Music review: Speechless, over the edge with the Jonas Brothers in Manila

Right before the Jonas Brothers took the stage, a girl behind me said to her friend in tears, “’Di ko kaya. Abort mission!”

Her feelings of disbelief, excitement and hysterical shock mirrored those of thousands of fans that gathered at the Mall of Asia Arena last October 19. After nearly six years of waiting, fans of the Jonas Brothers in the Philippines finally got their wishes granted as Nick, Joe and Kevin took the stage for their first concert in the country.

American pop-rock group the Jonas Brothers rose to fame in 2009 thanks to swoon-worthy chart-topping hits like “When You Look Me In The Eyes,” “Lovebug,” and “Burnin’ Up.” They went on to produce a TV show, several movies and released four studio albums before taking a break to pursue individual goals. In October 2012, the brothers reunited for a one-night only concert at Radio City Music Hall before going overseas to perform for Asian fans.

Their Manila concert was considered to be even more special as it was the first international concert they held following a three-year hiatus. Fangirls (and even fanboys) wearing Jonas shirts and waving witty banners filled the Arena a full two hours before the show. Some of the same fangirls even stalked them at their hotel.

Filipino-American singer and actress Anna Maria Perez De Tagle opened the concert

in a memorable sparkling outfit designed by Oliver Tolentino. She wowed the audience with covers of “Only Girl In The World,” and “The One that Got Away.” Much to the delight of Jonas fans who know her from her role in the Disney movie “Camp Rock,” she introduced herself in fluent Filipino in between performances that included a medley of well-loved OPM like “Torete” and “Please Be Careful With My Heart,” finishing with her two dance-infused original songs “Insomnia” and “Movin’ to the Music.”

A brief intermission followed, then the lights dimmed and the crowd of teenage and not-so-teenage girls formed a mosh pit in front of the stage, chanting “Jonas, Jonas, Jonas!” After what felt like the longest wait, the Jonas Brothers opened their set with no fuss and frills, singing “When You Look Me In The Eyes,” which served as a love letter to their fans. Many of them burst into tears while singing along.

It was evident that while the Jonas Brothers did a lot of growing up in the last couple of years, they still maintained the groove and the spark that endeared them to fans in the first place. Of course, it helped that they looked absolutely hot.

The screaming fangirls never tired throughout the Jonas Brothers’ set that was almost 28 songs long. They performed old favorites like “BB Good,” “Hello Beautiful,” “S.O.S.” and “Hold On.”

Proving that they do know their music, they also covered songs like “We Found Love,” “Feels So Close,” and “We Are Young.” Joe sang the latter’s chorus—“Tonight, we are young, so let's set the world on fire, we can burn brighter than the sun”–and it was sung back to him with immense passion by their fans.

One of the high points of the concert was the group’s performances of “Let's Go” and “First Time”—two songs from the Jonas Brothers’ upcoming album slated for release this year. Lyrics were flashed onscreen so that fans could pick up the words and sing along.

“Wedding Bells” was another new ballad, largely speculated by many to be about Nick Jonas' ex-girlfriend Miley Cyrus. “This is a song I feel uncomfortable about,” Nick explained as he introduced the song. “But as an artist, you have to write about things that you felt while in the moment.” As he sang the lyrics “If you recall our anniversary falls 11 nights into June,” referencing the day he and Miley became a couple, fans started shouting Miley’s name.

The ultimate highlight of the concert is arguably the Jonas Brothers’ performance of “Lovebug,” videos of which are circulating on the Internet to the amazement of fans around the world. The entire crowd sang in unison with the boys for the first verse. Instead of continuing, the boys let the audience sing the chorus as they shook their heads in amazement and smiled at each other, probably wondering in disbelief how thousands of fans in a country halfway across the world could know their lyrics perfectly.

In between songs, the Jonas Brothers talked to their fans, expressing their thanks for the opportunity to tour in the Philippines. “I can’t believe it’s taken us this long to come here,” said Nick Jonas. “It’s our first time here in Manila and you guys are showing us so much love.”

“It really is more fun in the Philippines,” he added to the delighted screams of the audience.

Nick, Kevin and Joe were energetic during the concert, jumping and dancing and moving toward the risers and standing on the speakers at the edge of the stage to better reach their fans. At one point, Joe jumped off the stage and caused frenzy as fans tried to get near him.

They ended their set with “S.O.S.” and the lights dimmed as they took their bows, but the fans weren’t satisfied. Their chants of “we want more” filled the arena and Nick, Joe and Kevin heard them. They came back for one last song—“Burnin’ Up”—then introduced their band and took their final bows.

After singing and screaming along to more than 25 songs off the Jonas Brothers’ discography, fans lingered for a while after the concert ended. Some were still crying hysterically, some were in shock, but most were extremely happy that their dreams finally came true.

The concert did nothing to abate their love for the Jonas Brothers—they just wanted more.

With an amazing response from the Asian tour, hung over Jonas fans in Manila, an upcoming studio album, and confirmed full tour next year, it looks like a Jonas Brothers Live in Manila 2013 just might be a strong possibility. Fans will only be too happy to experience being speechless, over the edge, just breathless once again with the Jonas Brothers in the near future. –KG, GMA News Photos by

Kitkat Lastimosa.