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Even without an encore, Jonas Brothers had Scotiabank Arena fizzing

Even without an encore, Jonas Brothers had Scotiabank Arena fizzing
Entertainment
If the Scotiabank Arena were some sort of pressurized vessel with a cork for a roof, that roof would have popped skyward and landed in a heap of wreckage somewhere over the lake near Rochester within 10 minutes of the reunited Jonas Brothers taking the stage in Toronto on Friday night.

It’s entirely understandable then that 20,000 or so Jonas devotees left in a bit of a huff when the three brothers, back together after breaking up in 2013 — at least as much as three brothers can “break up” — and touring their first new album in a decade, abruptly sucked the air from the room by failing to return for an encore at the end of the night.

That’s what you get for playing the same set list night after night, I guess, and for making it readily available online. And while the brothers’ failure to play the big guns “Burnin’ Up” and “Sucker” really shouldn’t have been that big of a deal at the end of an evening in which everyone in the very loud, enthusiastic crowd appeared on the verge of exploding with delight for nearly two hours straight, in the eyes of baffled patrons who clung to the hope that the lads might return for a good half-hour after the lights came up until security shooed them away, it qualified as a crime against humanity. Such a crime that Nick, Kevin and Joe were collectively moved to issue a swift apology via Twitter even as the last stragglers were sulking their way out the doors.

“Toronto we’re so sorry we didn’t get to play our last two songs,” they posted. “Unfortunately there was an unforeseen technical difficulty and our production team advised we end the show. Thank you all for coming out tonight! We love you all so much!”

Given that the encore would have pushed the show a wee bit past the Scotiabank Arena’s 11 p.m. curfew, that “technical difficulty” might have been an unwillingness to pay the exorbitant overage fees that come with running past that curfew.

Perhaps the Jonas Brothers are simply a little more into pinching their pennies than such flagrant curfew abusers as Prince or Guns N’ Roses were back in the day. In any case, they should have either the technical kinks or their timing worked out before they return to the same venue Saturday.

Seriously, though, it really didn’t matter that Toronto missed out on its encore. That crowd had an exceedingly good time on Friday night.

Every single tune, from vintage material like peppy first 2005 single “Mandy” through peak-years standards like “S.O.S.,” “Lovebug” and “When You Look Me in the Eyes,” and new jams like “Cool” and “Only Human,” went over like a classic and the arena bowl was basically a giant, fizzing dance party for the duration. Perhaps an even more fizzing dance party than it might have been during the Jonas Brothers’ original run since much of their fan base, which ran about 99 per cent female and averaged around 20 years of age on Friday, has grown old enough during their absence to legally consume alcohol.

Indeed, the brothers themselves made sport of this fact toward the end of their set and did a round of shots atop the satellite stage to salute their fans for sticking with them so long.

“I never thought this would happen again,” offered Kevin. “Thank you for believing in us.”

If you’re not in the target Jonas Brothers demographic — and as a 40-ish rock critic, I am most definitely not in the target Jonas Brothers demographic — two hours of feeling alone, old and conspicuously male while being elbowed repeatedly in the face by the drunk-as-hell dancing queen to your immediate right lands somewhere between “interesting sociological experiment” and “season in hell.”

Their songbook is overwhelmingly earnest and obvious and relentlessly delivered with the kind of all-in gusto that passes for “passionate” in the realm of Awful American Rock and, to the novice, sounds utterly indistinct from song to song, let alone from any of the other teen-friendly pop-rock that periodically gums up the charts these days.

The Jonas Brothers sound like the sort of whitewashed ideal of a band you might find on a kids’ TV show about a band, which makes sense since they broke through with appearances on the Disney Channel, a short-lived series of their own and the 2008 Disney TV movie Camp Rock.

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And, interestingly enough, the two songs that stood out most — and, to be honest, the only two songs that I actually recognized — on Friday were solo singles released during the brothers’ six-year hiatus: Joe’s slinky disco single with DNCE, “Cake by the Ocean,” and Nick’s earworm-y “Jealous.”

But hey, I didn’t grow up with the Jonas Brothers. This is likely a case of “you had to be there to get it.” And that’s totally fine. There were 20,000 young women hoping for a good night out at the Scotiabank Arena on Friday night and they got exactly that — with or without that precious encore. With cute boys in snazzy suits, to boot.
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