Context is everything. Tell someone you're going to see Prince's band circa the New Power Generation, and the night's cred is through the roof. But tell someone you're going to see the same band - but fronted by teenpop heartthrob Nick Jonas -- and suddenly the show has a very different connotation. The knee-jerk inclination for many is to scoff at or dismiss the collaboration. After all, how could this work?
Believe it or not, the pairing did work -- rather well. In fact, having an open mind was the best way to approach last night's very sold-out Nick Jonas and the Administration show at the Pageant. Naturally, piercing screams -- think a plane taking off about twenty feet above you -- greeted the lithe musician, as he stepped onstage a little after 8 p.m. and opened the show with "Last Time Around." Over the next 90 minutes, he worked his way through a few Jonas Brothers tunes, a medley of covers and plenty of new music written during the past year.
Related Content: See a slideshow of Nick Jonas at the Pageant.
The 17-year-old is wise beyond his years, certainly when it comes to music. Highlight "Rose Garden" - which is set to appear on his forthcoming debut with the Administration, Who I Am - was a dark, sophisticated electro-funk jam reminiscent of Michael McDonald's smoother moments. "State of Emergency" also grooved hard, albeit in the Stevie Wonder, steamy-funk style, while another highlight, "Stronger," had a bluesy feel and deep, ridged grooves.
The diversity of the night also impressed. New song "While the World is Spinnin," which Jonas said he recorded in Canada, was an AOR power-pop number in the tradition of old-school Pat Benatar. He sat down at the piano for a couple of inspirational-leaning numbers, "Black Keys/A Little Bit Longer" and "Vespers Goodbye," while the slow-dancing, gospel-tinged "Olive and an Arrow" even felt a little Prince-like.
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