With boy bands, it’s easy to tell when they’re a hot property, but harder to tell when their time is over.
Jonas Brothers Kevin (left) and Joe talk ‘Off The Record’
Photos by Brian Hineline/Special to The Morning Call
The lecture tour Off The Record with Kevin and Joe Jonas that stopped Saturday at Keswick Theatre in Glenside (the second of its three stops) seemed to suggest that Disney phenom boy bad The Jonas Brothers’ time has long passed.
But the show was just so ill-conceived — and bad – that it left a glimmer of wonder whether there still may be something left in the Jonas brand if it were done right.
The idea of a speaking tour by two-thirds of The Jonas Brothers (youngest brother Nick, who reportedly aborted the band’s last tour) is off filming a TV series) on its face seems a poor idea: The group was popular because of its music and TV antics, not for its personalities.
And turnout for the Keswick show seemed to bear that out: Something less than 500 people, about a third of capacity, showed up to watch the brothers talk while seated on a sofa on a stage decorated to look like a living room.
Joe Jonas sets up picture of himself
But with the band breaking up last fall, Kevin becoming a father in February, and Joe making headlines for dating celebrities and saying in an interview that he smoked pot with Miley Cyrus, there were at least some interesting topics to be addressed. Or even what the aftermath of boy-bandom is like.
Unfortunately, none of that was addressed in depth – or at all.
The breakup was alluded to in snide asides. The first question from a boxful allegedly submitted by the audience asked “Why did you break up?” Kevin responded by grabbing what looked like a beer to avoid answering. When it came up again later, Kevin opened another beer.
Kevin’s fatherhood was reduced to one snippet answer: “It’s one of the coolest, most rewarding thing in someone’s life. When she wakes up in the morning and smiles at you, it’s the best thing in the world.”
Kevin Jonas drinks a beer
For 70 minutes of that, people (almost exclusively young females – there were perhaps a dozen boyfriends and fathers in the crowd; maybe 20 adults total) paid $35 to $55?
Even when it came to the crowd’s questions, they were hand-selected softballs from moderator actor/friend Rob McClure , who tossed away many questions without reading them and instead asked the brothers’ favorite “Game of Thrones” character or what really good album they recently bought.
Why not set up a couple of microphones and let people interact with the questions people really want to hear answered?
Instead, the crowd got video clips of the brothers a youngster Joe singing “I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas” and doing arm farts, baby Jonases on playground equipment, and a pre-pubescent Kevin acting in television commercials.
Other video clips were repeats of the often-seen crowd crush for the brothers at New York’s Time Square (one of the few interesting tidbits in the show: They said their father nearly was charged with inciting a riot) and TV goofs of Kevin falling while spinning with his guitar at a concert and Joe tripping during a performance of the song “S.O.S” on the American Music Awards.
An aside here: that song had the crowd loudly singing along and engaged. Why was music left entirely out of the show? It would have been far better and more engaging if an acoustic guitarist had played while the brothers did acoustic versions of a few of their songs in a “stories and songs” format.
Perhaps the worst waste of time was a video segment of McClure talking with people on the streets of New York about the Jonas Brothers. The clips unwittingly insulted the Jonases by seeming to show nobody knows (or cares) about them anymore – as they casually walked by the interview.
Same for another clip segment of “parodies” of the brothers, which were actually insults from “South Park,” “Conan” and the “Bachelor Party” movies. And “headlines” that said such things as Joe “has a big [penis].” Ha, ha.
All were made worse by McClure, who seemed more intent on talking about himself than the Jonases and made no effort to pull out interesting answers.
Despite statements of the brothers seeking to move beyond the boy band, another chunk of the show was taken up by two “games” in which audience members came on stage to prove you “Know Your Bro” or guess the “Two Truths and a Lie.”
It was obvious that nothing new came out there, as the audience quickly knew the answers.
The show’s glimmer of hope was that the Jonases still were able to compel screams from the small crowd, showing there’s still devotion among fans. If they wait a few years and add some music, who knows? They could be popular in a nostalgic way, sort of how Backstreet Boys are still around.
As for the future, the brothers “revealed” that Kevin now is in business building and flipping houses (and wants to create “more human beings.”) And in 20-30 years, both hope they’re “continuing to create”.
Hopefully something better than Off The Record.Tags: actor, concert, film, movie, music, television, tour, tv