Greatest Show on Earth
Hannah Talbot and Corey Potter
Union Center, Jan. 9
It doesn’t seem possible that a girl our age could be as popular
as Miley Cyrus. In any school there are popular kids and some
not-so-popular kids, but Miley Cyrus goes way past that middle-school
level of popularity. The famous Disney Channel pop star Hannah
Montana (who is also Miley Cyrus in real life), started her
tour in October. This sprung the craze for tickets, the asking,
the pleading, all together: “Can I go see Hannah Montana?”
And for those who received tickets—and an exciting wait to
see Miley live and tell all their friends about it—it was
a dream come true! And those tickets to see Miley Cyrus were
just what we received, but not only that—we got to see her
opening act, the Jonas Brothers, too!
As we arrived in Albany, the traffic was jammed and we saw
a slow-paced but steady stream of people all heading towards
the Times Union Center. Our anticipation grew as we walked
toward the entrance, and the closer we got to getting inside
the arena, the clearer we could hear a voice on a microphone.
It was a girl’s voice, and all around were screaming groups
of girls and their mothers. We assumed it was Miley Cyrus
and we were extremely excited. But, as we got closer we found
it was just a raffle taking place outside the arena. You might
think this ruined the moment, but it only boosted our excitement.
After we showed a man our tickets we found ourselves among
a crowd of young Hannah Montana fans, girls rushing their
mothers to get to their seats. Once we finished shuffling
through the crowd and found our section, we started down the
stairs toward the stage. We were amazed to see all the blinking
Hannah Montana glow-sticks, the many cameras, and the oddly
shaped stage. We settled into our front-row seats (!!!) with
our two friends and we took about a thousand pictures, like
many of the other fans. The show started with the Jonas Brothers
making a grand appearance. They sang three of their most popular
songs while constantly interacting with the audience. They
pumped up the crowd, getting us all out of our seats by throwing
clothing into the audience, and doing stunts—they were pretty
much feeding their energy straight into our mouths. Can you
imagine the sound of 10,000 screaming girls? We were all sad
to see them go, but their leaving was the cue for Hannah to
start her performance.
She entered the stage coming down from a platform unexpectedly.
Everyone went crazy—kids and parents alike. It’s impossible
to describe the amount of noise when Hannah made her entrance.
There were fireworks, explosions, and sparkles flying in every
direction. She had a large assortment of outfits, which she
changed about every two songs, adding renewed energy to the
crowd each time. The Jonas Brothers came out to sing with
Hannah, and after the song she transformed into Miley Cyrus,
as the Jonas Brothers performed their song “Year 3000.” When
Miley came back out, she found her screaming fans still there,
and performed her last song as herself. The song included
more fireworks, sparklers, streamers, and ended with a burst
of confetti, and Miley exiting though a mystery hole in the
The show provided us with hours of jittery excitement, before,
during, and after the show—hours full of screaming without
getting in trouble. We were free from everything, just us,
our friends, Miley Cyrus, Hannah Montana, and the Jonas Brothers.
For the next couple of days, though, we suffered the consequences
of falling asleep in class and losing our voices, but seeing
Hannah Montana and the Jonas Brothers was worth it—trust us!!
Talbot (14) and Corey Potter (13) are 8th graders at Monum
ent Valley Middle School in Great Barrington, Mass.
A storied past: Howard Jones at the Egg.
PHOTO: Joe Putrock
Minus the Synth
Egg, Jan. 13
In his 1980s heyday, Howard Jones was as identified with the
synthesizer as A Flock of Seagulls were with their hair. The
prospect of hearing something as quintessentially synthy as
“What Is Love” performed “acoustically”—as the show was advertised—was,
As it turned out, this wasn’t an issue at all. Jones, on electric
piano, accompanied by acoustic guitarist Robin Boult, thoroughly
delighted a cozy Swyer Theatre crowd of real fans. And by
“real fans,” I mean people who could sing along without missing
a phrase. (As with Duran Duran at the Palace in 2006, the
audience included one dude sporting an outstanding period
worked, too, because Jones’ songs have proven to be durable,
from the opening “Pearl in the Shell” to the last encore,
“Things Can Only Get Better.” Musically, he played some straight,
like “Look Mama” and “Life in One Day.” Others were reinvented:
“Don’t Always Look at the Rain” was given the jazz treatment,
and interpolated a bit of Miles Davis. And his musicianship
is solid, as was Boult’s guitar accompaniment.
The fans knew their Jones. The women sitting behind me, for
example, added unprompted, angelic background voices to “Everlasting
Love.” As the evening went on, and Jones actually invited
folks to sing along, all his peeps joined in.
time was spent with Jones the charming raconteur, as he name-checked
an eclectic array of musical notables, from Miles Copeland
and Madonna to Midge Ure and Duncan Sheik, without going off
point—much. He remembered previewing, live, what would become
his biggest hit (“No One Is to Blame”) for the president of
Elektra Records, and being told that, uh, maybe, it
would make an OK “B” side. And then there was the time at
Live Aid when he and his backup singers rehearsed backstage,
a capella, for an audience of two: David Bowie and Pete Townshend.
This was one of those shows in which the performer fed off
the enthusiasm of the crowd. Including the intermission, the
performance was two and one-half hours long; Jones even squeezed
in a couple more stories during the encore, which featured
his coolest tune, “What Is Love” (it’s my fave, anyway), and
“Things Can Only Get Better.” After pointing out the similarities
between the latter song’s riff and the Spice Girls’ subsequent
hit “Wannabe”—and acknowledging that it probably originated
in some Motown hit—he primly wished the ladies great success
on their reunion tour.
Always leave ’em laughing.