Friday, February 27, 2009

"Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience": it is like being there (and what do we compare JB to?)


Well, this posting seems an about-face from the previous one. I’m treating Walt Disney Company’s “Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience” (dir. Bruce Hendricks) as a “concert” rather than a movie. Yes, we do get to go backstage with “them” (one scene in this G-rated experience is just a bit Freudian), but more than half of the 76 minutes features the Brothers in two big concerts in 2008, one in Anaheim and one in Madison Square Garden in New York City. In fact, in the very beginning, their manager peeks into each bedroom in their suite in a Trump New York City condo, and rouses them from REM sleep at 4:30 AM, on a day that they are headed for Good Morning America. We also see them serenading in Central Park, and on Times Square on New Years Eve (no Anderson Cooper this time).

The Real 3D does help, and it’s used with some cuteness, with violin bows, drums, pigeons. The concerts are all razzle-dazzle, with some pyrtotechnics, some acrobatics (the boys have to maintain the same physical fitness of any boy band) and one number where they stand 15 feet in the air on top of narrow black columns, without any harness. You see a lot of the details, even the earpieces. Yes, the teenage girls create a mob scene.

The music is all so familiar now, with their multiple appearances on Ellen and Oprah. A lot of it is straightforward manipulation of minor modes and simple transition to relative major (to my semi-perfect pitch is sounded like mostly d minor and F Major). That’s the most key scheme in sonata movements in minor keys, after all, and we hear it work in pop amazingly well sometimes (look how effective Slumdog’s “Jai Ho” is as music – it really does work). In one of my teen compositions, I tried starting in major and going to relative minor for the second subject, the reverse process. Many of the songs are written by the three brothers, but some are not.

As for the boys, I got the impression that Joe (the middle “child”) seemed to dominate the group a bit. His body language is just a tad louder than the other two’s. Wikipedia says that there is a fourth brother, born in 2000, who may join in some performances soon.

We’ve all heard about the purity rings and family values (the family did home schooling), but the medical part is amazing. Sixteen year old Nick wears an OmniPod insulin pump on stage and must monitor his blood numerous times a day, for juvenile diabetes that started suddenly at age 13. The only cure right now is a pancreas (or possibly, soon, islet cell) transplant, and Bush’s aversion to stem cells might have held back research other cures, and it’s amazing that there’s no vaccine for the coxsackie virus thought to be involved as a cause. None of this is mentioned in the film, but it has been mentioned in television appearances.

In 2001, I saw ‘Nysnc (a “Popodyssey") in the Metrodome in Minneapolis, which had even more high-chair athletic acts as part of the dance requiring great athletic skill. Justin Timberlake seems to be reinventing himself for the better very lately.

The JB pictures, wallpapers and other downloads are here. It’s not clear from the terms whether we are free to put them on a blog as a picture, but you can see them here. The Jonas Brothers has a visually strong trademark (JB) and now a movie company by that name. You can become a member at their main website. http:

I thought, again, what a change from last week. Well, classical music often mixes into popular genres, but usually with much more harmonic variation. Could the Jonas Brothers dance to the complex Romanian rhythms of Dominik Maican’s music? (Let them try with his now well known Second Quartet.) Maybe they could. It occurred to me that Dom, who is about their age, looks a lot like them and could easily have fooled us on stage with them. Actually, the film offers “fake Jonas Brothers” on a NYC street. Demi Lovato and Taylor Swift did perform with the Brothers.

This “film” and concerts may be the best thing that has happened in the Big Apple this winter, given all the economic gloom. I didn’t see the “Made in NY” label bought it ought to be there.

On Monday, March 2, Access Hollywood showed the Jonas Brothers using a private jet. That sounds like Trump-land. Bring on the Apprentice.

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