In 11 weeks, a lot can happen in the lives of a 30-something pop star.
Take Joe Jonas. In the 11 weeks since the Jonas Brothers rocked the Minnesota State Fair, Jonas, 34, has separated from his wife, actor Sophie Turner, waged a litigious fight over arrangements for their two young children, continued to tour with his brothers Kevin and Nick, and dropped a new JoBros single called "Strong Enough" featuring rising country singer Bailey Zimmerman.
Take Taylor Swift, 33, who is one of Joe's ex-girlfriends. In the past 11 weeks, she's met and romanced Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, attended four of his football games, released a movie of her Eras Tour, delivered the reworked "1989 (Taylor's Version)," made a cameo appearance on "Saturday Night Live" and taken her tour to Brazil.
Sorry to get off on a Taylor tangent in a review of the Jonas Brothers' return to the Twin Cities. But their Five Albums One Night Tour is modeled after — or at least inspired by — Swift's massively successful Eras Tour. At the State Fair, fans got the truncated, nearly two-hour version because of grandstand curfews. On Sunday night at Xcel Energy Center, fans got the full three hours (including intermission) with a Christmas song as a bonus because, well, it's never too early to get into the holiday spirit.
A day after performing live on ESPN's "College Game Day" at James Madison University in Virginia (hey, Taylor, the JoBros have their own football connection), the Jonas Brothers brought flames, fireworks, confetti, stage fog, faux snow, a Y-shaped runway, a satellite stage and a jam-packed repertoire of an exhausting 60-some songs.
The JoBros were undeniably more relaxed and entertaining, more charming and chatty Sunday than at the Great Minnesota Get-Together 11 weeks ago. With his animated face, tousled hair and microphone stand moves, Joe Jonas clearly had his rock-star swagger back. However, the Five Albums One Night strategy disappointed.
If Swift's Eras Tour performance was unquestionably the most fan-fulfilling concert I've ever seen, the JoBros' gig Sunday was one of the most fan-teasing performances I've experienced. Too many songs were trimmed to snippets crammed into less-than-seamless medleys. For those keeping score, more than half — unofficially 35 — of the 62 tunes were abbreviated.
It felt like both too little and too much of the Jonas Brothers, who were popular from 2008-13 before taking a six-year hiatus and becoming bigger than ever after reuniting in 2019. They don't have enough quality material to justify offering five dozen songs. Did we need to hear all 14 numbers from "Happiness Begins," their big comeback LP, even if it was just a taste of most of the tunes?
Backed by 10 musicians and four backup singers, the JoBros were at their best when they got out of the "eras" mode. Highlights included non-album tracks "Like It's Christmas" (with fake snow) and the encore "Leave Before You Love Me," their 2021 collab with EDM ace Marshmello, as well as side project spotlights by Nick Jonas on "Jealous" and Joe Jonas on DNCE's "Cake by the Ocean," which received the night's loudest reaction.
Also standing out were "Sucker," the JoBros' infectious 2019 comeback hit and only No. 1 song, and "Paranoid," featuring Minneapolis guitarist John Fields, who produced three early Jonas Brothers albums and whose guest appearance Sunday thrilled the trio.
Surprisingly, the group didn't do a live rendition of that new single "Strong Enough," but played a recorded version before taking the stage.
Sometimes, more is less and sometimes less is more. Fuller readings of fewer songs might have been a more prudent approach. However, judging by the reaction of the 13,000 fans who sang along to nearly every selection, they are suckers for the Jonas Brothers — abridged songs or not.