It’s never easy trying to make a solo career after a boy band split. Justin Timberlake and Darius Rucker are among the lucky few who have made it out on top. It’s been five years since the Jonas Brothers recorded an album together, and Nick Jonas, the youngest of the trio, is making his second comeback with his newest solo album, titled Nick Jonas, to be released this November. In 2010, Nick started a solo career with a new band, The Administration, debuting a softer, more acoustic sound. He now takes on a much more grown-up style, proving he is boy band no more. San Francisco’s Great American Music Hall easily could have been a downgrade to someone who has sold out the Staples Center, but for Nick it seemed just right. The theater has an old Hollywood feel that transports the audience to a simpler time and makes the traditional concert an intimate experience.
He walked onto the petite stage, clad in all black and a leather jacket, looking humble. Nick opened with “Chains,” one of the few singles from the new album already released. From the moment he came on stage, Nick captured the crowd in a way only a Jonas a brother could. You could hear the shrieks of the girls in the audience from a block away. His next song took the energy down a notch, calming the rowdy audience with sweet acoustic melodies. Nick had the mostly female audience of pre-teen to twenty somethings dancing to his catchy tunes and humming his lyrics. Once we were hooked on his vibes Nick threw us for a loop with one of his new songs that casually dropped an F-bomb in the second verse. It was clear that the purity ring was off and he was no more Mr. Nice Jonas.
Transitioning into a love song with an R&B beat, Nick took off his leather jacket and killed it singing one of his new songs “Numb,” while dancing with his backup singers on stage. Exemplifying his range of expertise, the 21-year old covered Gnarls Barkley’s 2006 hit “Crazy” in an acoustic version, a bit of an oldie for some in the crowd, but those who knew it were excited. Because he played the song acoustically, it had a much more lyrical tone. He continued his soft, melodic streak by playing his solo bearing the same title as the Jonas Brothers’ 2008 album “A Little Bit Longer.” The mood became somber as Nick so sweetly sung about being afflicted with Type 2 Diabetes and the struggle of feeling alone. This was clearly the climax for the die-hard fans.
It was then time to lighten the mood with more new songs from the album. Nick’s voice, most well known for being able to hit the high notes, still doesn’t sound a day past puberty. The entire crowd was pumped by his performance throughout the night. In fact, the girls in front of me actually brawled because they wanted a better view of him. Nick never seemed phased by the amount of energy in the room; he was just there to share his music. Covering Jhené Aiko’s “The Worst,” Nick and his female back-up vocalist brought so much life to the small venue. Nick then ended the song and asked, “Now can you all take a step back? I want to see you dance.” A very Justin Timberlake-ish dance song, "Blow My Mind," began, and Nick did not hold back. The night wound down with one of his new songs about going back to the basics, in which he integrated the chorus of Tupac Shakur’s “California Love.” The spirit of the night showed what a humble and down-to-earth artist Nick Jonas is.
Following a rendition of Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me,” he encouraged the 21 and older audience to come to the back and have a drink with him after the show. It seemed as though our night was about to end, while his was just beginning. Nick prepared for his final song of the night, “Jealous,” one of the released singles from his new album. With a swinging tune, clever lyrics, and beat you want to play in the car with all your windows down, “Jealous” was the perfect song to end the night. The whole crowd danced and sang along in unison as though they'd gotten along the whole time, rather than fighting for a better look at the ex-JoBro. Nick even added a twist to his last lyrics singing, “You’re so fucking beautiful. Everybody wants a taste. That’s why I still get jealous.” If there was a doubt in your mind that he was still trying to play up the Disney days, let all doubt be erased. Nick Jonas is definitely on his way to a successful solo career.
Photos by Alina Celik / Staff