burnin’ Up” literally. Last but not least was their hottest single right now, “Sucker”, which announced the band back together last year. I don’t usually listen to this type of music but the Jonas Brothers definitely put on one of the best concerts you could attend.
Review and Photography: Andra Tudoran