When the Jonas Brothers abruptly announced their breakup in 2013, I never thought I would see Joe, Kevin and Nick onstage together ever again.
I first saw the Jonas Brothers in January 2008 on the “Best of Both Worlds” Tour when they opened for Hannah Montana/Miley Cyrus. I was 11 years old. In the years that followed, I saw them a handful of times in Cleveland, my hometown, wearing homemade T-shirts dedicated to my favorite brother, Nick, and spent hours reading up on their lives in Tiger Beat magazine.
One of my favorite sightings was seeing them walk four feet from the Good Morning America studios in New York City into their waiting car. I was in fourth grade and so stunned I dropped the drink I had just bought all over the sidewalk.
Needless to say, when I got the news about their reunion, I was unwell. While I was on the Red Line heading to class at the Water Tower Campus, they announced the release date of their first single in five years, “Sucker.” Two months later, the Jonas Brothers announced their new album, “Happiness Begins,” and released the dates for the “Happiness Begins” Tour.
On Sept. 19 at the United Center (1901 W. Madison St.), the day was finally upon us.
Before the concert started, I looked around at the crowd they drew in. It was comprised mostly of women in their 20s looking to relive the fondness of their teenage years.
Some were current college students, like me, attending the show with friends they didn’t even know the last time the Jonas Brothers toured. Some are moms now, who brought their own daughters. Some were young girls, who first learned about them from their single, “Sucker,” off of their latest album. But almost everyone wore old concert T-shirts and looked ready to go back in time.
As the lights went down at 9:30 p.m., like everyone in the crowd, my eyes focused on the stage, expecting the Jonas Brothers to run in from the side or rise up from under the stage, but the three brothers pulled an old trick on me and the rest of the arena. Kevin, Joe and Nick descended from the ceiling on a platform — just as they had on the “Best of Both Worlds” Tour.
For the next 90 minutes, the world as I knew it stopped turning outside of the United Center.
Sparks flew, the crowd screamed so loud I missed the opening notes as “Rollercoaster” began to play. One of the last tracks on “Happiness Begins,” “Rollercoaster” quickly became a fan favorite due to the nostalgic feelings its lyrics bring to Jonas Brothers’ fans.
The chorus of the track served as the mantra not only for their reunion but also the night: “It was fun when we were young but now we’re older.”
The band was older, I was older, their other fans were older and their songs were older, but the experience was just as meaningful as it was more than a decade ago.
Elements of old and new were littered throughout the 90-minute set — a crucial component for the success of the show.
While their orange, green and blue monochromatic suits were a vast improvement from their gold jackets, purple button ups and navy blazers of the olden days, not much else had changed.
Nick stood on the left, Joe in the middle and Kevin on the right just as they always have. But it wasn’t just their appearance that surprised me — it was the identical energy they brought from their teenage years to this show.
Joe bounced around every part of the stage and even brought out his signature tambourine for part of the set. Nick drew the crowd in with his iconic falsetto and his mastery of almost every instrument on stage. Kevin anchored the set musically, nailing guitar solos while still having a larger-than-life presence onstage.
The brothers even brought their original drummer, Jack Lawless, back for the second go-around.
The Jonas Brothers played songs off their latest album, including “Only Human,” “Cool” and “Hesitate,” but almost half of their set was comprised of songs they released more than 10 years ago. They played fan-favorites, such as “S.O.S.,” “Year 3000” and “Lovebug.” They even performed “Mandy,” a song from their first album, “It’s About Time,” released before they became Disney’s golden boys.
After they finished running back and forth between the main stage and B-stage on opposite ends of the arena, Nick sang his solo track “Jealous,” igniting the crowd just before Joe came onstage to sing “Cake By The Ocean,” the hit song by his other band, DNCE.
Each song meant something different to each fan in the crowd. I shed a few tears during the most romantic song ever written: “When You Look Me In The Eyes.” Not only is it my favorite Jonas Brothers song but reflecting on the night now, it really reminded me of how long this band has been a part of my life. The scene of them standing around a grand piano serenading the crowd with this song will always be burned in my memory.
The concert concluded with an energetic and roaring encore featuring “Burnin’ Up,” one of their biggest hits from 2008, and “Sucker,” their 2019 hit.
After the screams subsided and the lights went back up, the crowd was quickly brought back to the unbelievable reality that the Jonas Brothers are back.
Who knows when I’ll see them again, but I’d wait another 10 years for this kind of happiness.