The leaves are beginning to turn colors, the temperatures are dropping and the Packers are prepping to play: I'm sad to report that fall is coming. But for 90 peppy minutes at the American Family Insurance Amphitheater on Wednesday night, Milwaukee could pretend that wasn't the case as fans on the lakefront were warmed up by the beach-ready party jams and personable company (not to mention the general sexiness) of the Jonas Brothers and their hugely entertaining tour stop.
It was a transportational night, taking the happily shrieking audience somewhere warmer, making everyone feel younger and creating a fun space where all could belt the lyrics to "Year 3000" without shame. The holiday weekend might've been well over, but Wednesday night felt like a bonus vacation. (Though with all the screaming, maybe it was less of a vacay for one's eardrums.)
Indeed, while the Amp was 75-80 percent full, the enthusiastic crowd sounded approximately three times that size, giddily howling and squealing from the show's first moments – a video clip, narrated by Close But Not Quite Matthew McConaughey, about memories followed by the opener, the tour's titular song "Remember This" – and not allowing any one's ears any mercy. Every move, every lyric, every strut down the stairs, every inadvertent (or very advertent) crotch shot on camera merited a gleeful shriek. And when they weren't shrieking, they were singing along at a volume that, in the case of "SOS" later in the night, almost threatened to drown out the actual Jonas Brothers.
None of this is a complaint; instead it was infectiously joyful. (Judging by the ecstatic reactions, you'd think the JoBros hadn't been in town for eons, but they'd actually just performed at Fiserv Forum in September 2019 – though I suppose in pandemic time, that feels like approximately two decades ago.)
The appreciation was mutual as the Jonas Brothers made the night feel like a family reunion – quite literally near the end of the night, rolling out a piano complete with a bar inside for "When You Look Me In the Eyes" and toasting the crowd as well as each other with some brotherly ribbing. That was actually the only real crowd banter on the night as they let the interspersed "memory"-themed video clips do much of the talking in between hammering out hits – but even so, there was a charmingly chummy and personal energy to the proceedings.
Undoubtedly thanks to their Disney origins and years of boy band training, the trio excelled at playing to the cameras on the corners of the stage throughout the night, bringing the audience in on the performance. (Later on, Joe Jonas would show off his camera skills, though this time behind the lens, playing cameraman during "Fly with Me" and zooming in on all the personal handmade signs in the crowd as well as their euphoric owners.) Meanwhile, no cameras or close-ups were necessary to see how much fun the JoBros and their band have playing together, weaving and strutting and occasionally joining together to dance in unison – easy choreographed moves that teetered near dorky, but the best kind of dorky, the loose and easy-going kind you only bust out around close, comfortable friends. (Thousands of them, in Wednesday's case.)
The interstitial videos were meant to add some extra intimacy and personality to the proceedings – as well as breathers for the band. But most of all, the bordering-on-portentous clips (such meaningful walking and posing) added structure to the night, with each one introducing a brother and their particular segment of the night to showcase their individual output.
After the opening fireworks ranging across "Remember This," the summery "Only Human," the handjive stomp clap bop "What a Man Gotta Do," the prom-approved ballad "Leave Before You Love Me," the beach new song "Who's in Your Head" and the quite literally fiery hit "Burnin' Up," Joe Jonas got the first segment, busting out his DNCE hits "Cake By the Ocean" and the groovy slink of "Toothbrush" – complete with the band's guitarist JinJoo Lee joining on stage for some solid shredding. Later on, Nick Jonas got his showcase section, opening with a drum solo before crooning his way through the sultry hits "Close" – complete with an assist from the night's overqualified opener Kelsea Ballerini, singing the Tove Lo part – and "Jealous." And in the middle was Kevin's bit ... which was basically just more Jonas Brothers tunes. (What, nothing for his "Celebrity Apprentice" appearance?)
Even more so than the video clips themselves, the concert's structure told the brothers' complete story, charmingly weaving their time united and separated into one, singing together with each a part of their collective tale. You could see it all, bands and solo careers blurring together, as a lovely tribute to the unending connection of family ... but mainly you could see it as a fun night of catchy pop and a lot of rapturous screaming. Both work.
Following the slowdown groove combo of "When You Look Me in the Eyes" and "I Believe," the JoBros wrapped things up with "Rollercoaster" before a twofer of some of their biggest hits of then and now: "Year 3000" and "Sucker." The poppy pair made for the perfect crowd-pleasing conclusion, cementing that if you missed this blissed-out and summery Big Gig-adjacent bash, you were a "Sucker" indeed.
"What a Man Gotta Do"
"That's Just the Way We Roll"
"Leave Before You Love Me"
"Who's In Your Head"
"Cake By the Ocean" (DNCE cover)
"Toothbrush" (DNCE cover)
"Fly with Me"
"Close" (with Kelsea Ballerini)
"When You Look Me In the Eyes"
As much as it is a gigantic cliché to say that one has always had a passion for film, Matt Mueller has always had a passion for film. Whether it was bringing in the latest movie reviews for his first grade show-and-tell or writing film reviews for the St. Norbert College Times as a high school student, Matt is way too obsessed with movies for his own good.
When he's not writing about the latest blockbuster or talking much too glowingly about "Piranha 3D," Matt can probably be found watching literally any sport (minus cricket) or working at - get this - a local movie theater. Or watching a movie. Yeah, he's probably watching a movie.