Pop princess Montana rules Oakland
piece of advice was constantly repeated to parents and other adults
attending the Hannah Montana concert Thursday night in Oakland: Wear
That wasn't a sly dig at Montana's Radio Disney-approved music -- or
that of her alter-ego, and real person, Miley Cyrus. It was merely
words of caution since there was to be screaming on this night -- lots
The high-pitched screams of pure joy coming from the thousands of
pre-teen girls packing the Oracle Arena arrived in constant waves. The
girls started screaming well before their idol took the stage, as the
big overhead screens showed a steady succession of pictures of the
14-year-old singer. Yet, those were nothing in comparison to the
shrieks heard once the house lights dimmed and all the months of
waiting was over.
At that point, it was pure Montana-mania.
There's been a lot of that going around lately. The Hannah Montana tour
-- featuring Cyrus both performing as herself and appearing as the lead
character of the popular Disney Channel show -- has turned out to be
the hottest ticket of the year. Supply has been dwarfed by demand on
this tour, which includes a date Sunday at the HP Pavilion in San Jose,
and there are reports of people paying thousands of dollars for tickets.
Hopefully, those occurrences didn't happen for the Oakland show since
promoters released a batch of tickets on the day of the concert.
Much like Disney's "High School Musical'' was in 2006, Hannah Montana has become this
year's true pre-teen music
phenomenon. The TV show is a mega-hit, the soundtracks top the album
charts and the tour is selling-out across the country. For someone,
say, over the age of 15, it might be hard to understand all the fuss.
The show's premise is fairly simple -- a young teen balances a
double-life as high school student and rock star -- yet it's certainly
captured the attention of young, mostly female audiences.
"She's a young girl who all the other young girls want to be like,''
said Hayward resident Melissa Martinez, who brought her 8-year-old
daughter, Ericka, to the show. "Every day, my little girl comes home
and she's got to watch `Hannah Montana.' ''
Opening with "Rock Star,'' a track from this year's "Hannah Montana 2:
Meet Miley Cyrus,'' the young singer delivered a razzle-dazzle
75-minute performance that was full of costume changes, big dance
numbers and plenty of personality. The multi-media star -- the daughter
of country singer Billy Ray "Achy Breaky Heart'' Cyrus -- divided the
set into two parts.
In the first half, she played her TV character, Hannah Montana, and
then spent the second half introducing the crowd to Miley Cyrus. She
played the characters like separate entities, going so far as to greet
the crowd anew once she took off the blonde wig and "transformed'' into
This is where the true genius of this situation can be found. For every
new movement in pop music, it seems, there are two leaders -- from the
Beatles and the Rolling Stones to Nirvana and Pearl Jam to 'N Sync and
the Backstreet Boys to Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera. By
establishing two distinct characters, Cyrus has been able to fill both
chairs and hasn't left much room for outside competition. She's also
made herself less dependent on Disney and provided an avenue to grow
professionally and attract older crowds. Like I said -- genius.
Of course, this Hannah Montana thing is working so well for her that
she might just retire at age 15 and live very comfortably off her
earnings. What she earned on this night at the merchandisce booth,
given the hundreds of kids wearing tour T-shirts, must have been
"We have to buy the Hannah Montana clothes, the Hannah Montana dresses,
the Hannah Montana hairpieces,'' said Castro Valley's Kara Costa, who
was in attendance with her two daughters, 10-year-old Marissa and
8-year-old Jordan. "We have to have the whole thing.''
Watching the kids react to the show, it was easy to draw comparisons to
other pop-music phenomenoms from the past -- like `N Sync, Britney and,
even, the Beatles. For some in attendance, however, there's simply no
comparison. One of those folks was Castro Valley's Sarah Luzuriaga, who
brought her 9-year-old nieces, Kaylei Mae Long and Cori Ann Long, to
"This is bigger than the Beatles for the girls,'' she said.