Sunday, November 16, 2008

Teen Pop Mania: The Best of Both Worlds Tour (January 2008)

Part of my "I don't know when I'll ever finish it" FLASHBACK series.

I have professed my love for the Jonas Brothers several times over, and I don't care who knows it. They make good pop, they write their own songs, and they contribute a positive persona to the teen pop ether. I like them.

This love for the Jonas Brothers comes from real live understanding as to why the connect so strongly to their teenage girl audience. It's more than because they are semi-cute and are musicians, it is how geniunely sweet they are. I had the pleasure of experiencing this first hand. So for all of you JB fans out there, this one is for you.

Back in September 2007, at what you could call the height of "Mileymania", it was announced that Miley Cyrus would be going on tour both as herself and as her alter ego Hannah Montana for a massive arena tour. The opening act would be the Jonas Brothers, no doubt do to the fact that Disney officially launched the brother band through Cyrus' show (in one episode they starred as themselves and recorded a song with "Hannah"). A girl that I babysat the time was eight years old, the prime age for attack, and begged her mother to let her go to the concert in Albany -- coincidentally the perceived last show of the "Best of Both Worlds" tour (the tour was later extended without the Jonas Brothers, to include fellow Disney act Aly & AJ as the opener).

The reason I got roped in to this was obvious. Her mother managed to score tickets (which if you haven't heard, were rather hard to come by), but didn't want to have to sit through a few hours of teenage hormones and screaming. Figuring since I was a music major, I would want to go, she asked me if I would take her.

Let me start out by saying that at this point, I wasn't really a fan of the Jonas Brothers. I didn't know any of their songs other than the ones that had videos on the Disney Channel (I'll admit I had a penchant for watching that "Suite Life" show, even though it's completely corny -- but this is my story so you can't judge me). I had occasionally watched "Hannah" and knew that this little girl, let's call her Julie to protect the innocent, was a huge fan of the show. I didn't want to let her down, and figured since I had endured three concerts featuring *NSYNC, this wouldn't be too bad. I could relate to the teen pop experience after all.

So in the anticipation of the January 2008 concert, I bought the Jonas Brothers' sophomore album off of iTunes and gave it a few listens. It was surprisingly not that bad. Pop, most definitely, but very catchy. I was surprised to hear they really played instruments and wrote their material. I'll admit, I was impressed. We would play the song in the car when I was with Julie, and she would bring her "Hannah Montana" CDs (I resolutely refused to buy those...I have to put my foot down somewhere...although that "See You Again" is fierce in its "Sunglasses At Night" kind of way).

Finally, the day of the concert, we headed to the venue, and I heard about the Jonas Brothers doing a signing/meet & greet with fans. I asked Julie if she wanted to go and she freaked out. "Yes! Yes, yes yes yes yes yes..." she chattered on. I felt like a pretty cool babysitter by suggesting this.

We landed at the Verizon store where the meet & greet would take place. I knew how these worked. I had been to my share during my Dream Street days (but we'll save that for another day). Surprisingly, the line was long but not as long as I was expecting. It wast just before the Jonas boom in popularity, but they were already pretty hot property having been on this tour for a few months.

As we waited in line, I realized I felt like how my mother must have felt when she brought me to all of these pop meet & greets. Because, honestly, I was pretty sure I was the oldest person there who wasn't a parent or guardian. Julie was surprisingly quiet, which is odd for her. She was dressed head to toe in "Hannah Montana" garb, from the purple sparkly wig to the rhinestoned boots.

The first Jonas in the line was Kevin, the oldest. He smiled at Julie, and feigned shock. "Hannah!" he said, pretending she was Ms. Montana. "What are you doing here so early?"

Julie's silence was finally cut short. "Oh, you know," she said, flustered, but playing into his joke. "Just wanted to stop by and say 'hi' to you guys."

He held his arms out to her, and she ran and gave him a hug. Kevin picked her up into his arms, then set her back down and posed for a picture with Julie, which I snapped, grinning like a little kid at just how cute and sweet he was to this little fan. He signed a picture for Julie before passing it on to the next boy in line, and I got to talk to him for a few seconds.

"You're her big sister?" he asked me with a grin.

"No, babysitter. But that was very sweet of you, with the "Hannah" thing."

He smiled. He had a nice smile. "Our fans mean everything to us, you know?"

I nodded and thanked him for the opportunity to meet them while Julie pulled on my arm so she could get a picture with the next Jonas in line, Joe. Kevin thanked me for coming, and said he hoped I'd enjoy the show. He then held his arms out for a hug. I obliged him.

Next in line was Joe. Joe is undeniably the big hearthrob now (I'll even admit to having a mini-crush on him), however at the time, it seemed that Nick, the youngest brother, was the hottest commodity, due to his *suggested* relationship with Miley Cyrus.

I snapped Julie's picture with Joe, who also gave her a hug and asked her how she was doing, and if she was excited about the show. While waiting in line, I had noticed a lot of girls with "get well" cards for Joe, which I found a bit odd.

I knew Nick was Julie's favorite, so as she moved on from Joe to Nick, I got a few more seconds to talk to Joe than I did with Kevin. So I asked Joe what had happened to warrant many get-well cards, as he already had a few on his seat behind him. At first, he looked almost surprised that I didn't know, before turning slightly pink and said, "Oh, I kinda fell a few days ago. I hit my head, so I think that's why."

Okayyyy. "How did you do that?"

"We were filming a YouTube video. We do a lot of them, and I kind of fell and hit my head. I needed stitches and stuff." He uncounciously touched his forehead where you could barely make out the lines of stitches. I told him I did hope he felt better then, and he chuckled. "Thanks. Thanks for coming."

He also offered me a hug, but it was one-armed, unlike his big brother's.

Nick was last, and Julie could barely contain herself around this 15 year old. She wanted multiple pictures with him, which I knew wouldn't fly with their bodyguards, ready to pounce. But I did manage to get two, along with a few others I took after we walked away. Unlike with the other two, I didn't get much of a chance to talk to Nick other than say "Hi". He also thanked me for coming, and offered me a hug (again, one-armed).

After that, we went to get some food, and then to our seats. I believe it was on the "Best of Both Worlds Tour" DVD (which I saw several times thanks to Julie) where someone stated the screaming was reminiscent of an engine of a jet plane starting up at top volume and you were right behind it. That's pretty on the nose. I couldn't believe how loud it was and lamented not bringing ear plugs. We were on the side, elevated a few rows, but still very close to the stage, with prime seats. For the first time in a long time, I didn't have to stand up the whole time at a concert and could still see, due to the sheer amount of younger kids.

The Jonas Brothers came out first, then Miley as "Hannah", then the Jonas Brothers came back out to do a few more songs, then Miley came back out as herself. The concert was pretty predictable, but I was geniunely impressed by both performers, who rocked it out with considerable energy considering it was the last night of the tour.

It was the beginning of a soft spot in my heart for those three brothers Jonas, and even Miley (questionable career moves aside) gained a bit of respect from me for her energy (even if her live voice was...interesting).

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