Upon arriving for work Tuesday I found out that I was one of four news photographers, three writers and one teenage guest reviewer who would be working on stories about the Hannah Montana mania at the 1st Mariner Arena. My assignment was to be at the arena an hour before it opened to capture the excitement of kids and their parents arriving for the sold-out concert and catch Miley Cyrus in action later during "The Best of Both Worlds" tour's Baltimore stop.
After an agonizing 30-minute drive from the office to the arena, a trip that would usually take about five minutes, I arrived and found at least 300 kids, teenagers and parents lined up behind barricades at the VIP/Press entrance of the arena hoping to catch a glimpse of the teenage sensation. Some families, like the Hemlers from Boiling Springs, Pa., had driven for hours to attend the concert. Many of the kids, mostly 9- to 14-year-old girls, had $20 concert programs, homemade posters or Hannah Montana clothing and pocketbooks. They all waited there for at least two hours just hoping that Cyrus would walk by. She never did.
Over time, hopes of spotting arriving teenage celebrities faded; then, about 7 p.m., a tour bus pulled into the VIP parking lot and girls started to scream. Could it be the Jonas Brothers' bus? The teenage boys band was to be the opening act of the concert. But the girls were disappointed yet again when no one emerged from the bus.
Later, inside the arena, there was more satisfaction as 13,000 teenage fans screamed their way through a lively show. In the end, I am sure that most, if not all, of the fans and some of their parents had a great time cheering and dancing to songs performed by Cyrus and her alter ego Hannah.