Almost a decade after Jesse McCartney released his last platinum single, his show at the Roseland on July 21 took on an arch detachment toward its imminent trip down memory lane.
Though McCartney got his starts as a tweener heartthrob on daytime and WB soaps, all respondents surveyed at his Portland show insisted he was a scion of the Disney empire. It's a testament, perhaps, to how slavishly McCartney has studied the Justin Timberlake blueprint and distilled troubadour relevance from boy-band juvenalia.
The 30-something moppet bounded onto the Roseland's stage rocking Blazers sweats and a gleaming chartreuse jacket, but seethed rat pack flair nonetheless. A portion of the set was dedicated to unreleased material from his forthcoming sixth album. The new material's limp dance pop and watered-down R&B was aided by a crack live band and McCartney's unflagging verve.
Despite the curdling insecurities that fuel cautionary tales, child stardom enables staggering powers of self-possession and charisma. During the climactic medley of hits from his heyday, McCartney held the mic out to the crowd as they trilled the lyrics.
By then, it didn't matter that the extended string of new soul bangers were indistinguishable. The songs were him.