Thursday, September 09, 2004

Hilary & Haylie Duff

(White) Girl Power!
Key Arena, Seattle, WA

I enjoy seeing shows like this because they teach me what items of clothing I need to immediately discard. On the way in to the arena I see a girl wearing the EXACT same Nine West boots I own. Gone. Another wears a fuzzy belt that looks JUST like a sweater I have. Tossed. The only thing that truly motivates me to move on fashion-wise is seeing my clothing on an eight year old girl.

Tonight is mother-daughter bonding night. The crowd is 90% female, 50% under 13. The few dads and fewer boys are dragged around the arena by the squealing grrl contingent. The girls wear berets, sparkly eyeshadow, pink clothes, and tote in handmade signs. Some girls practice the moves from the videos while they wait for the show to start.

Haylie Duff opens (her shirts are $25, while Hilary's "boybeaters" are a hefty $30), and she is - wait - Haylie is OLDER? Oh. Poor thing. The girls around us don't know any of the words to her songs. Fortunately, the warm-up person got everyone all amped so the audience jumps, waves their glowsticks, and screams when instructed. Haylie is refreshingly clothed and not emaciated.

Using the high-octane observational powers granted to us by binoculars, we are able to see across the stadium to the executive moms and dads who have purchased seats in the luxury suites. One of the dads has the Mariners/Red Sox game on TV, and another dad two suites over is watching the New England/Indianapolis football game. At one point the mom in the baseball suite yanks on the dad's shirt to get him to pay attention to the show, and he shrugs her away.

During the break between Haylie and Hilary (cross-promo videos are shown on the big screen, followed by an ad for a razor. A RAZOR. WTF?), the ladies behind me say they are going out to get beer. Their daughters tease them about what beer THEY would like, which is cute, but then the moms actually quiz them on names of alcoholic drinks other than beer. The girls are like, nine.

Hilary arrives on stage, and the guy in front of me fires up the little camera in his phone and starts e-mailing pictures to people every 5 minutes or so. I notice that the dad to my left is text messaging his wife during the entire show. One message that I glimpse says "this is brutal - next time it's your turn." It isn't really brutal. He's just complaining. His daughter is having an awesome time.

My only beef with both Haylie and Hilary is that they fail to acknowledge (or even speak to) the crowd enough. They say "thanks you guys!" a lot, but there is no appreciation of the hand-made signs these girls have TOILED over all day. And when Hilary runs up a ramp to sing at the side of the arena, girls leap across aisles like particles to magnet to get closer to her. All they want is a wave from Hilary. A little sign that Hilary can see them all. But no. Here is where Hilary should go learn from some American Idols Live shows.

The moms here are interesting--some focus on rocking out enough so they forget that their own CDs have been gathering dust for ten years, and others focus on sharing this Special Moment with their daughters. Down front Hilary bends down and take the hand of a young girl for a moment. Girl turns joyously to mom and hugs her. Mom wipes tears from her eyes. It is quite lovely.

Hilary's songs are all anthemic, mostly non-suggestive, and you know, a lot of them DO rock. Everyone knows the words to the big ones. Cringing a bit, we are prepared to let slide her cover of "Our Lips Are Sealed," but we're ready to declare the end of the world when Hilary closes the show with "My Generation." That is, until a mom next to us (hi mom!) tells us that her husband LOVES The Who and that her daughter listens to them all the time. The girl is wearing a Hilary-like mesh arm-warmer thing and is still singing the lyrics to Generation. She knows the original. All is forgiven. Hilary is love.


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