Hannah mania takes over Minneapolis

Her preteen fans were ecstatic, but many parents were still fuming about exorbitant ticket prices for Miley Cyrus' concert on Sunday.

As another limousine rolled by the Target Center, a group of girls inevitably asked, "Is that Miley?" Brian Finn, of St. Paul, had an answer that made all the other parents around him laugh. "No, those are the really spoiled girls," joked Finn, with a tinge of pot-kettle-black irony born out of the $200 tickets he bought for his daughter and her friend. If you haven't been paying attention -- say, for instance, you don't know any preteen girls, you're not a ticket scalper, or you only follow the "important" news stories -- a 14-year-old singer by the name of Miley Cyrus performed Sunday at the Target Center. And so did her alter-ego, Hannah Montana.

(Insert chorus of loud shrieks here.)

After weeks of hype, hysteria and hatred -- the latter aimed at ticket scalpers -- Cyrus' Best of Both Worlds Tour landed in town with enough excitement to match the controversy that preceded it.

The star of the hit Disney Channel series "Hannah Montana," Cyrus was greeted by 16,160 fans, mostly girls her age and younger, plus accompanying parents who knew just how lucky they were to be there.

"I'm still disappointed it cost so much, but for a once-in-a-lifetime thing it seemed worth it," said Andy Medley, of Spooner, Wis., whose four seats with his wife and two daughters cost double their face value, about $120 apiece, from a ticket broker website.

As in all cities on the Montana/Cyrus tour, Sunday's tickets sold out in seconds and went back on sale in the hundreds (and even well over $1,000) via ticket brokers and online resale stores. The tour's ticket highjacking became national scuttlebutt, prompting investigations by four states' attorneys general and inciting a ruling last week in Los Angeles that bans a software used to rig Ticketmaster's website. (A spokesman for Lori Swanson, Minnesota's attorney general, said Sunday night that her office will be looking at the situation but has not started a formal investigation.)

Beat the brokers

A very small number of moms and dads did get extra lucky and in the end beat the brokers in Minneapolis, where ticket scalping was legalized statewide in August. Target Center's box office had scattered seats come and quickly go at random over the weekend.

Also, some assorted tickets sold for around face value ($64 and under) on Craigslist and eBay last-minute, plus there were random ticket-holders simply stuck with an extra ticket before the show.

"We gave it a last shot, and it worked," said Stacey Mulrooney, of Eagan, whose daughters, ages 11 and 13, took it upon themselves to search Craigslist on Sunday and found decent seats for $90 apiece. "I still think that's a lot, but they're so excited about it, I'm happy we're here."

But those stories were almost as unlikely as the one on Cyrus' Disney show, in which her character leads a dual life as a rock star and a regular schoolgirl.

You can bet there will at least be a lot of average girls going to school Monday morning feeling like rock stars.

"No question: We're her No. 1 fans," insisted Olivia Nillisen, who drove four hours with two of her fifth-grade girlfriends (and their moms) from Peace Lutheran School in Antigo, Wis. Each made her own collage sign for the concert and all are members of the Miley World fan club.

Some parents were still fuming over the fact that the fan club, which costs about $30 to join, did not help them beat scalpers. But the club worked for Joan Dagger, of Duluth, who got tickets for her daughter Kailee's 10th birthday.

"I'm soooo excited," said Kailee, who thinks Cyrus "is a good singer, and seems like she'd be a good friend."

There were still more complaints generated at the concert over the long, slow lines to get inside, with some fans still stuck outside in cold weather when opening act the Jonas Brothers went on around 7:10 p.m. Indeed, of all Target Center concerts, this seemed like one where security pat-downs and metal detectors wouldn't be necessary. Cyrus' handlers are strict in preventing video at the shows.

More to buy inside

Parents predictably faced more costs inside, where T-shirts and hats were selling for $30-$35 and posters for $15 (Mick Jagger-level prices, not Mickey Mouse).

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