There has been quite a buzz around Orlando in the past couple of weeks around the grooviest new boy band around…One Direction. You may have heard “What Makes You Beautiful” and my favorite “One Thing.” Now, many from my generation will remember boy bands of the past making it big…The Beatles, Hansen, N’Sync, Backstreet Boys, Minudo and yes, The Jonas Brothers. What makes the Jonas Brothers different is that my daughter and her friends exposed me to a whole other world where teenage girls go mad for music in a way that perhaps I only knew through a brief infatuation with David Cassidy. The One Direction concert was last night at Amway Arena and in some ways I was sad not to be going, taking my daughter and her friends. The girls have “grown up” and moved beyond bubble gum music. In some ways, I haven’t. For, it is this type of music that is cheerful, fun, “be-bop around,” and just good to clean house or workout to. (Crazy as it may sound) So, it is with fond memories of our Jonas Brothers adventures that I submit a few edited down entries from The JoBro Diaries. For the first time, they make their way to the published pages. For those of you who have never been in a sea of screaming fans, you won’t get it. For those of you who have never had crushes on musicians, you won’t get it. For those of you who don’t have teenage girls in your lives (daughters, nieces, step-daughters), you won’t get it. And, that’s “ok” not to….you can just move along to your next favorite blog to read something more your style. For those of you who “get it,” want to try, or are just curious, read on. Laugh, cry, nod your head, or perhaps scratch your head in wonder. Welcome to…..THE JOBRO ZONE….
A recent stop in Florida of the 2008 Jonas Brother’s “Look Me in the Eyes” tour was a refreshing insight into the world of teenage girls. The tour started long before the awaited stops that we would embark upon March 8 and 9 in Tampa and Orlando respectively.
About a year ago, my daughter started listening to a pop boy band named “The Jonas Brothers.” Listening to their first album, I could see why they were compared to the Hanson’s of years before. A clean, somewhat high pitched and rather “cute” boy sound started replacing Britney Spears and others on our home stereo. Summer brought more of the same and then the next album simply titled “The Jonas Brothers” would create the spark for a wildfire that would begin in Los Angeles and spread across the country and now the world.
In the shadows of Hannah Montana/Miley Cirus, the Jonas Brothers’ following was steady and true. We waited and finally stood in line for what seemed to be the tickets of the century….”Best of Both Worlds.” We found ourselves in Tampa for a show that would not disappoint. From meeting Miley’s band to having pictures with the Jonas Brothers, my daughter and friends were on cloud nine. Having left the concert, the girls would go on to listen, wait, and imagine.
Then, it was announced that the Jonas Brothers would be going out on their own. The time had come for them to “spread their wings and fly” as they say in one of their songs. The ticket rush started. We stood in line five hours to get tickets for Orlando and then got more online for Tampa. Members of the family were brought in as reinforcements to purchase tickets. Alas, success was ours and we would anxiously await the tour.
Now, prior to all of this, our house seemed to be a flurry of impromptu concerts, complete with store bought microphone. The Jonas Brothers’ DVD with concert footage was played with vigor on surround sound and it felt like we were there….live and in person. We had to run out to buy the latest Disney DVD of the Jungle Book, of course, featuring the Jonas Brothers singing “Bare Necessities” and the girls would read the weekly and monthly editions of Tiger Beat, Bop, M, and others in order to get the latest and greatest news on the Jonas Brothers. The girls even found an article in Newsweek. The giggles from my daughter’s room were from discussing things like what are the JoBros’ favorite ice cream flavors so, of course we can have some on hand “just in case” they show up. Other hot topics were what type of a date the guys would like to have, what would they say if they met the guys again and more. The talk show circuit would be “You Tubed” hundreds of times and every word memorized. Weekend sleepovers became strategy sessions for an obsession that, as a parent, became refreshing. Each of the girls had singled out their favorite “Jo Bro” and how they would pay homage to them the next time they saw them…poems, songs, pictures, scrapbooks, and more.
In the week leading up to the concert, one-of-a-kind t-shirts were designed and made. They were handled like priceless artifacts at the Smithsonian. Sleep deprivation, selecting hairstyles and make-up, picky eating all came with the territory.
The level of excitement is hard to describe. I suppose it’s the same level of passion that drive people to do crazy things, amazing things and for some, stupid things. This is good passion however, as witnessed by the level of laughing, giggling, sense of belonging to some Jonas Brothers sisterhood.
We arrived in Tampa, the girls in their matching, designer, one-of-a-kind t-shirts complete with lyrics of self-initiated JB rap on the back. Each shirt represented the unwavering loyalty to “their man.”
After check-in, we descended upon the arena. Once there, we were greeted by one of the tour buses where sentiments of affection could be forever monumentalized upon the vehicle with pens, nail polish, and other tools for writing. I thought one girl who was precariously perched on her dad’s shoulders was trying to find a way to become a masthead for the tour bus, as there was no hood to become a hood ornament. I want to meet the marketing genius behind that crowd pleaser.
Walking around, we saw clans of fans each with their own matching trademark. There were socks, scarves, t-shirts, posters and complete outfits. The posters ranged from usual “We love you” to the more curious “Kevin, let me braid your chest hair.” Creativity reigned and outbursts of song would erupt from groups in huddles to lines of strangers. All sizes, shapes, colors and ages were there. Dads, grandparents, proud mothers, aunts, uncles and friends all bringing their greatest Jonas Brothers’ fan and future Mrs. Jonas wannabe.
