'Weird Al' dazzles on Alpocalypse tour
Yankovic came into the audience to serenade female fans.
October 7th, 2011
04:21 PM ET

'Weird Al' dazzles on Alpocalypse tour

“Weird Al” Yankovic has gone through many looks and styles over the past 30 years, and in a single performance he can appear as a dozen people. But there is a core, essential Yankovic who fuels the energy behind all of spectacle and manages to change gears constantly while remaining timeless.

I caught Yankovic on the Alpocalypse tour in Atlanta on October 1, the same night that his Comedy Central special aired for the first time. He joked with the audience that they could have just stayed home and watched that show for free instead. To thank us, he had his drummer, Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz, play a couple of solos, the most well-received of which was a single beat, which was met with wild applause.

Yankovic opened the concert with “Polka Face,” from his “Alpocalypse” album, an amalgamation of hit pop songs that have been slightly reconfigured to fit a polka style. It was soon clear that he would not spend too long wearing any one outfit. For “Perform This Way,” he came out in a furry peacock costume as he deftly described all of the flamboyant ways Lady Gaga might get attention, such as covering herself with raw meat.

Although there were plenty of songs off the new album, he also threw in many old favorites such as “Amish Paradise,” for which he dressed in the traditional black suit with hat and beard, and “White and Nerdy,” which he began while riding a Segway. For “Fat,” he delighted the crowd with a fat suit.

Besides Yankovic’s talents for writing songs, his voice alone is powerful and virtually always on key, making beautiful harmonies with his backup singers. And boy, can he dance! For “Wanna B Ur Lovr,” he came out in a red-and-black zebra print suit and left the stage to dazzle individual female audience members with smooth hip moves.

Throughout the show, as Yankovic and his band changed costumes, we got to appreciate just how culturally influential this man really is. There were clips from “The Simpsons,” “Family Guy,” “Friends” and a bunch of other hit TV shows from throughout the years dropping his name. My favorite was “The Simpsons” clip in which Homer, dejectedly watching a cartoon version of Yankovic parody one of Homer’s songs, says “He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life.”

And of course there was Al TV. His fake MTV-style interviews, pairing Yankovic’s questions with answers swiped from older interviews with big-name celebrities to make it look like they were having a conversation, are always hilarious. Celine Deon, Justin Timberlake and Jessica Simpson were among his victims.

But nothing could top the finale, in which Stormtroopers, Darth Vader and Yankovic dressed as a Jedi swarmed the stage to sing “The Saga Begins,” a Star Wars-themed parody of “American Pie.” That led into “Yoda,” inspired by the Kinks’ “Lola.” And then Yankovic stopped singing, and this magical thing happened that I can’t really explain.

For two minutes, he and his band did a perfectly synchronized, choreographed chant at super-human speeds that made no sense but was incredible to watch. I had to do some digging to learn that this has become part of encore performances of “Yoda,” according to the fan site Al-Oholics Anonymous. And then, of course, they picked back up on the familiar "Yoda" song that everyone sang along with before leaving Yankovic's devoted fans for the evening.

All in all, if you have the opportunity to go see Weird Al perform, you should absolutely go!

Weird Al Yankovic continues touring the United States in October and November.

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Filed under: Fandom
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Munchma Qoochie

    I'm going to buy a floor mirror and see what's making all that noise.

    October 11, 2011 at 5:43 am |
  2. Scott Robinson

    My first concert ever to celebrate "graduating" Jr. High School. Way back when "In 3-D" came out. Absolute blast. His parodies taught me to listen to lyrics and appreciate music much more.

    October 11, 2011 at 2:40 am |
  3. Tanya

    I hope he tours in IN again, because I missed it last time.

    October 10, 2011 at 10:28 pm |
  4. Andrew Greeson

    Saw Al twice this weekend, Charlotte and Durham NC. I was one of the Stormtroopers on stage with him in Charlotte,great show massive energy and he was great. He came backstage after the show and spent about 20 minutes with us talking and doing pictures and autographs. Being on stage with him i can tell you for certain he was not lipsyncing anything.

