“Weird Al” Yankovic
Friday, August 22nd, 2008
Red Robinson Show Theatre
Coquitlam, BC Canada
***Live Review By Lord of The Wasteland
My first exposure to “Weird Al” Yankovic was in 1984. I was twelve years old and shopping at the Woolco store with my Mom when I saw the brightly-colored cover of Yankovic’s WEIRD AL YANKOVIC IN 3-D record (yes, LP!) on the shelves. I had just seen the video for “Eat It” a day earlier on MuchMusic and just had to hear more of what this curious-looking man had to offer.
Who would have thought that almost 25 years later, Woolco would be gone, I’d have two kids of my own and Yankovic would still be releasing his clever takes on popular music? In fact, Yankovic has never been more popular than he is today as he and his band recently toured Australia and New Zealand in support of the latest release, 2006’s STRAIGHT OUTTA LYNWOOD, which also hit Billboard’s Top 10 and was nominated for a pair of Grammy Awards. Not bad for a guy who has defied the fate of every other parody/novelty act along the way.
Taking in Yankovic’s live show for the first time, I was amazed at his unparalleled appeal. The crowd that filled up the nearly sold-out show (the first of two on back-to-back nights) consisted of families, young couples, middle-aged boomers and more than a few sightings of what appeared to be three generations having a night out together. For over two hours, Yankovic and his band kept the crowd’s eyes glued to the stage and the monitors that played hilarious fake interview clips (dubbed “Al TV”) and footage of Yankovic’s movie and television career during the speedy costume changeovers. Celebrities such as Celine Dion, Jessica Simpson, R.E.M.’s Michael Stipe, Paul McCartney, Mariah Carey and Avril Lavigne were let off fairly easily, but Yankovic pulled no punches in his “interviews” with Eminem and Kevin Federline, openly mocking their wigger personas and failed careers.
Yankovic’s stock in trade remains parodies of hit songs but his own originals are just as clever and with the added liberties of a live performance, the songs become even better. Whether donning a full-fledged fat suit for “Fat,” a Hasidic Jew outfit for “Pretty Fly For A Rabbi,” becoming a red-suited lounge lizard for “Wanna B Ur Lovr” or morphing into an unrecognizable version of himself for “Do I Creep You Out?”, Yankovic truly is a showman. “Canadian Idiot” got a huge response for obvious reasons, as did his massive hit “White & Nerdy.” Other highlights included the brilliant mix of “American Pie” and Star Wars for “The Saga Begins,” the video accompaniment for the painfully-detailed “Trapped In A Drive-Thru” and a short but hilarious version of “eBay.” A bubble machine added great Lawrence Welk-like ambience to “Polkarama!” and “Yanko-bucks” showered the crowd during “I’ll Sue Ya.” Of course, the crowd was more than happy to sing along to the choruses of “Yoda” and “Cell Phones,” while many seemed to enjoy getting sexually assaulted during “Wanna B Ur Lovr” and drawn along through every painstaking minute of “Albuquerque.” Musically, Yankovic is an underrated writer and is truly a lyrical genius. It gets tricky with so much going on visually to take in what he is saying but on gems like “Why Does This Always Happen To Me?” and “You’re Pitiful,” it is so important to listen what he is saying, as well.
A “Weird Al” Yankovic performance is truly a feast for the senses. The mind is stimulated, the funny bone tickled and an endless array of characters are set before the crowd. Great fun was had by all and as Yankovic’s touring cycle comes to a close for STRAIGHT OUTTA LYNWOOD, he is surely bursting with ideas for his next album already. Based on his current popularity, Yankovic’s career shows no sign of slowing down and, like the many other artists who shared wall space with him in 1984, he will surely outlast the current breed of one-hit wonders and flash-in-the-pans, as well.
Close But No Cigar
Why Does This Always Happen To Me?
It’s All About The Pentiums
Wanna B Ur Lovr
Do I Creep You Out?
I’m In Love With A Skipper
Confessions Part III
A Complicated Song
Ode To A Superhero
Pretty Fly For A Rabbi
Trapped In The Drive-Thru
I’ll Sue Ya
The Saga Begins
Smells Like Nirvana
White & Nerdy
***Thanks to Donnie at Great Canadian Casinos for the press pass.
“Weird Al” Yankovic—Official Site