Weird Al Yankovic Concert Review - Richmond, VA
By: Tony Christ
This was my third Weird Al concert. I’ve been a fan of his since before his Running with Scissors album debut. I was aware of him before that but didn’t start buying his albums until Running with Scissors debuted. This tour and the previous one were different from Weird Al’s previous ones since he’s no longer tied to a record deal. Mandatory Fun was the last album on his contract and now he’s touring for fun and experimenting with different things.
The show started at 7:30 pm with the Richmond Symphony Orchestra warming up. They warmed up with the Indiana Jones theme and the Mission Impossible TV show theme. Following the two songs, the orchestra leader announced an intermission that took 20 minutes. I was not a fan of that.
Following the break, the orchestra returned and played Beethoven’s 5th. Then the regular concert began with the usual “Fun Zone Theme” from the movie UHF. The previous two Weird Al concerts I’ve been to have started with this. It’s a good song to start since there’s no words until the end with “Hey! Hey! Hey!” being sung by the audience.
Weird Al was out next around 8:00 pm and did a medley of “I Lost on Jeopardy,” “I Love Rocky Road,” and “Like a Surgeon.” This was fun because he did it like a lounge singer. Think Bill Murray singing the theme to Star Wars from SNL back in the 1970s.
Following the medley, the concert got going. He sang “Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota,” a long song in the style of Harry Chapin’s Thirty Thousand Pounds of Bananas and Gordon Lightfoots’s Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald. Next was “Word Crimes” (Blurred Lines), which is one of my favorite songs off his most recent album Mandatory Fun. What’s great about Weird Al concerts is that there’s a big video screen that shows videos while Al sings. They played the music video for “Word Crimes” while Al sang. There are several easter eggs in the video, including an email written by George Newman, Al’s character’s name in UHF.
Following the song, Weird Al called for a drum solo. John “Bermuda” Schwartz, who’s been with Al since 1980, played one beat and that was the drum solo. Everyone laughed. The next songs were “Jurassic Park,” “Don’t Download This Song,” “Weasel Stomping Day” (June 31st, btw), and an acoustic version of “You Don’t Love Me Anymore.”
Weird Al then called for an oboe solo. Just like the drum solo, the orchestra’s oboe player played one note.
Following the oboe solo, they played “Tacky,” another song off of Mandatory Fun. This is one of his better songs. He sang this song and walked throughout the audience. It looked like he was making his way towards me, but unfortunately he went the opposite direction. He followed “Tacky” up with “Harvey the Wonder Hamster,” a short song about Weird Al’s pet hamster. His next song was “Jackson Park Express.” This is another longer song that isn’t usually played at concerts in full. It’s a style parody of Cat Stevens about a man riding the city bus. He sits across from a woman and misunderstands any and all gestures as an act of love.
Following this song, the band went off stage to get ready for their costume changes. The video screen played a number of videos from various movies and tv shows where Weird Al is mentioned. They included the Simpsons, Naked Gun, Family Guy, King of the Hill, Teen Titans Go!, Friends, and various others.
The band came out dressed like Nirvana and played “Smells Like Nirvana.” A great parody that supposedly Kurt Cobain enjoyed. His one concern about being parodied by Weird Al was that the song might be about food. Cobain also said that he felt Nirvana had “made it” when they parodied by Weird Al. More videos played before the band came out dressed like Devo for “Dare to Be Stupid.” They followed that up with “White and Nerdy” and “Amish Paradise.” Both of these songs are probably the most well known Weird Al songs.
This was the “end” of the concert. Al claimed that he was done and couldn’t go on. One of the roadies came out with a cape, like James Brown, and Al did an encore of The Saga Begins, a parody of American Pie that covers Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace from Obi Wan’s point of view. While the band was dressed like Jedis and the keyboardist was dressed as the Emperor, Stormtroopers, Empire pilots, and Darth Vader backed up Al. At the end of the song, Al puts his arm around Vader and says, “I guess I’ll train this boy.” The orchestra played the Star Wars Theme and then Al finished the concert with “Yoda.” This is a parody of Lola by the Kinks and explains Luke Skywalker’s relationship with Yoda from The Empire Strikes Back.
Overall the concert was a lot of fun. The orchestra intrigued me when I bought the tickets but they didn’t really add much to the show. Whatever sound they made was drowned out by Weird Al and the rest of the band.
Here’s the set list:
● Orchestra - Indiana Jones
● Orchestra - Mission Impossible
● Orchestra - Beethoven’s 5th
● Fun Zone
● I Lost on Jeopardy
● I Love Rocky Road
● Like a Surgeon
● Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota
● Word Crimes
● (Drum solo)
● Jurassic Park
● Don’t Download this Song
● Weasel Stomping Day
● You Don’t Love Me Anymore
● (Oboe solo)
● Harvey the Wonder Hamster
● Jackson Park Express
● Smells Like Nirvana
● Dare to be Stupid
● White and Nerdy
● Amish Paradise
● Encore - The Saga Begins
● Orchestra - Star Wars Theme
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