Nostalgic and New: JoJo at the Wonder Ballroom

Kicking off her latest tour behind her 2021 album, ‘trying not to think about it’, pop / R&B singer and early ‘00s icon JoJo played a packed setlist to an even more packed crowd at Portland’s Wonder Ballroom on February 24th. Read Bren Swogger’s review and see Emma Davis’s full photo gallery below.

For many packed into the crowd at the Wonder Ballroom on February 24th, JoJo has been a staple of their music rotation since their childhoods. Classic cuts such as “Leave (Get Out)” and “Too Little, Too Late” have been spinning on repeat since at least 2006, soundtracking many milestones for those children who now–fully grown–nest their adult beverages, cramming like sardines into the 21+ side of the venue’s floor.

Though the singer-songwriter came onto the scene in the early 2000s, she made her big comeback with 2016’s Mad Love. ten years after its preceding record, The High Road. Since then, JoJo’s been busy, churning out two new albums, two re-recordings, an EP, and a Christmas album.

With so much in her discography to pull from, there was plenty of material to craft a show for this new tour. And JoJo wasted no space on the setlist to please.

Taking the stage with an immediately powerful presence, JoJo launched into two cuts off of her 2020 record, good to know, as well as a song off her latest 2021 effort, trying not to think about it. From her vocal performance to the choreography, and the laser light show that shone behind her, JoJo was out to prove that nostalgia wasn’t the only thing she had up her sleeve.

However, she also knew that nostalgia was something that many of her fans craved. And she made sure to deliver on that front in spades.

“Someone told me it’s been 18 years since this song came out,” JoJo told the crowd. “And some of you have been listening to me since then.”

The packed crowd–pressed up against the stage and each other, and possibly full of alcohol–cheered in excitement as JoJo launched into “Baby It’s You”, a fan favorite off of her 2004 self-titled debut.

With a mix of new and nostalgic, JoJo played a massive setlist of around 30 songs spanning her nearly 20 year career, and her captivating stage presence and outstanding vocal performance never wavered once in her nearly two hours on stage.

Before closing out the night, she of course found a moment to pull out those classic cuts that the audience craved for the wave of memories they’d bring. Singing “Leave (Get Out)” and “Too Little, Too Late”, the crowd raised their voices loud, hands reached out, and took a moment to live in those childhood memories once again.

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Emma Davis
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