From sleepovers spent pouring over the printed lyrics of “Burnin’ Up” so everyone could learn the rap to summers in high school spent singing Nick Jonas’ “Jealous” with a new driver’s license in your mom’s old SUV — these are the memories that Jonas Brothers fans hold near and dear. The “Happiness Begins” tour focuses on the story of three young boys all grown up.
The Tuesday night concert at the Chase Center in San Francisco featured Bebe Rexha, who wrote or sang all of your favorite top 40 hits such as “The Monster” and “Hey Mama,” as the main opener. Following her performance, the Jonas Brothers’ set encapsulated a large scope of the brothers’ discography with songs such as “I Believe” and “Rollercoaster” from their comeback album Happiness Begins, and songs like “Year 3000” and “Fly with Me” from their days as Disney Channel darlings. Gone are the days of Nick’s curly mop of hair, Joe’s straightened scene-kid bangs and Kevin’s legendary mutton chops. Now, with all sporting roughly the same haircut, the boys have risen to such an iconic status that they’ve moved beyond the haircentric 2000s.
While a decade ago the audience may have been packed with tween girls and their checked-out parents plugging their ears during the second half of “Lovebug,” the current audience looked slightly different. Those tween girls have now grown up. Alcohol was in no short supply during the show; halfway through, the brothers all took a shot of tequila to honor their new album going platinum and commenced in a round of cheers with a handful of people near the stage holding up drinks of their own. While the Jonas Brothers may have gotten older, which is reflected in the maturity of their newer musical selections, their fans clearly grew right along with them.
The band members took special care to honor Jonas Brothers fans both new and old with an even mix of materials. Halfway through the concert, a moment was given to each of the brothers to showcase their individual careers and personal lives that developed in their time apart. The screen behind the performers on stage displayed scenes of the younger actors playing the Jonas Brothers of yesteryear coming face to face with their adult counterparts, a distinct, symbolic marriage of young and old that enabled them to thrive as individual artists and as a band. This marriage of new and old took place musically as well: The closest that most of the audience will ever be to divinity was watching Joe Jonas rise from off stage to duet the second half of “Jealous” with Nick Jonas.
The success seen by both Nick Jonas (in his solo musical career) and Joe Jonas (through the band DNCE) in the past several years gave the concert a very different feel than, for example, a New Kids on the Block tour. As opposed to a last-resort tour in the hopes of just enough monetary gain to remain financially solvent, this tour feels like both a victory lap and a new beginning. And the people just can’t get enough.
While Jonas Brothers fans have been living in something of a merchandise desert for nearly a decade, the Chase Center was filled with crowd members doing the best with what they could. In a true homage to the puff paint T-shirts of decades past, DIY shirts were plentiful. Screen-printed shirts that said “Jonas Brothers 4 Lyfe” (with a picture of the often forgotten Frankie Jonas), customized family tie-dye shirts with “Jonas” tacked on the front and an entire bridal party’s worth of shirts that read “Save the Date! I’m a sucker for you!” were some of the crowd’s highlights.
The concert embodied a type of silliness and sincerity that defines the adamant worshipping of teen idols, both as a young kid and as an adult. For the encore, the brothers shot back onto the stage with massive flames between them lighting the stage and warming the audience to play one of their classic hits, “Burnin’ Up.” The crowd lit up in more ways than one during a night devoted to celebrating the past with a keen eye trained toward the future. With the audience bathed in red, leaping up and down, singing songs so ingrained in cultural memory that they are impossible to shake, the Jonas Brothers remind us all that when it comes to their fans and their appeal, not much has changed.
Highlights: “Year 3000,” “Cake By The Ocean,” “Rollercoaster”