NAPA — A Weird Al Yankovic concert is a unique event that combines unbelievably clever comedic lyrics, costume changes, hilarious video clips and an amazing band. I’m pretty sure I’ve never rocked out and laughed my fool head off at the same show.
My wife and I saw Weird Al a few years ago at the state fair in Sacramento, but the cozy Uptown Theatre in Napa made it so much better because we could see all his facial expressions/contortions.
The show began with accordianized polka versions of several songs, including Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face,” Katy Perry’s “I Kissed a Girl” and others. I am old school and do not listen to much modern music and actually, my first exposure to many newer songs are when they are parodied by Al. I then go back and listen to the originals (and almost always prefer Al’s).
Between songs, video clips of Al’s television and movie appearances played on a large screen, as well as clips from “AL TV,” mock interviews with celebrities. Some of the funniest included one of Al becoming exasperated by how many times Eminem asked him “Nom sang?” (“Do you know what I’m saying?”) and “The Guy from Twilight” (Robert Pattinson) blathering on so long that Al yanked his hair out and tried to do himself in rather gruesomely with a knife.
Weird Al’s songs aren’t just parodies where he changes the lyrics, but also songs he does in the style of a particular artist or group. I’ve also become a fan of many of his originals. He included some in his set, including “You Make Me” (in the style of Oingo Boingo), “Skipper Dan” (in the style of Weezer) and “Craigslist” (in the style of The Doors). For the latter, he added the leather pants and spacey mannerisms of the late Lizard King, Jim Morrison.
One of my favorite Weird Al originals is from his latest album, 2011′s “Alpocalypse,” called “CNR.” The rockin’ number is in the style of The White Stripes and also parodies the Chuck Norris Facts phenomenon that attributes superhuman abilities to the martial artist/actor. In the song, Al attributes similar characteristics to campy actor/1970s game show guest Charles Nelson Reilly.
Al prowled all around the theater during the seductively suggestive original “Wanna B Ur Lovr,” wearing a tiger-striped suit and pants. He had the audience in stitches.
The inevitable medley graciously featured not just snippets of songs, but nice chunks of them and included: “Another Tattoo” (parody of “Nothin’ on You” by B.o.B feat. Bruno Mars), “I Want a New Duck” (parody of “I Want a New Drug” by Huey Lewis and the News) and “My Bologna” (parody of “My Sharona” by The Knack).
Al rolling onto the stage on his Segway started the wildly popular song “White & Nerdy” (parody of “Ridin’” by Chamillionaire) from his first top-10 album, 2006’s “Straight Outta Lynwood.”
Al closed out the show with “Fat,” his parody of Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” wearing the fat suit he also donned in the well-known video.
The band returned to the stage for the encore decked out in Jedi robes and performed the wildly popular “American Pie” parody, “The Saga Begins,” about “Stars Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” and the kid who “may be Vader someday later — now he’s just a small fry.”
“Yoda” (parody of “Lola” by The Kinks) closed the show and featured a sing-a-long of the chorus and an amazing a capella chant complete with synchronized movements that is best described as . . . well, actually it’s hard to describe. Better to Google “Yoda Chant” and watch the videos.
My only regret is that Weird Al did not perform one of my favorite originals, “Weasel Stomping Day,” about a holiday where celebrants put on hiking boots and Viking helmets, spread mayonnaise on their lawns and stomp rodents to death. Guess you can’t have everything.
Reach Fairfield writer Tony Wade at firstname.lastname@example.org.