Saturday, September 30, 2006

Billy Ray!!!!!

A few weeks ago, I took the kids to their first concert.  Actually, it was their second concert as we'd taken them to see They Might Be Giants when they were 3 and 5.  That was a short, but fun show.  (And if you have kids and don't have TMBG's No CD, you are missing something great.)  But this concert was their first big production.  We're talking downtown in the arena.  A real stage show, big video monitors, and 8,300 other screaming fans.  We went to see Hannah Montana and the Cheetah Girls.  If you have kids who watch Disney Channel or listen to Radio Disney, you know who they are.  If you don't, they are what Disney does best:  Find appealing teenagers who can sing, give them a TV showcase, and have them record songs.  Next,  pimp them out all over the country with concert tours and of course, all the ensuing merchandise.  Finally, collect your giant bags of money and call it a day.  Now that I look back on it, I feel a little manipulated.  I mean, really, do a 9 and 6 year old need to go to a stadium concert?  And of course, they can't go by themselves, so I had to buy a ticket, too.  But they're both so into Hannah Montana and the Cheetah Girls that when I heard about the concert, it was actually MY idea to get the tickets.  And I wasn't alone.  Two of my other friends with kids got tickets for their families as well.  There ended up being nine of us: three moms and six kids.  That was about the way the entire crowd broke down.  For every 3 or 4 kids, there was a mom who had brought them.  The funniest part was seeing some of the moms who were all glammed up.  What the hell?  I guess I have more of a life than I thought. 
Hilary Duff had toured through here a few years back and I'd talked to someone who'd taken her kids to it.  She said it was so loud that her daughter was actually crying.  We made sure to come prepared with ear plugs, just in case.  David is my kid who is supersensitive to noise.  He spent many years sitting in movie theaters with his hands clamped over his ears, waiting for the audio to start.  He was fine once it got going, but that first onslaught of sound always unsettled him.  I have fond memories of him sticking his face in his popcorn like a feedbag  because he refused to remove his hands from his ears.  David is the reason I haven't seen a fireworks shows since 1991.  True to form, he asked for his ear plugs before we even entered the auditorium. 
It took a lot longer to get in than we'd expected, then we had a hell of a time finding our seats.  The lights were down, an opening act was already playing, we were stumbling around looking for our section and the kids were freaking out that they were missing the whole thing.   Somehow we managed to find our seats which were mid-way up the lower level at the far end of the stadium.  We were high enough that we could see over the floor seats and had a straight on view at the stage. 
Hannah Montana came on first.  The concept behind the TV show is that a teenage girl named Miley Stewart has a secret identity as a pop star named Hannah Montana.  Miley has long dark hair, but she wears a blonde wig as Hannah, so nobody knows they're the same person.  (It's like the glasses completely disguising Clark Kent, ok?  Work with me, people.)  The role of Miley/Hannah is played by 14-year-old Miley Cyrus, who is the daughter of Billy Ray Cyrus.  On the TV show, Billy Ray plays Miley's dad.  Got that?  Sure, the concept is a little hokey, but Miley Cyrus is absolutely adorable and completely engaging.  I actually enjoy watching the show with the kids. Miley has quite the set of pipes and her songs are as infectious as pop songs can be.  Furthermore--and I never thought I would EVER say this--Billy Ray Cyrus is looking mighty fine these days.  In fact, my friend Amy and I amused ourselves by yelling BILLY RAY during quiet moments of the concert.  (An aside: the other day I found the Achy Breaky Heart video online and showed it to the kids so they could see what Billy Ray used to look like.  I only played it once but hours later as Juliana was getting ready for bed, I heard her upstairs singing it.  Further proof that the song exerts some sort of stealth mind control.  There is nothing so susceptible to being stuck in your head as Achy Breaky Heart.  And don't think I can't hear you all cursing my name already.)
So, Hannah Montana came out on stage and she couldn't not have been cuter. She was dressed in a silvery dress over knee length black leggings and tall black boots with sequins around the top.  And of course, she had the long blonde Hannah wig on.  She smiled and sang and danced and would occasionally wave at fans in the first few rows.  Every time she would wave,  Amy's daughter, who just turned 7, would spend the next 10 seconds deliriously and delightedly  waving back at her. 
The only thing that concerned me was that they had her out there as Hannah Montana.  Now, on the tickets it said:
 Miley Cyrus as
Hannah Montana
