Concert Wows Fans

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Last night’s concert won over fans at the Alliant Energy Center Coliseum. The show had all the glitz and glamour we’ve come to love. Big video screens playing Lizzie McGuire and Cheaper by the Dozen (now that’s marketing!). Tons of merchandise.

She began the concert with an interview of herself as the all-American clean cut girl.

Why can’t we get enough of Hilary Duff? Because she’s into everything. A true cross-media mogul.

Part of Duff’s secret seems to be that since she’s doing so many things — movies, television and pop music — she doesn’t have to be particularly outstanding at any one of them. You’re impressed as much by her industriousness as her talent. I’m sure if she picked up a fourth gig as a cardiologist, she’d attack open heart surgery with the same chipper professionalism that she tackles everything else with, and her fellow doctors would be marveling, “Wow, she doesn’t lose many patients at all! And have you heard her sing?”

Hilary Duff – loved by teens. Adored in the media. Praised by parents. Nothing fake – no crazy dance moves or fake singing. True Duff. What more could we want?

So here’s all the lowdown on Hilary Duff and the concert that had thousands screaming for more:

As a disembodied voice counted down the minutes until Duff’s set began, the rising excitement level in the arena was palpable. Even the annoying commercials on the video screen (including the same gum ad shown four times) did little to temper the enthusiasm.

Then right on schedule, Duff appeared in a wreath of smoke and green laser lights, and the crowd went wild as “Wake Up” began. An energetic pop-rocker about the whirlwind life of a pop star is one of three new songs off the new album of the same name, which is otherwise a greatest-hits collection. That’s right, a pop singer who isn’t 18 yet already has a greatest-hits collection. Presumably, she’s waiting until she’s at least 20 to complete her memoirs.

But while Duff seems to come up with endlessly creative ways to separate her fans from their allowances, she did prove to be a high-energy, polished performer who really captures fans’ attention and doesn’t let go without a fight. While I recall the bulk of the audience at the last Madison shows by Britney Spears and Jessica Simpson standing slack-jawed, as if they were watching television, Duff kept people on their feet, dancing and singing for most of her 65-minute set plus encore. There were some slack moments, such as disposable pop such as “Hideaway” and “Underneath This Smile,” but overall the pulse rate of the show was faster than expected.

Duff seems to be trying to make a shift from bubble-gum pop queen to PG-rated rock girl, a transition that was actually more credible than you might think. Songs such as “Mr. James Dean” and “Break My Heart” relied on pounding drums and loud electric guitars, while the new song “Beat of My Heart” had a hypnotic club vibe. Duff doesn’t do choreographed dance moves, and she doesn’t lip-synch, two things that set her apart from a lot of her competition.