It was a night of recent nostalgia at the Gwinnett Arena on Monday evening as Star 94's Jingle Jam provided an almost full Gwinnett Arena with some of bigger musical acts of the last 20 years.
Headlined by the Backstreet Boys but also including The Fray, the Goo Goo Dolls, Avril Lavigne and Colbie Caillat the show went for almost four hours and provided the mostly 20 and 30 something female crowd with some of the greatest hits these musical acts have produced in their careers.
Concerts like this are always a good bet for those who are not necessarily big fans of those appearing but who recognize the commercial hits the bands have produced. It's a "greatest hits" evening that provides a lot of sing-along opportunities. This Jingle Jam was exactly that; an opportunity to enjoy the hits that defined your formative years, be they five years ago for Colbie Caillat, The Fray and Avril Lavigne, ten years ago for The Goo Goo Dolls or twenty years ago for The Backstreet Boys.
The evening started in the recent past and then got older and bigger as the night wore on. Colbie Caillat was up first and followed by Avril Lavigne.
The Fray with Isaac Slade, the bald-headed lead singer, played a great version of "How to save a life" as part of their short set.
The Goo Goo Dolls played their biggest hits and John Rzeznick was having a good time as they too played a short set that finished with "Iris" where Avril Lavigne came out and joined the band for a seemingly impromptu duet with the band.
The Backstreet Boys were one of the original "boy" bands that burst onto the scene in the early 90's. Before their arrival on stage at the Jingle Jam a video montage showed them as they were then...it's fair to say that few of them shaved at that time. Now it's fair to say that only A.J. McLean doesn't shave regularly. He looked like he was one of the Boston Red Sox so thick was his beard.
With their fans providing the background vocals with a constant screaming, the now Backstreet Men started with "The Call". Midway through their set they switched to a couple of numbers featuring either acoustic or a cappella versions including "Quit Playing Games (with my heart)" that was very good. They finished the set to rapturous applause with "Everybody (Backstreets back)".
Overall the evening was a great success and an improvement over last years Jingle Jam.
Being so close it is inevitable to compare Jingle Jam with the Miley Cyrus Jingle Ball that took place last week at Phillips. While Jingle Ball had the bigger show and "current" acts, the applause for the Jingle Jam artists seemed more sincere; after all it had been almost twenty years in the making. It will be interesting to see if Miley Cyrus is still "twerking" in 20 years time. We can only hope not!