The Best of Both Worlds tour -- starring Miley Cyrus, daughter of country-pop star Billy Ray Cyrus -- was a polished, surprisingly enjoyable show whose music didn't insult the intelligence of the shrieking girls or their patient parents filling the arena. The young star played to a sold-out crowd of more than 13,000 fans.
By day, Miley navigates the twists and turns of high school. By night, Hannah rocks out on stage resplendent in snazzy outfits and a long blond wig. The Best of Both Worlds show, featuring tepid opener the Jonas Brothers, focuses on the split musical personalities of the character. Part of the show's appeal is the spunky, sugar-coated music that, among other innocuous things, extols being imperfect and having fun with friends.
After the Jonas Brothers annoyingly yelped through their set of fizzy punk-lite rock tunes, Miley emerged as sprightly Hannah Montana. Decked out in a long blond wig, a sparkly, striped top and black tights, she opened with "Rock Star," a Day-Glo number anchored by choppy guitars and a predictable, surging chorus.
In fact, every song Miley performed -- whether as Hannah or Miley -- fit that formula. But her amiable, self-assured stage presence and boundless energy sold every tune. Where the Hannah Montana side is as sweet as Starburst candy, the Miley character is more defiant. This "edgier" half was represented by the studded, black outfit Miley wore and, of course, her natural dark-brown tresses. As Miley, even celebratory songs such as "Let's Dance" and "Girls Night Out" seethed a little.
News media reported this week -- and a Disney publicist confirmed -- that Miley uses a body double during a sort-of intermission in the show, when the Jonas Brothers perform. But if one was present last night, she was undetectable.
Both the Miley and Hannah personas are harmless. Miley's clean-cut image has made her an anomaly in a field crowded with young stars growing up way too fast. In light of the unnerving and pathetic tabloid filler from the Spears family, Miley/Hannah is a refreshingly sleaze-free presence in teen entertainment.
Parents presumably feel relieved that Miley doesn't sashay around in getups befitting a porn star or sing very precocious songs about "pleasure principles." Her safe, mildly cheeky persona and catchy, if banal, music have made her the hottest concert draw in the country.
According to numerous reports, parents have paid scalpers between $200 and $2,500 for a seat. Two hours before Monday's show at the Verizon Center in Washington, young fans and parents peacefully protested the outrageous ticket prices.
And an hour before Tuesday's show at 1st Mariner, a woman openly wept in the lobby when she heard there were no more tickets available. Is all the hype worth it? Given that there are few well-paced, likable alternatives for kids and parents, maybe so.