Saturday night was another packed house at Casino NB, another chance to cross an artist off my list that I’ve wanted to see since I was a teenager, and the potential of a highly entertaining evening. Getting the chance to see “Weird Al Yankovic” live is an experience I never thought I’d get to achieve. Walking in tonight was eye opening as there were a diverse bracket of ages from very young to ‘not so young’ filing in the door. Some decked out in their best ‘weird al’ outfits like orange blazers matched with lime green pants, a plethora of hawaian shirts, even saw some long curly hair.
Raised in Lynwood, California he released his first comedy song in 1976 and hasn’t looked back, he has sold more than 12 million albums, recorded more than 150 parody and original songs, and has performed more than 1,000 live shows. Since 1985 that’s earned him four Grammy Awards and a further 11 nominations, four gold records, and six platinum records in the United States.
Yankovic’s first top ten Billboard album (Straight Outta Lynwood) and single (“White & Nerdy”) were both released in 2006, which artist Chamillionaire said made his song “Ridin'” which it parodied, even more popular. His latest album, Mandatory Fun (2014), became his first number-one album on its debut week.
This was one of the times that I’ve seen the Casino NB’s “Centre” packed the most, extra seats added and a crowd that was buzzing for the start of the show. The ‘Prince of Polka’ was coming to regale us with his witty words, accordian laden music, and comical costume changes.
In an unorthodox way (who would expect anything less from Weird Al), the lights dimmed promptly at 8pm and the large video screen at the back of the stage came to life, the band launched and there was Al, in a very ‘loud’ outfit outside the Casino with a microphone. He then proceeded to sing his way around the outside of the building, past two random cheerleaders (local dancers Jen & Gretchen), in through a side door and made his way to the stage through the same entrance as the crowd. The crowd loved it, and roared when he entered the room and made his way through the crowd to the stage.
Interspersed in between almost every song were video montages on the giant screen at the back of the stage, some were new excerpts designed for this specific tour, others were clips from “AL TV” like the classic ‘interview’ with Eminem, from his guest appearances on tv shows like the Simpons, of these used to set up the coming songs. This was designed to allow the plethora of costume changes that are required at a Weird Al show, hey where else are you going to see a guy in a fluffy purple octopus suit with a smushed ice cream cone on his head, for Born This Way, or a tall thin man in a fat suit and make-up, for “Fat” (I’ve still maazed at how bloody fast he got into that Fat suit and makeup).
Yankovic was exceptionally interactive with his crowd, from the opening where he walked through the crowd to when he, dressed in his fire suit, walked through the crowd singing to the ladies and the crowd ate it up with high fives and attempted “selfies” with the entertainer. He rolled through classic songs like “White and Nerdy”, Mr. Yankovic I mus say rides a mean Segway, doing an acoustic Mashup (complete with dimmed lighting and a puffy white shirt) of “Eat It” and Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’, “Smells Like Nirvana” (where he was joined again by cheerleaders Jen & Gretchen on stage again), and one of his current parodies “Word Crimes” of the hit by Robin Thicke, ‘Blurred Lines’. One of the loudest ovations of the night was for the 1996 “Amish Paradise” which parodied the hit movie song by Coolio “Gangsters Paradise”. It amazed me how many of the words I still knew to this song, and I wasn’t alone, there were many in the crowd that were Weird Al afficianado’s witha chorus of voices singing alone from the crowd.
After over an hour and a half of zany costume changing, hilarious video montages and lyrical mysticism, Al introduced the band and thanked Moncton for a great night, but it wasn’t to end there.
The fan base was no more evident than during the cult hit “Yoda”, set to the Kinks “Lola”, which is since 1999 the classic ending of a Weird Al show, which it was the encore tonight, complete with a Darth Vader and dancing Storm Troopers (I’ve seen it all now, dancing Storm Troopers). This brought a roar from the crowd, a vigorous sing-a-long and thunderous applause.
One of my favourite shows that I’ve seen at Casino NB came to end almost two hours after it started and I even got to briefly meet a gracious and soft spoken Al backstage and speak with him briefly, which was a wonderful and unexpected pleasure. I’ve spoken to some who went to the show on a whim that said they were ‘shocked’ at the talent that Yankovic displays and how they were glad they chose to attend. This is a show I very highly recommend even for the moderate fan of his work, it’s a highly entertaining show ( I mean…dancing Storm Troopers, come on!).