Weird Al Yankovic at the Family Arena, 6/3/11
Weird Al Yankovic
As a youth, I can recall laughing helplessly while playing parodies like "Fat" and "Eat It" on my cassette deck. Back then, I never imagined that I'd one day be taking my own youngster to snicker at those very same songs at a Weird Al concert. It's a testament to his lasting appeal; the Family Arena was packed on Friday with fans aged eight to eighty. It's fairly obvious why his music draws such a wide audience - his comedy ranges from the juvenile to the remarkably clever, and it is accented by his penchant for the unexpected.
The concert began with a video montage of assorted media tomfoolery, followed by the man himself taking the stage to perform his latest polka medley: "Polka Face," from the upcoming album Alpocalypse, gives an accordion-ized makeover to top 40 tracks by Lady Gaga, Justin Beiber and Kid Cudi (to name a few). The video screen was put to good use during his many costume changes, distracting fans with clips of his various special appearances and references made to him in popular culture. One segment was a Funny or Die skit which featured Aaron Paul and Olivia Wilde in a fake movie trailer for a glamorized biopic of his life.
Al's quirky sense of humor always came across, even during breaks in the music. Early in the show, he yelled to the audience, "Are you ready to Rock?!?" The crowd answered with an emphatic "Yeah!!!" before Al fired back in a quieted tone, "I'm sorry to hear that. This next song's a ballad, it doesn't, really..."
A little later, Al broke out a more suave, R&B kind of style for his original track "I Wanna B Ur Lovr." With slicked-back hair and a red tiger-striped suit, Al made his way through the audience, wooing the ladies with plenty of pelvic gestures and silky-smooth lyrics like "Do you believe in love at first sight / or should I walk by again / My love for you is like diarrhea / I just can't hold it in!
The best costumes/props of the evening had to be when Al traversed the stage on a Segway while performing "White and Nerdy," and of course the infamous fat suit for the final track, "Fat" (which also featured a cameo by Santa). Al and his band closed out the performance with a Star Wars-themed encore, which included "The Saga Begins" and "Yoda."
The concert ran just over two hours, which was ample time for Weird Al to squeeze in his most popular records. A good time was had by all, and I recommend the experience to even the most casual of Weird Al fans. As a footnote: it was surprising to see how little Al has aged over the years --perhaps laughter really is the best medicine.