Heartthrob Jesse McCartney Takes Us Back to 2004 at Varsity Theater

After a four-year hiatus from the music business, Jess McCartney is back, and recently came to Minneapolis as part of his “Better With You” Tour

Photo Credit: Sara Fish

Last updated on July 18th, 2018 at 05:11 pm

I could not believe my eyes while standing outside the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown on Saturday night. The last time I saw him perform at the same venue most of the fans were snotty high school and college girls, so I was fully expecting fangirls that were between the ages of 14-20 waiting to get inside for the opportunity to see J-Mac (what hardcore fans call Jesse McCartney!), but was greeted with a crowd that was more in their late twenties and early thirties.

Jesse McCartney, originally from Ardsley, New York began his path to stardom in the late 1990’s. Acting from an early age in the daytime drama series All My Children, he then joined a short-lived boy-band called Dream Street in the early 2000’s. They were best known for their song “It Happens Everytime,” which was a certified banger in the halls of my elementary school.

Photo Credit: Sara Fish

After the heartbreaking Dream Street split, Jesse signed with Hollywood Records in 2004 at the age of fifteen, along with securing another acting role in a show called Summerland on The WB. His popularity grew astronomically from his hit song, “Beautiful Soul” off of his debut album of the same name.

He continued making hits for teenage girls throughout the mid-2000’s, including another album, Right Where You Want Me, in 2005 that unfortunately didn’t perform so well on the charts. After that, he went back to acting, mostly in voiceover roles for cartoons like Alvin and the Chipmunks, Horton Hears A Who, and Tinker Bell.

Photo Credit: Sara Fish

In 2008 he started to grow up, coming back with more sex appeal and a hit song called “Leavin” from his third studio album, Departure, in which he traded in his “boy next door” aesthetic for a “bad boy” one. After this, he released another album in 2010, but after his 2014 album, In Technicolor, he decided to take a break from the music industry.

After taking four years to focus on his acting and other ventures, Jesse announced the release of his new single “Better With You” on March 23, 2018. The song would be the lead single of his upcoming album. What followed, and what took place right here in Minneapolis on Saturday night, was the subsequent “Better With You” tour which features 30+ dates across the entire United States.

Photo Credit: Sara Fish

Supporting Jesse on this tour are bands Just Seconds Apart and Public. Unfortunately, the crowd didn’t seem to be into the former, but when the latter took the stage, it was like a switch was flipped and the night had truly begun. It may have had something to do with everyone’s alcohol levels finally reaching a tipping point, but the crowd was dancing, jumping, and were officially in the mood to relive their youth with J-Mac.

After a brief changeover, it was finally time for Jesse McCartney to take the stage. As the lights came up, and the stage filled with a dense haze, the crowd went absolutely crazy. With a set that was heavy on the classics, he started by performing with his MPD controller, but then changed pace and simply grabbed the microphone to perform a song off of his debut album called “She’s No You” and we were officially off to the races. In the middle of his set, he picked a girl (that sadly wasn’t me) to serenade with a song called “The Stupid Things,” also from his debut album.

Photo Credit: Sara Fish

As always, The Varsity offered me a great view of the show while I was upstairs on the second-floor balcony, and also allowed me to watch a group of women having their bridal shower jam out to McCartney. It was a fun and nostalgia-filled performance that left everyone in attendance feeling satisfied. While Jesse McCartney may not be the chart-busting heartthrob he used to be, he clearly still holds a very special place in my, and tons of young girls’, hearts.

Written by Taylor Brennan


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