    October 10, 2011 at 8:14 pm |
  5. Bryan breezy

    I met Weird Al a couple weeks ago Hes the Nicest performer ive ever met

    October 10, 2011 at 7:37 pm |
  6. LouieD

    "“Weird Al” Yankovic has gone through many looks and styles over the past 30 years"

    Stop the madness! He's had 2 looks, multiple costumes, and sings multiple styles of music. Sadly, he's also not as funny as he was 20 years ago.

    October 10, 2011 at 5:58 pm |
  7. Dale Doback

    My question.....Does Al have to pay a cover fee at his own concert? Does he enjoy stuff?

    October 10, 2011 at 5:26 pm |
    • Dale Doback

      But does he have to pay to get into own concerts? Anyone know?

      October 10, 2011 at 11:09 pm |
  8. Sperry

    "I've been a Weird Al perform since he first hit the airwaves...." WTH?

    I meant to say I've been a Weird Al FAN since he first hit the airwaves.

    Dang itchy Posting finger.

    October 10, 2011 at 5:18 pm |
  9. Sperry

    I've been a Weird Al perform since he first hit the airwaves with My Bologna (My Sharona) and Another One Rides the Bus (Another One Bites the Dust) on Dr. Demento's show. While I really appreciated his work, being an Allen Sherman and Spike Jones fan most of my life, I was astounded at his live performances.

    Al gives it his all. It is high energy from start to finish. Brilliantly planned and expertly executed.

    The last time he appeared in our area, it was gratifying to see all ages, from babes-in-arms to great grandparents all laughing and applauding, singing along, but most of all enjoying the show.

    Al is a wonder.

    October 10, 2011 at 5:16 pm |
  10. Andrew

    I saw this same show in Atlanta, and it was amazing. If you can see him – GO!

    October 10, 2011 at 4:56 pm |
  11. JimBoInPlano(Texas)

    "The Saga Begins" is genius pure and simple.

    October 10, 2011 at 4:35 pm |
  12. Drowlord

    Saw his show with my kids a couple weeks ago, and it was very fun. Al was very energetic.

    October 10, 2011 at 3:04 pm |
  13. Magill747

    I saw Al in concert about a week after his parents died (due to carbon monoxide poisoning). I thought the show would have been cancelled but it wasn't. Before the show a message was shown saying that Al's way of dealing with the tragedy was through performing, and that's why the show wasn't cancelled. It also said that he would grieve privately at a later date. He then came out and put on a great concert. He's been in the business for over 30 years. I hope he's around for many more.

    And if you haven't seen it, check out his movie "UHF". It came out around 1988. Just make sure your books aren't overdue at the library. Otherwise Conan the Librarian might get a bit upset.

    October 10, 2011 at 2:37 pm |
  14. f

    My German-American parents were big fans of Frankie Yankovic, a famous polka accordian player and NO relation to Al. Jus' sayin'.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:58 pm |
    • Scott Robinson

      It really is weird that two guys both named Yankovich, both accordion players, are in no way related.

      October 11, 2011 at 2:42 am |
      • David in Corpus

        Not really, the name says it all.... names tend to be related to regions and regions (in the old days at least) are usually very ethnocentristic.
        Go to Germany, Poland, etc. and you will see plenty of accordians.
        Come to South Texas and you will see plenty of hispanic surnamed people playing accordians due to the influx of German and Czech immigrants in Texas in the 1800's. The hispanics really took to the accordian and made Tejano music.
        Google: Ramon Ayala for a taste of the best Tejano has to offer. I recommend Tragos Amorgas for a starter.

        October 11, 2011 at 9:17 am |
  15. BK

    I saw Weird Al's show a few years ago when he came through Cincinnati. Of the all the concerts that I have been to, it was probably the best. I've been a life long fan of his since I was a kind back in the early 90's. Great stuff. Keep on going Al.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:55 pm |
  16. Yavin4Base

    I just caught the show last night in Durham, NC. It was, no hyperbole here, the best concert I have ever seen! He was energetic and engaging, no dial in here. The songs were catchy and fun, even the ones that I had no idea what they were a parody of… From a look back into the theater it was a sold out show and rightly so, as Weird Al spans generations. From kids to oldsters everyone had a great time. Big bucket of "Win" for Weird Al!!

