Yes, there was still plenty of screaming.
Though Nick Jonas, the youngest and most musical of the Jonas Brothers, is looking to establish himself as a more serious artist with his new band The Administration, the 17-year-old clearly hasn’t lost his ability to drive his young fans (and some of their parents) wild.
Every generation builds its own idols and the current generation of tweens adores Jonas – as well as his brothers, giving older brother Kevin, who recently got married in Huntington, a huge ovation simply for taking his seat at the show. With the current tour, Jonas, who is nicknamed “Mr. President,” and The Administration are trying to take his crowd on a new journey.
Even though the bulk of his 90-minute set came from his solo debut “Who I Am,” which won’t even be in stores until Feb. 2, he stil got the crowd to help him with an extended version of the John Mayer-ish "Rose Garden" and "While the World Is Spinning."
"You guys are very quick learners," said Jonas, who is set to play Beacon Theatre again tonight. "So throughout the night, I'm going to ask you all to sing along."
But what really had the crowd swooning was Jonas' newly developed love of funk and soul. Though his version of Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered" was good, his use of a Prince-ly falsetto and loads of funk guitar from his backing band, which includes three members of the New Power Generation, spiced up numerous songs, especially “Olive and The Arrow,” which guitarist Sonny Thompson filled with a “Purple Rain”-ish solo.
The biggest thrill, though, was the new song “Stay,” which Jonas said he wrote earlier this week. The all-out soul number, somewhere between Al Green and Terence Trent D’Arby, even included him selling the passion by taking off his dress shirt and ripping at his t-shirt at he fell to his knees.
That kind of immediacy – which allows him to cover Owl City’s “Fireflies” and Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” in his set or slow down the JoBros’ hit “Tonight” into a lilting ballad or offer some rambling thoughts on the new year – made Jonas a pleasure to watch.
His earnestness made declarations such as “New year, new beginnings” and “2010, The Year of No Fear” almost believable. “As a country, we’re in a place of fear,” Jonas said, during “A Little Bit Longer.” “We need to put that behind us. With a new year come new opportunities, Our future is not predetermined. Love is never predetermined. Passion is never overwhelmed by logic. You are all so much better than you think... I believe in you. I want to thank all of you for believing in me.”
It’s the kind of speech that hits you differently depending on how often you’ve heard it before. It’s the same feeling that goes with Jonas and The Administration’s music.
SETLIST: Last Time Around / State of Emergency / Olive and an Arrow / Inseparable / While the World Was Spinning / Fireflies / Use Somebody / Before the Storm / Black Keys / A Little Bit Longer / Vespers Goodbye / Conspiracy Theory / Signed, Sealed, Delivered / Stay / Rose Garden / Stronger / Tonight // ENCORE: Who I Am
PHOTO: Nick Jonas debuts his new band at the Grammy Nominations Concert last month by Chris Pizzello for Associated Press.