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Hannah bonanza
11,000 pack arena to see teen pop star

DULUTH - Tom Glavine and Toni Braxton couldn't even get in.

They called. They dropped their names. But neither star's clout could garner the hottest tickets in the Gwinnett Arena's history - Hannah Montana's "Best of Both Worlds Tour," an arena official said.

About 11,000 shrieking teens, toddlers and their parents weren't so unfortunate.

Starting at noon Wednesday, fans bedecked in homemade T-shirts and pop-star glitter lined up for the long-hyped 7 p.m. show. Procrastinators who missed the concert's $66 tickets at face value reportedly coughed up as much as $2,500 to see the Disney Channel star in the flesh.

Those left ticketless snaked the crowd. A teenager girl in a hooded vest whispered secretively, "Are you selling?" before moving on.

Megan Desousa, 13, of Alpharetta, waited at Publix to snag face-value tickets back in September.

"We love her and all, like we're big fans and everything, but I wouldn't spend that much money because it's not fair to people who've waited in line," said Desousa. "People who have more money can buy them like that (snaps)."

A Norcross mother who asked to remain anonymous paid $700 per ticket, she said.

In a Kroger parking lot across Sugarloaf Parkway, scalpers hawked tickets - even prime "lower level" seats, they claimed - for around $150 a pop.

A threat this week of widespread fake tickets never materialized into the massive snub some feared.

Arena spokesman Chris Hendley said by showtime he'd seen only one instance of bogus tickets - a mother who'd bought tickets on eBay and met the seller in a Bank of America parking lot.

Officials opened up a handful of limited-view seats in odd places, like behind the stage. Those tickets also were snatched up in minutes, Hendley said.

"We've never had any type of turnout like this," he said. "We've had the Eagles here, Bette Midler, Bob Dylan. There's not a single ticket left."

The demand even justified his turning down Glavine.

"It was before he was a Brave, though," said Hendley. "He was still a Met at the time."

Psyched to see Montana perform "One in a Million" and "Girl's Night Out," a handful of teenagers from Alpharetta held an impromptu pep rally near a merchandise booth (where T-shirts fetched up to $55). Their hand-painted sign "Keep On Rockin' Hannah - We Love You" certified their devotion.

Heather Perry, 9, fought traffic to get from Jefferson to her first concert. She also paid face value, after her friend's mom pulled No. 2 at a grocery store ticket lottery.

"She's pretty and she sings good," Perry explained of her idol, whose show she watches "every single day."

The Emmy-nominated series focuses on Miley Stewart - whose birth name is Miley Cyrus, 15, the daughter of '90s country star Billy Ray Cyrus - and has become something of a juggernaut for its young devotees.

The show documents Stewart's double-existence as a normal teenage girl by day who morphs into a superstar pop singer, Hannah Montana, by night.

The teen phenom debuted on the Disney Channel in March 2006 and now averages more than 4 million viewers per episode, the channel claims.

Lawrenceville mother Elizabeth Bell doesn't mind her daughter's obsession with Montana. That said, she would forbid her daughter Danielle, 13, from dating either of the Jonas Brothers - the night's opening act who teenagers routinely find "hot," she said.

"We're thrilled that there's someone they love who we completely approve of," said Bell. "It's a perfect 13-year-old's experience that they'll remember for the rest of their lives."