    October 10, 2011 at 1:07 pm |
  17. Sara

    We went to his show last night in Durham NC, and it was pretty good. I do have to say, though... I watched the Comedy Central special, too, and parts of his performance last night sounded virtually identical to the one in the show. No out of breath moments (except towards the end of "Yoda"), every note dead on. I know he's a professional, and he's in good shape, but he's also 51 years old and I'd expect him to get out of breath every once in a while. Just thought that was odd.

    It was a lot of fun to watch, even though my knowledge of his catalog isn't all that up to date.

    October 10, 2011 at 1:06 pm |
    • Robert

      If you train for it for years and keep in shape, you can do amazing things.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:16 pm |
      • Sara

        While I do acknowledge your point, I'd like to say that I've had 30 years of practice at walking, and still quite haven't gotten the hang of it yet!

        October 10, 2011 at 1:23 pm |
    • LouieD

      Hate to say it, Sara, but he lip syncs his concerts. I saw him in concert several years ago and just watched the Alpocalypse DVD (which shows that the Alpocalypse Tour is virtually the same show as I saw in the early 2000s), and the lip syncing is pretty evident.

      October 10, 2011 at 6:02 pm |
      • Lorene

        I have been to over a dozen of his concerts, sitting on the front row at most of them, and I have been in the audience several times when Al came to serenade the lucky female fans. I can tell you that he does NOT lipsinc. Just the idea is crazy. He s a true perfectonist and professional, and he would not dream of performing half way for anyone. Get your facts straight LouieD!

        October 10, 2011 at 9:58 pm |
      • Sara

        There were definitely some songs he did live. I'm not in any way suggesting he lip-synced the entire concert. There were also some songs that were so similar to the version aired on the Comedy Central special that it just made me wonder.

        October 11, 2011 at 9:39 am |
      • DrSteggy

        I've had the pleasure of seeing Weird Al many times on this tour, and have been in the front row quite a bit, and I've seen no lip synching. In fact, you could hear him miss the high notes on one song in particular. Not sure what you think you're seeing.

        October 30, 2011 at 7:16 pm |
      • True

        It's true. He lipsyncs. I was in the front row last night. I love him, he's a great performer but he was lipsyncing about a quarter of the show. I can't imagine shredding your voice the way he does night after night, sometimes he has to rest it, I'm sure. In White and Nerdy he skipped some of the words and just said a couple in each phrase for a couple of lines right in front of me, yet the vocals were there. The guys didn't step up to the mics to do the refrain, yet the backup vocals were there as well. In another song, the bass player went to the piano and played, but there was still a bass line playing on a track. I've been a musician for 40 years and couldn't miss the tracking when he stepped in and out of some parts. On Craigslist, the heavier vocals were taped. It was really well done. No problem with me, he did do many of the vocals and was fabulous anyways. And it is his voice.

        August 13, 2012 at 12:02 pm |
  18. Squirrelygirl

    Al is simply one of the most underrated performers out there. He is bright, energentic and a real perfectionist in his music without resorting to off-color humor, drug references or crassness. I have seen tons of this shows, and would recommend him to anyone who enjoys a good time.

    Glad to see the reviewer "got it".

    October 10, 2011 at 12:09 pm |
  19. rexedie

    im glad to see Al back to work after the tragic loss of his parents.... that really hit him (as it would anyone)...... for an artist it can take the wind out of your sails.... He is brilliant.... too bad some of the posters here are such loosers...they cant say anything positive...

    October 10, 2011 at 12:05 pm |
  20. Kurt

    I have been to 8 concerts in my life – all of them Weird Al. This guy is so entertaining, I'm not sure I could enjoy another performer's/band's concert near as much (especially if they are as boring as the ones I've seen on TV).! If you haven't seen him, you're missing out one one of life's great gifts.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:41 am |
  21. Little feather

    I think that a lot of people doesn't appreciated talent. They just preferred to write ugly things about all in all PEOPLE, probably more talented than them selves ever could have!!!! But that's my opinion and that's that.

