It wasn’t the $39.50 tickets that somehow turned into $75 with fees and taxes. Or the hour-plus drive to and from Tacoma. Or the collective eardrum-piercing high-pitched screams from thousands of pre-teen girls. Or the wait to buy overpriced concert merchandise like a $10 glow stick (that should not have cost more than 25 cents.) Or the Walmart mannequins and banners lining the walls promoting the new Miley Cyrus clothing line. Or even the fashion booths (also Walmart) where moms and girls lined up their picture taken in front of a green screen next to Miley and other models wearing her new clothing line. No, no. I fully expected and embraced all of that.
The surprise was that the Miley/Disney/Walmart/Touchstone/ marketing machine took center stage on stage and passed for entertainment. Now, I know what you’re thinking… I’m in the business; nothing should shock me, right? Advertising is the new entertainment. But after having to suffer through the opening act (Metro Station, headed by Miley’s brother Trace Cyrus), the band closed with "Shake it" which also doubled as a…. Walmart advertisement. Every single video screen was devoted to promoting the Miley Cyrus clothing line as models danced on a runway showing off their new threads. Admittedly, the video was well produced and the song was catchy, but still. It’s an ad. On stage. Tacky.
That was just the beginning, the icebreaker if you will (incidentally, Miley herself opened up the show pounding inside a fake chunk of ice and then had a “Breakout” moment where she suddenly appeared amidst ‘fire’ and smoke—very This is Spinal Tap if you ask me but I digress…). Where was I? Oh right, back to the advertising-as-entertainment. Three or four songs into her performance, Miley paused for reflective moment. She told us about what a great summer she had on Tybee Island in Georgia: “It really gave me a chance to connect with people I love most in my life…” she said. “And now… to show you what I’m talking about, I’d like to show you a clip from my latest movie, The Last Song.” Really? We get to watch a movie trailer in the middle of a concert? Disney/Touchstone, you’ve reached a new low. I would like my money back! But wait—that's not all. Miley of course sang a few songs from the movie (the songs are not bad and Miley does truly have a lovely voice when she’s not screaming or violently flipping her hair). Perhaps the concert promoters thought we'd get bored if there wasn't enough going on on stage during one of her slow songs, so they played more movie clips while she sang. Why bother to go see the movie when you can see all the main scenes during the concert? Good grief.
I don't know, maybe I'm the only one who's bothered by this kind of insidious marketing. My 7 year-old daughter, her friend and the thousands of other little girls at the Tacoma Dome thought it was the best of both worlds.