Nick Jonas didn’t hit the rides on the Midway after his performance with Demi Lovato at the Minnesota State Fair grandstand on Wednesday. He took his old Minnesota-based band out for a ride instead.
Less than three hours after he left the stage at the fair, the Jonas With the Mostest climbed up another stage at the Fine Line in downtown Minneapolis just after midnight. The surprise club show was announced from the grandstand and via Twitter, with $36 tickets going on sale at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday via Ticketmaster. It was so last-minute and tightly kept, the 750-capacity club didn’t even sell out. Of course, a large portion of Jonas’s target audience also had to go to school in the morning. I’m pretty sure I was the only attendee who bowed out about 45 songs into the Guided by Voices show at First Avenue to make it to the Fine Line.
The Dallas-bred former teen heartthrob -- now 23 and touring with a different backing unit -- pulled the after-party from his gold-satin jacket sleeve to seize the opportunity of his former bandmates in Nick Jonas & the Administration all being in town: bassist-turned-guitarist Sonny Thompson, drummer Michael Bland and keyboardist Tommy Barbarella, who also all served as Prince’s backers in the New Power Generation. The fifth man out was veteran producer and Greazy Meal alum John Fields, who produced Nick’s 2010 solo album “Who I Am” and was back in town from Los Angeles to serve as bassist Wednesday.
“We haven’t played together in about six years,” Jonas said after they finished the opening song, “Last Time Around.”
Playing for just over an hour, Jonas and his reunited crew mostly stuck to “Who I Am” tracks in the set list, also including the Stevie Wonder-ized “State of Emergency,” the power ballad “Rose Garden” and the album’s poppy title track. They predictably offered nothing off of Jonas’s new album, “Last Year Was Complicated” (which led the State Fair set). Instead, they rounded out the show with the pseudo-Prince ballad “Stay” (a non-album single) and a bouncy version of Billy Joel’s “Honesty.” Nick said he wanted to try out the cover tune after recently seeing Joel in concert for the first time. For the final song, "Stronger (Back on the Ground)," he called up original Jonas Brothers bandleader John Lloyd Taylor and local musician Ryan Liestman, the latter of whom opened the show with his own reggae-fied band and is part of the current Jonas tour crew.
Little Nicky seemed more cool and confident as a bandleader than he was back in 2010-2011. Without the screaming younger fans or choreographed production he had at the fair, he also seemed charmingly laid-back at the Fine Line. Taking a sip from what was presumably an adult beverage, he noted, “The last time I did one off these [Administration] shows I couldn’t drink. I had a lot more hair, too.” He then proceeded to recount how he would grow and sculpt his hair during the Jonas Brothers heyday to cover a certain portion of his forehead.
“The reason I grew that out was because I had a big zit in the middle off my forehead,” he said. “Thanks for loving me through that.”
TMI, Nick. TMI.