One ... more ... day.
And then, after a breathless scramble for tickets and three excruciating months of waiting, young concert-goers can finally walk up to the Mellon Arena and cash in that piece of paper for the Hannah Montana Experience.
When Miley Cyrus and her alter-ego Hannah Montana make their first appearance at the Mellon Arena on Friday night on the The Best of Both Worlds tour, the dome will echo with the kind of screams heard there in 1964 for the Beatles and then earlier this decade for 'N Sync.
Hannah is the hottest ticket on the concert circuit, one that has people taking desperate measures to keep their tweens happy. There are anxious parents paying hundreds or thousands to brokers and a variety of lawsuits over where the tickets all went.
- Where: Mellon Arena.
- When: 7 p.m. Friday.
- Tickets: Sold out.
Now, we hear of a mom in Texas who fabricated a story about her 6-year-old daughter's father dying in Iraq to win an essay contest for tickets. In Illinois, the governor got blasted for taking freebies but had no apologies.
"She is the hottest concert on the secondary market, bar none. She's outselling Van Halen, The Police, even Britney of a few years ago," Sean Pate, a StubHub spokesman, told the PG in October.
What's the big deal?
For those out of the loop, Destiny Hope "Miley" Cyrus is the 15-year-old daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus (of "Achy Breaky Heart" fame) and star of the hit Disney Channel show "Hannah Montana." She plays Miley Stewart, your average high school student who dons a blond wig and leads a double life as a pop star.
Meeting Hannah Montana is pretty tough, but you can meet her best friend tonight at Baierl Family YMCA in Franklin Park.
Mitchel Musso, who plays Oliver on "Hannah Montana," will do a meet-and-greet from 6 to 8 p.m. Radio Disney (WWCS 540 AM) will be on hand with music, games and prizes.
The Baierl Family YMCA is at 2565 Nicholson Road. Go to www.RadioDisney.com/Pittsburgh.
That whole scenario began to play out in real life when the "Hannah Montana" soundtrack topped the charts in 2006 on the strength of the hits "Who Said," "The Best of Both Worlds" and "If We Were a Movie." She proved she wasn't a one-album wonder when "Hannah Montana 2: Meet Miley Cyrus" debuted at No. 1 in June and sold more than 3 million copies worldwide. The set features one disc that's a soundtrack to the second season and another that serves as Cyrus' debut album -- very much in the Avril Lavigne mold, without the angst and the eyeliner.
Miley, the middle child of five, grew up in the Nashville suburb in Franklin, Tenn., and got the nickname "Miley" as a smiling infant, because it rhymed with "smiley."
She made her acting debut at age 9 in dad's TV series "Doc" and then appeared in Tim Burton's "Big Fish." At 13, she got the role on the Disney Channel show, which started in March 2006 and quickly became the highest-rated show in the cable channel's history and second most popular show on television among kids ages 6 to 14, behind only "American Idol."
According to Disney execs, she landed the role because she had the "everyday relatability of Hilary Duff and the stage presence of Shania Twain." The similarity to Duff, who broke big with "Lizzie Maguire" in 2001, is no accident.
"I kind of take Hilary as a role model because she started out at about the same age," she said in a 2006 interview with the San Antonio Express-News. "She hadn't done much before starting her series, and I haven't either."
The appeal for young teens, and their parents, is Cyrus' wholesome, church-going image, especially in light of the exploits of teen stars like Britney and Jamie Lynn Spears and Lindsay Lohan.
Cyrus told USA Today last year, "Faith is the main thing. That's kind of why I'm, like, here in Hollywood -- to be like a light, a testimony to say God can take someone from Nashville and make me this, but it's His will that made this happen."
Her break as a concert performer came when a June 2006 performance of a Hannah Montana concert at Walt Disney World was recorded for the Disney Channel. Cyrus then joined the 2006 Cheetah Girls tour for 20 dates, although she did not play Pittsburgh, as the opener for that late December show was Everlife.
For this 69-date tour, which began on Oct. 18 in St. Louis, fans are getting Cyrus as Cyrus as well as Cyrus as Hannah Montana. The show is split into two 35-minute acts, first in the Hannah guise for songs like "Nobody's Perfect" and "Rock Star," then as Miley for power-pop tunes like "G.N.O. (Girl's Night Out)" and "East Northumberland High."
Prepare yourself for a high-energy show with explosions, costume changes, dancers and a rock band featuring former Letters to Cleo singer Kay Hanley, who is also known for singing the national anthem at Patriots games and providing the vocals for the movie "Josie and the Pussycats."
According to the Boston Herald, "The telegenic Miss Cyrus careened from one song-based production number to the next. ... Whether the audience is hearing live vocals most of the time or seldom is not an issue. Neither is the lack of genuine emotion. This critic-proof show is all about putting on a high-wattage spectacle -- and it succeeded."
The tour ends Jan. 31 in Miami, with an additional date March 9 at the Houston Rodeo.
After that ... Hollywood. Cyrus will turn her attention to the "Hannah Montana" big-screen debut, which is scheduled to begin shooting in April and open in theaters either late this year or early next year.
Scott Mervis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-2576. First Published January 3, 2008 5:00 AM