    October 10, 2011 at 11:07 am |
  22. Richard Fuller

    I always thought Al just copied Stanley Frieberg

    October 10, 2011 at 10:32 am |
    • Sperry

      Stan Freberg is one of a number of satirists and parodists of music going back to Mozart and probably before.

      Do you think all rock bands are copying the Rolling Stones, or the Doors? Or that all country singers are copying Tex Ritter or Hank Williams, Sr.?

      There may be similarities, but it is a genre that has many performers in it.

      October 10, 2011 at 5:28 pm |
  23. Gone

    Seriously, that's the best photo you could get? Weird Al sucks, but CNN – you suck longer and harder.

    October 10, 2011 at 9:21 am |
    • jo jo

      What a very nice thing to say. You are obviously a very happy person. Thank you so much for letting everyone share in your personality. Perhaps, you could write something longer , so we can enjoy your overwhelming intelligence ? Thanks !

      October 10, 2011 at 10:10 am |
  24. Woody

    I don't know about this tour, but I did see an Al show 6 years ago and it was an incredible show. His musical talents are sometimes overlooked and to put that together with his comedy and parody of modern life is very entertaining.

    October 10, 2011 at 9:21 am |
  25. Giggles

    Dumb!!!! Dumb!!!! Dumb!!! he should have stop this S#!t along time ago now enough is enough.

    October 9, 2011 at 7:27 am |
    • Anon

      Oh, don't like him or his music? Well, guess what? Nobody's forcing you to listen to it or even to read this article, for that matter! As long as Al wants to make music and as long as he has fans willing to pay (of which he has MANY, I promise you), he should keep it up.

      You may now proceed with having no life and commenting on things you don't even have an interest in.

      October 10, 2011 at 9:25 am |
    • Bubba

      When you realize that he pays, for example, Lady GaGa to use "Born This Way" and she approves it, you may like him better. He only parodies songs that are well-known enough to be recognized easily. He's not preying on the artists but handing them compliments. "I doubt Al was ever good live" He used to set fire to his accordion, Hendrix-style. He's funny as hell live. Either he was having an off night or you are a Bieber fan.

      October 10, 2011 at 1:54 pm |
  26. sonia

    I love weird al

    October 9, 2011 at 5:01 am |
  27. KajinPL

    Weird Al is awesome.

    October 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
  28. rancidmeatworm

    the chant was nonsensical but, part of it was simply in hawaiian. that song can be found anywhere. 'hoo-kee-lau'

    October 8, 2011 at 12:47 pm |
    • Synapse

      Brother or sister. A very insignificant point- but it's "hulilau"- Love your post name !

      October 10, 2011 at 9:41 am |
  29. Chris`

    I don't know what show the above reviewer saw, but all I can say is that Weird Al worker harder than any other live performer I've seen. We saw him in New Jersey, and his concert clocked in at close to 2 1/2 hours with no opening act. He did all his hits, changed costumes for every one of them (including a prosthetic "fat" suit), showed hilarious video clips, and closed with the aforementioned Star Wars tribute. An outstanding show, sharp-witted yet family friendly. Every penny was worth it.

    October 8, 2011 at 7:55 am |
  30. Lori

    I've taken my kids twice to see Weird Al, and he was fantastic both times! It's a great family show – highly recommended!

    October 8, 2011 at 12:06 am |
  31. Dagny Taggart

    It's clear the op either phoned this gig in or doesn't get out much, (or worse, has some vested interest in writing a bs review). I saw his show this week at the Hard Rock, all four of us thought it was pretty bad, and judging by the overwhelming and increasingly lacklustre response throughout, the audience did too. I doubt Al was ever good live – his kind of show doesn't make the transition from video easy, and now it's just fail. Save your cash.

    October 7, 2011 at 8:57 pm |
    • Sure

      Pretty clear that you weren't actually at a show. Nice try, though.

      October 10, 2011 at 11:01 pm |