@ZackTeibloom I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Weird Al Yankovic headlining an Austin music festival. The 14 year-old me who went to record stores with listening stations and brought a stack of four Weird CD’s to the station was psyched. The music snob in me wondered if I could unironically wave my hands from side to side for “Amish Paradise” and really get into the novelty of it all.
Really, he’s a novelty act who has always been a novelty act and is quite self aware. Would he have mastered his live show due to repetition theory? (He’s played 1,000+ shows.) Or would he be more of the joke than in on the joke? (Sometimes it’s hard to tell, but his Behind The Music made it clear he knows his place.) Would it be like the Weird Al DVD I watched when I babysat a kid (who’s now a junior in college) with Al wearing an insane amount of costumes and bringing an embarrassing amount of energy to his audience full of little kids and their parents? Could Austin get into this?We really did. It was all those things I imagined, but there was no joke on Weird Al. He’s a showman. He knows how to string together his hits, hasn’t lost a step, his voice sounds great and his band is fun and supports him well. The show started with a “Polka Face” which had Al getting Weird on pretty much every monster pop song of the last couple years as a nice segue into his catalog of parodies. He slipped for a bit, introducing a number of new songs like “Whatever you Like” “Craigslist,” “Skipper Dan” and “CNR” which fell far below the stable of classics we could sing along to, but it was something else to see Al dressed as Jack White a week after I was him for Halloween. Al found his groove half an hour in and rode it for the rest of the show. Every song or two, he’d bolt backstage for one of his approximately 20 costume changes.
His 20 costume changes included the blond wig and torn jeans for Kurt Cobain”s “Smells Like Nirvana,” an amish beard and black suit for “Amish Paradise,” a Devo outfit, two Michael Jackson outfits (red leather jacket for “Eat It” and full fat suit with prosthetic make-up for “Fat”) a I <3 bacon t-shirt, a pink tutu, fishnets, a wankster outfit. The most absurd of all the outfits was having a member of the band come out in a Santa suit carrying a ho (the gardening tool) saying “Ho, Ho, Ho.” It didn’t even tie into any of the songs, but who cares? It was mildly entertaining.
When he’s making his 20+ costume changes, he has an arsenal of videos that basically string together his entire career recorded on film. Seriously, it must be a rule that every sitcom has to mention him in some way. There were dozens of them. And you know those Coors Light ads where they take video of coaches talking at a podium and insert there own audio so it sounds like the coaches are responding to their questions? Weird Al does that with mind numbing pop star interviews, only Al’s are actually funny. And he has a ton of them. Jessica Simpson, Eminem, Justin Timberlake, Madonna, Keith Richards, Celine Dion and Michael Stipe. They were about three minutes each. I’m telling you, there were a lot of costume changes.
Al fed the crowd exactly what they wanted and even delivered the Star Wars encore of “The Saga Begins” and “Yoda” they chanted for, flanked by storm troopers. At 51, he still has it. When the Weird get going, Polka!