WORCESTER - There is something comforting about Miley Cyrus, also known by the name of her rock star alter ego, Hannah Montana. She favors tights and glittery tops, nothing particularly skin-baring. She dances and pumps her fists in the air, but gyrations remain G-rated. As of today, we also don't have to worry about Miley forcing her cable network to contemplate a teen pregnancy special. That's Jamie Lynn.
No, Miley seems to be just what she plays on TV: A teenage girl living out a fantasy. And you, too, can share that joy, provided you're able to score a coveted ticket and tolerate the kind of squealing rarely heard outside a pig farm.
"It's too loud," my daughter said as soon as she entered Worcester's DCU Center for Saturday's sold-out show.
Forgive her. She's just 5, and wasn't there when the Beatles arrived at JFK. She would adjust. By the second song of Saturday's show, the fingers had come out of her ears and she held her glow-stick firmly in position.
For the uninitiated, the Hannah Montana and Miley Cyrus: Best of Both Worlds Tour is the latest offshoot of the popular Disney Channel show. Cyrus, in real life, is 15 and the daughter of country singer Billy Ray. Under the Montana moniker, though, she is a rock star. Tickets to the tour haven't been easy to come by, with online dealers listing seats for thousands of dollars.
In fact, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich refused to apologize recently when criticized for scoring tickets through a connection. "If you think my daughters are going to ask me to try to get them tickets to see Hannah Montana and I'm going to tell them 'No,' well then you're wrong," he told the Chicago Sun-Times.
Saturday, everybody seemed to have a story of how they lucked into seats. Kris Bostek, of West Boylston, related how a man painting her house mentioned he had a few extra tickets. Interested? Duh. That meant she could take her niece, Emma Bailey, 8. Emma's mother, Erin, came too, and related how she had tried valiantly to score tickets when they originally went on sale.
"I had three computers, two other moms working, and we tried for a good hour," Erin Bailey said. "We got nothing."
Inside the DCU Center, my daughter's naivete - this was her first rock concert - allowed me to shuffle through the merchandising line without slapping down $55 for a purple-sleeved, Hannah guitar logo T-shirt. Instead, Lila seemed content with that glow stick ($8) and a small cup of Dippin' Dots ($3.50).
The action began at 4:12 with the Jonas Brothers, who played a short set of candy pop that had its high points (their groovy variation of Kim Wilde's "Kids in America") if a bit too much preening for the enormous video monitors.
Then Hannah Montana arrived, dramatically lowered from an illuminated box. The main difference between Hannah and Miley is a shiny, blond wig. The songs are catchy, '90s-era alternative pop - drummer Stacy Jones, the show's music director, played in Letters to Cleo and American Hi-Fi - if a bit generic. But give her credit. Nothing Montana sings perpetuates a teenage musical crime on the order of New Kids on the Block.
And in the second set, when Cyrus emerged as Miley in ripped jeans and natural curls, the music got tougher and poppier. "Start All Over" has a swirling, Cars-ish keyboard flourish and Green Day guitars. "G.N.O. (Girls Night Out)" is also catchy.
Of course, most of the mainly tweener fans in the arena weren't splitting those kinds of musical hairs. They ate up the spectacle of the show, with its costume changes, giant video screens, and sparklers.
Between the band and dancers, there were, at one point, 19 people on the stage. By the end of Cyrus's set, the floor sticky with melted slush, the screaming had given way to thousands of chirpy voices as Hannah/Miley launched into her show's theme song, "The Best of Both Worlds." Everyone seemed to know it by heart.
Geoff Edgers can be reached at email@example.com.