Monday, October 3, 2011
Weird Al Yankovic
Tonight's show was one that I had been anticipating for quite some time. Although I figured Weird Al at the Ryman probably wasn't going to knock my socks off, I knew it would be fun and unique, unlike anything I had seen before.
After acquiring a cheap ticket relatively quickly, I made my way inside and up to my usual perch in the balcony. I was relieved to see that on this night there was no opening act set up. Sometimes it's nice to not have to sit through a time filler before you get the goods. This development left me with ample time for people watching, which was great with such a colorful crowd. There were mom jeans and turtle necks galore, and weirdos from all ages. The wacky innocence from a crowd full of people who only go to about one show a year, and that show being Weird Al, made me feel like I was at a county fair in Topeka. They filed in brimming with youthful giddiness and handfuls of t-shirts, posters and popcorn.
The lights went down, and as I had quietly predicted, no one stood up. No one moved really. There was some polite applause, and a little yelling, but overall it was a very well behaved welcome. They launched into "Polka Face", a 2011 version of the "Polka Your Eyes Out" medley, with more recent parodies of Justin Beiber and Ladies Gaga and Antebellum, complete with bubbles and zoom whistles. There seemed to be a Nashville homer theme developing, with nods to Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, and even a jab at local hero Jack White.
While the songs, with their puns and silly rhymes were one thing, the stage production was quite another. Each number had costumes, wigs, and even some choreographed dance moves. The costume change time between songs was filled with filmed interviews with Pop celebs that were obviously edited for comedic appeal. "Al T.V." made Jessica Simpson, Madonna, and others look like idiots with clever questions and well timed cuts, and they also showed clips from just about every popular T.V. show in the past twenty years referencing Weird Al.
Every song was done all out. "Smells Like Nirvana" had the band members dressed just like the classic "Teen Spirit" video, and there were even a couple of grungy cheerleaders dancing around. After a complete "Amish Paradise" and a long medley of a half-a-dozen favorites, there was another Lady Gaga tune and a couple of hip-hop numbers that I didn't recognize before they ended with "Fat", complete with, you guessed it, the full fat suit. The encore started with eight Storm Troopers walking out on stage along with Darth Vader, and "The Saga Begins", the epic tale of the newer Star Wars films set to "American Pie". Then, as if to make full use of the characters, they finished with "Yoda", one of my favorite Al songs, about the little Jedi monster sung to the tune of "Lola". It was the perfect ending to a wild, wacky, wonderful, weird night.