The Geeks are Taking Over

A concert review
by Chris Hibbard
The Meliorist

The Geeks Are Taking Over

What kind of a concert starts at the exact time that it is supposed to, according to the ticket? A Weird Al Yankovic concert – that’s what kind! Right from the very beginning, I knew I was in for something unique, something special.

Anyone who has been alive in North America in the last 30 years is probably familiar with Weird Al. He has released approximately 15 albums over the last three decades – all of which re-present current radio singles, skewed for humour’s sake – along with numerous original polka medleys. Weird Al has been playing the accordion since he was a pre-teen.) He has also hijacked and commandeered MTV and MuchMusic numerous times over the years, during which he “interviewed” celebrities, frolicked with a hamster, and played his favourite wacky videos. Lest we forget his full-length feature film, UHF, which never came close to winning any awards – but is now a cult classic.

My personal introduction to Weird Al came with the cassette tape Even Worse, featuring the song Stuck in a Closet with Vanna White – a song which my elementary school buddies and I chose to recreate in our air-band talent show entry. But I digress.

Last Thursday night, Weird Al and crew delighted a half-full Enmax Centre with hit after pseudo-hit. A crowd of all ages, seniors to post-sec students to toddlers – sang and bounced and laughed along to dozens of Weird Al classics.

At 7:30 sharp, master parody-artist Weird Al and his band of middle-aged rockers (guitar, bass, drums, and keyboards) kicked into Canadian Idiot – a faithful rendition of the Green Day hit, lyrics changed accordingly of course. In the following two hours, Yankovic played “All About the Pentiums”, a rip on a P-Diddy hit, with the whole band dressed in white Miami Vice-style leisure suits. He played “You’re Pitiful” – a take on James Blunt’s piano ballad – while removing layer after layer of clothing until he was singing the final chorus wearing only a Spongebob t-shirts, boxer shorts with hearts on them and a pink tutu.

He belted out a killer medley, consisting of his parodies of Eminem, Gilligan’s Island, Billy Joel, the Chili Peppers, The Offspring and more.

I could go on in detail for another 500 words – but let’s just say that he played ‘em all – all except for Stuck in a Closet with Vanna White that is. Nevertheless, it needs to be said that this was not your average concert experience.

This was a full-on two-and-a-half hour musical comedy extravanganza. Three huge video screens broke up each set with ALTV interviews and cartoons, streamers fell from the ceiling at one point, and Weird Al danced like he was in the throes of a grand mal seizure.

Even though the Enmax Centre reeked of deep-fryer smoke and there was only one animated audience member brave enough to get up and dance by himself, this show had something for everyone: a rendition of “Fat” complete with a huge obesity suit, “Smells Like Nirvana” – complete with grunge wigs and dancing cheerleaders; a four-second drum solo, and video interviews that made the interviewee celebrities look absolutely ridiculous.

With my cheeks hurting and my sides burning, by the time the band had wrapped up Amish Paradise, I didn’t think I could take any more. But I could. I held on through an inspired African-style acapella tune (in which Al encouraged the crowd to sing along to lyrics that were wholly unintelligible) and two songs decked out in full-on Jedi Knight robes.

I am proud to say that the hundreds of geeks in attendance at Weird Al’s first Lethbridge appearance were not let down in the least. Especially this one. Sure my tickets to the show happened to be free, but they were worth every last penny.

~ by Chris Hibbard on October 31, 2008.

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