I am no stranger to boy band love. In Grade 5, I had a shrine to Duran Duran in my bedroom (John was my favourite). I loved A-HA. I currently have New Edition’s “Mr. Telephone Man” playing in my head. Hell, in my early 20s, I even enjoyed a (free to me) Backstreet Boys concert.
She’s a lot younger than I was when the mania hit, but my 8-year-old is already under the thrall of jangly guitars and ridiculous dance beats. To be fair, she generally prefers the Disney young female performers (Miley Cyrus, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato) to the boys, but in the end, she’s not that picky. Her exuberance and adoration led me to ask her if she’d be interested in spending four months of allowance on a ticket to see the Jonas Brothers and Demi Lovato when they came to town. FOUR MONTHS of allowance. (and yes, that means that I got to spend the same amount on a companion ticket for me – really, shouldn’t parents get in free to these things?)
Of course she jumped at the opportunity, and we attended the show a few days ago. I went in prepared to be horrified by the over-packaged spectacle. It was, after all, a promotional concert for Disney’s Camp Rock 2, complete with the Camp Rock Crew. I’m also no fan of the Brothers’ very public embracing of the Promise Ring movement. I’ve been known to refer to them disdainfully as the Abstinence Brothers, and while I have nothing against choosing to not have sex until you’re ready, I don’t think the abstinence movement sends a healthy message to children and youth about how to approach sex safely and responsibly. I’m also still trying to decide if oldest brother Kevin is pitiable or a douchebag for announcing to the media that sex wasn’t worth the wait. The fact that he was wearing a cheesy leather vest didn’t raise him much in my esteem:
You know what, though? In spite of my politics, in spite of my own musical preferences, in spite of all odds, I didn’t hate the show. My daughter was ON THE MOON with happiness. That alone would be enough for me to enjoy myself. But. These guys can actually play their instruments. They’re decent singers (and they weren’t lipsynching), and they write their own stuff. I was particularly impressed with younger brother Nick. He wandered seamlessly from guitar to piano to drums. He did a couple of incredible solo performances. My favourite song of the set was actually not a Jonas Brothers song, but one from Nick’s other band, Nick Jonas and the Administration. OH! And the three of them did a cover of the Beatles’ “Drive My Car” that was surprisingly good. (you can watch them doing it here for Paul McCartney at the White House.)
As for Lovato and the Crew, they had my girl copying their dance moves from her seat. She was particularly enthralled by the breakdancers, and loved seeing a girl spin on her head (yes, I have a secret wish for my kid to grow up to be a B-girl. don’t we all?).
So, was it worth the obscene amount of money I spent? Of course not. No rock show should cost the same as a week’s worth of groceries for a family of three. Am I a Jonas convert? I don’t think my sex-positive pro-choice politics would ever allow such a thing to happen. Could I appreciate their talent? Definitely. Really, it could have been so much worse.