They say that pop audiences want to see themselves when they gaze at a concert stage. They want to see their fears, fantasies, and experiences reflected right back at them, so they know they’re not alone.

I’m not so sure about the mirror thing. Personally, I don’t want to pay good money to watch a bald, out-of-shape dork up on stage sharing his daughter’s baby pictures with a sold-out arena audience, which is would it would be like to see myself in the spotlight.

But when you’re young and still in the process of defining who you want to be, pop-star identification is an intense thing, and that relationship doesn’t get any more intense these days than at a Hannah Montana concert.

Montana is coming to the AT&T Center on November 12, much to the delight of this city’s pubescent girls and the dismay of any spineless parent so afraid to say “no” — they’ll fork over $3,000 for a pair of tickets.

I feel a tad stupid referring to the touring performer as “Hannah Montana” because no such person exists. Hannah Montana is simply the name of a TV-show character played by 14-year-old Miley Cyrus (aka “Achy Breaky Heart: The Next Generation”). But Cyrus is actually performing “in character” for the first half of her concerts, which means putting on a platinum Hilary Duff wig and singing some bouncy, where-my-girls-at ditties, before taking a break, removing her Hilary Duff wig and singing some more bouncy, where-my-girls-at ditties - as Miley Cyrus.

It’s like Clark Kent racing into a phone booth and turning into Superman, so that he can catch a cab back to the Daily Planet and finish off Tuesday’s police blotter. What’s the point? Say what you want about pinup-era David Cassidy, but at least he had enough self-respect not to tour under the name Keith Partridge. Even in the world of pop-culture artifice, some things are sacred.


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