Review – The Jonas Brothers Are All Grown Up But We’re Still Stuck in 2008

Boy band fandom hit its peak last night at the Pepsi Center when the Jonas Brothers rolled through Denver. After taking a six-year hiatus, the “Jo Bros” brought back their curly locks and guitar riffs for a night of incessant screaming and pyrotechnics that no 20-something will ever forget. In all fairness, what else would anyone expect? After they broke up in 2013, teenagers around the world let out a collective gasp and their solo projects just didn’t bring the same amount of energy as the brothers singing and swaying around in color-coded suits did. Their stint at the Pepsi Center was a tribute to the power of nostalgia and they hit the nail on the head in a way only former Disney stars really can.

The night started with musician Jordan McGraw taking the stage. Dr. Phil’s son has carved out a space for himself in the music scene, collaborating with Sarah Hyland on “Met At A Party” and snagging a remix of his song “FLEXIBLE” with T-Pain. He looked barebones on such a big set with a couple of backup vocalists and dancers donning a Coor’s Light muscle t-shirt, but the line at his meet and greet in between sets would imply that everyone was here for it anyways.

Following the opening, Bebe Rexha took the stage, donning killer vocals and an audience participation factor that was lacking for the remainder of the show. She pulled an audience member up to the stage to dance with her and then ended her performance with a sobbing young girl from the pit who sang along to her ballad “Meant to Be.”

After a DJ set intermission that included appearances from ABBA, The Backstreet Boys, The Spice Girls and Lizzo, the crowd went nuts as silhouettes starting moving towards the stage and the screens around the Pepsi Center lit up with a narrative showcasing the three Jonas’ as young kids walking through a carnival. At the end of the visual introduction, the Jonas Brothers descended down from above donning monochromatic suits. The brothers are pretty well-versed on their appeal. Every song from their 2019 album Happiness Begins was contrasted with an old favorite and the wide variety of years between songs seemed to only fuel the crowd more.

They didn’t speak much to the audience, but at one point asked what song everyone wanted to hear the most. There is no way there was an intelligible answer to that question, as the room was awash with suggestions all in reverberating frequencies, but the brothers played along, smiling and strumming guitars as they traversed the full extent of their discography. As they played songs from their oldest albums — my personal favorite, “Lovebug” made a hefty appearance at almost the close of the night  — the screens around the stage lit up in old video footage of the family. In that footage, Nick Jonas walked around at 12 years old (a sweet sentiment), but confusing for the demographic that now fawns over the fully grown pack of bros with more than just teenage adulation. They’re “sexy” now and they flaunt that with prowess. Just watch “Sucker” and you’ll see they’ve ditched the purity rings for good.

The performance closed with confetti and a brief goodbye, but the night was far from over for the thousands of swooning fans exiting the Pepsi Center. There was an air of excitement and admiration that stuck around long after the last curtain. It almost felt like middle school all over again, tackling the hardest question that a 13-year-old can conceptualize — “Which Jonas Brother is your favorite?” (Joe, if you’re wondering.) The implications may be different, but the night was made to feel timeless. It was almost as if there was a place in your life to forget about the stresses of being an adult in a world that feels a lot heavier than it should and just fawn over the Jonas trio and their existence.

Besides the reputation that follows a boy band like them, the brothers put on a good show. They managed to entertain for all 20-something songs on their setlist and their vocals and performances were more polished than expected for a group that took a hiatus for such a long time. It’s a tough thing to shake, an image held together by teenagers gluing a cut-out of your face on a locker from Bop magazine, so the brothers chose to embrace it and we’re all still here for it, singing along to “Burnin’ Up” like it’s 2008 all over again.

All photography by Lukas Crosby