The line for merchandise was frenzied but congenial. The typical items were for sale and all I could think about was the money vendors were making. After some parents had to refinance their house for the first round in Hannah Montana tickets, hard earned allowance money and pennies scraped from the four corners of ones house were used to pay for posters, lanyards, necklaces, bags, t-shirts, and more.
The anticipation would build inside the arena as not one, but two warm-up bands would start off the events in Tampa. In Orlando, there were three. I never caught the first band’s name, but I suppose that was fine as the young woman screamed like either a cat in heat and the other band members looked like a wooly mammoth, skunk, and afghan dog all having seizures on stage. I was waiting for paramedics to take them away in neck braces. In Orlando, we were treated to Menudo, take two. Ricky Martin…come back. The band’s moves were good and the crowd seemed entertained. At least they didn’t grab their crotches while they gyrated on stage. The last band, Rooney, was inviting and had a good sound. They got the crowd participation going and while they are still a little rough around the edges, they have potential.
After Rooney, the crowd grew restless and the phenomenon called the wave began. Yes, you remember the wave…where the crowd starts by standing and waving their arms and it goes all the way around the arena. Then, the classic song by Queen, “We Will Rock You” came on and the arena floor was begging for mercy as thousands of fans stomped to the beat.
Finally, after the last set change, The Jonas Brothers appeared through a white veil. Hearts stopped and the screaming of teenage girls was uncontrollable. The decibel level could be used as an anti-terrorist device if recorded and played in hot zones across the world. The tone was set for an unforgettable performance. The guys played through songs on their current album to which the crowd was in total sync singing along. The guys peppered the tried and true songs with ones from their upcoming summer release album. Wow, creative new ground being covered by this band coming into their own spotlight. In one song, the use of a trashcan, fire extinguisher, and washboard proved that music can come from many places. Mind you, a normal fire extinguisher should not be used at home for this effect. The song was hot and Nick on drums created a fire in the audience that nearly set the arena sprinkler system off. From dueling drum sets to Joe disappearing in the set like a rider on Tower of Tower, it was a show worth watching…twice. Kevin would send the crowd into overdrive with his dizzying circles while playing guitar. Joe could be an acrobat with all of his flips and antics on stage. All are equally gifted and together they form a trifecta of teenage talent not seen in years and probably won’t be for years to come. The crowd went crazy when the house lights were brought up at the end of “Hello Beautiful” and the guys looked out into the audience. All three looked really touched and seem to know how much the fans adore them. The evening slowed when Nick told his touching, personal story and played “Look You In The Eyes” on the white, grand piano. There wasn’t a dry eye in the place.
Since the concert, the girls have all found themselves tapping to music from their iPods, replaying the activities from the weekend, and dreaming of the next time they can see them. From checking websites to You Tube daily, nothing is missed. The girls text everything that comes to mind and they seem to be a little “love sick” for each of “their men.”
The power of my daughter and her two friends’ friendship is enormous. They have learned lessons that in time will continue to reveal themselves. They can’t wait until the new album is released this summer and I suppose I’m looking forward to that as well. That, coupled with the upcoming TV series on the Disney Channel will be a welcome relief to the pressures of being a teenage girl.
The Jonas Brothers have been to England and back and are on their way again soon. They’ve been on Oprah, Ellen, and their blogs are more heavily trafficked than ever before. Spring break started with Brianna and her friends waiting 7 laborious hours in theFloridaspring heat to wait for the Jonas Brothers to perform for the crowd after the interview with Ellen. They were so close and of course the girls thought at various times the boys were looking right at them and of course thinking “hello, future Mrs. Jonas.” That day ushered in a spring break full of conversations, picture review and memories of the day they first met the guys.
We are soon on our way to the Disney Channel Games and the concert that will be yet another highlight of the girls’ adventure in “groupie” land. They have now been discussing their new syndrome….OJD or as the clinical term is called, “Obsessive Jonas Disorder.” There is no known cure, just periodic fixes to offset localized depression. Fixes ranges from blogging, talking at end in person, e-mailing, texting and reading magazine articles to DVD watching and full blown concert going.
September brought the Jonas Brothers to the outside stage in Tampa. The Veronica’s and Demi Lovato would accompany the band. It was a beautiful evening and the crowd was so into the show. After all the opening acts, the boys made a grand entrance in a rising stage that was really impressive. There were acrobatics, pyrotechinics, guitar solos and more. Off stage there were crazy merchandise vendors selling every type product imaginable, the Burger King marketing staff were out promoting apple fries and there were even a few Joe Jonas look alikes with swarms of impromtu fans gathered around.
There would be more to come for the Jonas Brothers….television, new albums, their 3-D movie, Rockin’ New Year’s Eve with Dick Clark, calendars, and more books. And yes, a birthday cake replica of Nick’s guitar.
In the years since, my daughter has outgrown all the posters that used to adorn her walls, but the memories have had a lasting impression. Seven concerts, multiple CD’s, hundreds of magazines, plenty of concert memorabilia, thousands of pictures, millions of giggles, and more. And yes, there are times when “the boys” creep back into the picture…we have purchased Joe’s latest CD release, seen Nick on various late night and early shows and even follow them on Twitter.
My daughter, who attends college now, works part-time at Disney’s Rockin’ Rollercoaster…I know that one of these days, she will come home and say “you’ll never guess who came through my ride?” Yes, she will still be excited and yes, I will still stop and say “Whoa, tell me all about it.”
For all those new frothing fans and their moms (dads, aunts, uncles, friends), strap yourselves in, have fun and enjoy all the excitement and memories that come with your One Direction experience.