Tiffany and I and a few friends, including Ted, saw Weird Al Yankovic in concert last night at the Verizon Theater. It was the second time we'd seen Weird Al at that theater, the last time while he was on tour for his Running With Scissors album. As with the last show, we had a heck of a good time.
I suppose people either "get" Weird Al or they don't. Personally, I'm a big fan of funny songs and song parodies. Before the show, I said that there were any number of Weird Al parody songs that I preferred to the originals - in fact, there's quite a few where I can hardly listen to the original without hearing Al's voice. We all agreed with that sentiment, and admitted further that there were a few songs that Al had done where it was years before we'd ever even heard the original.
One of the (sadly, many) ways that I can tell that I'm depressingly far down the road of decrepitude is how unfamiliar I am with many of the hit pop songs that Al spoofs nowadays. I've usually heard of them - or at least, I've heard of the artists - but stuck as I am in my rut of demographically-appropriate radio stations, I've never actually heard them. Fortunately, though Al actually pays a lot of attention to little details (compare his "Smells Like Nirvana" video to the original some day and you'll see what I mean), understanding the subtle points is not a prerequisite to laughing at what he's doing. Anyone can enjoy "A Complicated Song" or "Pretty Fly For A Rabbi", and there's plenty of Al's own compositions to go along with them.
A Weird Al concert features more costume changes than Cher's this-time-I-mean-it farewell tour. Various video clips, including scenes from UHF, Al's various TV and movie cameos, and faux interviews conducted by Al with hilariously inarticulate and incoherent pop stars like Avril Lavigne, Justin Timberlake, Celine Dion, and Eminem, play during these interludes. Al lampoons a lot of rappers these days - Coolio ("Amish Paradise"), P-Diddy ("It's All About the Pentiums"), Nelly ("Trash Day"), and of course, the Real Slim Shady himself ("Couch Potato") - and he really gets into character when doing these songs. It probably says something about me that I like Al's versions but can't stand the originals, but I'd rather not explore what that may be.
Believe it or not, Al will be eligible for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame next year - his career officially started in 1979 with the release of "My Bologna", meaning his 25th year in the business is 2004. Al himself says "I think my chances of ever making it into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame are about as good as Milli Vanilliís", but I think he sells himself short. Any "novelty act" that's still going strong after a quarter century, never mind one that's permeated the pop culture lexicon as thoroughly as Al has, should be a first ballot shoo-in. I hope that when his next tour comes though town, he will have been so honored.
UPDATE: Greg Wythe was in attendance as well, and he liked what he saw, too. Wish I'd known beforehand that you were going to be there, Greg, but I missed your post yesterday about it. Sorry!Posted by Charles Kuffner on August 13, 2003 to Music | TrackBack