Dare to be Silly with ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic
To call Weird Al’s “Mandatory Fun” tour just a concert would be like saying Michael Jackson was a pretty good dancer. Al and his band nearly immerse you in an entertainment experience incomparable to others.
From the first notes of “Tacky,” a parody of Pharrell’s 2013 single “Happy”, with Al working through the crowd, the whole audience was craning and peeking over their neighbor’s shoulder for a first glimpse of the iconically flamboyant parody king, who has sold more than 12 million albums and won four Grammy Awards, while being nominated for 11 others.
The show features several hits from 2014’s “Mandatory Fun”, which debuted atop the Billboard 200, making it Al’s first No. 1 album. As a journalist, I’m partial to “Word Crimes” and think the video should be “mandatory” viewing in all high school English classes, as well as in the comment section of about half the Internet posts I see. With the expansive reach of social media in this decade, Al was able to release viral videos each day leading up to Mandatory’s debut. It also offers up plenty of nostalgia for longtime fans of our Weird leader, including “Dare to Be Stupid,” “Fat,” “Amish Paradise,” “Smells Like Nirvana,” “Like A Surgeon,” “Eat It” and “White and Nerdy.”
With nearly every song, Al and the band leave the stage and return with spot-on costume reproductions from videos of days past and various props, such as herbal tea for that one line in “Foil.” It really is a massive stage production and features more Easter Eggs than a Marvel superheroes movie, with various clips from Al’s career including appearances from “UHF,” “The Simpsons” “My Little Pony” and “The Goldbergs” that kept us thoroughly entertained in between set and costume changes. Blink and you’ll miss something.
Al also ventured into the audience once again during “Wanna B Ur Lovr” wearing the most fantastic suit ever created. He gyrated on several uncomfortable, yet lucky concert goers, to everyone else’s amusement. At 56 years old, Al has maintained his limber dance moves and somehow still has high kicks, defying gravity and reason.
Al is the star of the show, without a doubt, but he shares the honor with fans who have made his appearance close to that of “Rocky Horror Picture Show,” with fan interaction. You’ll see foil hats, Hawaiian shirts, DEVO-clad fanatics, daring to be stupid. Most of all, you’ll hear every word to every song, sang in unison, nearly at the same volume as that coming from the stage. The lighting and production value will rival that of your big name rock acts.
Al’s changes have been mandatory. His age is fractionally higher, his hair has lost its bounce, his mustache is now an empty lip, his glasses replaced with what I’m assuming are bionic eyes, but the experience is the same, or perhaps greater, than it was 20 years ago. Your mood will improve and you may leave with a higher level of midi-chlorians.
He’ll be in Indianapolis this week! Check his site at weirdal.com/tour for dates and times.