I don't understand why they couldn't just let Miley Cyrus be Miley Cyrus.  I mean, if you watch the show, you know she's Miley pretending to be Hannah.  Why trot her out as Hannah all the time?  Couldn't she at least have taken off the wig at some point?  Would the kids have loved her less if she had?  I think not.  That whole part weirded me out just a bit. 
Too soon she was done, and there was a lengthy intermission as they readied the stage for the Cheetah Girls.  The Cheetah Girls started out as a book about four girls who have a singing group and get discovered. A few years back, Disney Channel made the book into a TV movie.  This summer they premeired the second Cheetah Girls movie, hence the timing of this tour.   The four girls are three nobodies plus Raven-Symone who, depending on how old you are, you'll remember either as little Olivia from the Cosby Show or as the lead actress from That's So Raven.  Raven is enormously popular with the Disney set and she starred in both of the Cheetah Girls movies.  When the Cheetah Girls tour, however, Raven isn't with them.  Now, maybe she's too good for them or too busy having a real career, but the problem I have is that the other three NEVER MENTION HER.  I mean, come on.  If we all have to pretend that Hannah Montana is a real person, why can't the Cheetah Girls throw us a bone and say something like "We're so sorry that our friend Raven can't be here today!"  Nope, we got nothing.  It's like Raven was dead to them.  So right off, I was resentful.  Look here bitches, you rode Raven's coat tails to get to where you are now.  Where is the love?  But the more I watched the Cheetah Girls perform, the more I understood why Raven wanted no part of them.  Holy God, as charming as Miley Cyrus was, that's how skanky these chicks were.  Two of the three wore so many hair extensions, I couldn't believe they could actually hold up their heads.  And the costumes, sweet Jesus, the costumes.  Now, it was a Disney show, so there was nothing too risque, but it was more than obvious that their costume designer had been forced to listen to one too many screaming 11 year old and he was going to make those wenches pay.  Each costume was less flattering than the next.  The word that kept coming to my mind was "heinous".  At one point, the frizzy blonde skanky Cheetah Girl was wearing this dowdy, ill-fitting khaki ensemble that must've been an homage to the Crocodile Hunter.  There couldn't possibly be any other explanation.  Oh, the pain.  And their set went on forEVER.  After a few songs, Juliana announced she had a tummy ache and spent the rest of the show curled up on my lap.  <sigh>  I wasn't too surprised because this is often how she deals with sensory overload.  She didn't want ear plugs and she didn't want to leave, but she needed to be on my body.  After we'd been there nearly 2 hours (the show started at 4 PM) Juliana's friend Shannon leaned over to me and said "Is it 8:00 now?  Because it feels like it's probably 8:00 by now."  From your lips to God's ears, sister.  They would not stop singing.  And somewhere along the way, they decided that melodies were optional.  Just a waste of time.  You know, sort of like attractive costumes.  David and his friend Andrew who had been on their feet and attentive during Hannah Montana, were now engrossed in Andrew's gameboy.  Andrew's 12 year old sister was playing Tetris on her mother's cell phone.  Excuse me, Cheetah Girls, but if you've lost the 12 year old girl segment of your audience perhaps it's time to SHUT THE FUCK UP. 
Ok, how about a few pictures?  I took them with my phone, so forgive the graininess.
Here's David, who really hates to have his picture taken.  Note the ear plugs firmly in place. 
Juliana--think she was a little excited?
Juliana and Shannon, happy with popcorn.


momdeplume said...

1) David eating popcorn as if out of a feedbag?  Too funny.
2) Why, Billy Ray IS looking mighty fine.
3) Damn skanky Cheetah girls.  
4) By golly, Billy Ray is looking MIGHTY FINE.

hallcjm said...

YOU ARE THE way on this planet would I EVER take my kids to see this. Of course, our little neighbor went and even went in a limo. @@

Mag wanted to be a cheetah girl for Halloween. I quickly nixed that with 'no - people won't know who you are. They will think you are just dressing like a hoochy.'

Tell me more about TMBG....

jengrappone said...

I don't think Billy Ray looks good. The photo you linked to shows him with that weird traingular chin patch - why does he have that? All I can think of is Flexo, Bender's evil twin in Futurama.  Here's a picture:

foilhat16 said...

OK - if Billy Ray loses the stupid soul patch, he looks pretty good.  But, I'm concerned that Disney has taken over your brain, Janet. How did this happen?  They do this kind of thing and they make it seem like a happy thing.  Trust me, I live in the viper's nest.  I will send you a foil hat right away!  I will agree with They Might Be Giants - they're awesome.

jplover61 said...

i want to go to a Hannah Montana concert!!!!!!!!!!!!