Concert Review: “Weird Al Yankovic’s “Return of Mandatory Fun Tour”

unnamedWeird Al Yankovic
Date: August 8th, 2016
Venue: Starlight Theater

Our Score: 5 out of 5 Stars

If there was ever music icon that demanded your undivided attention at a concert, it is Weird Al Yankovic. His performance is a full-sensory experience. Obviously it’s a visual and audible treat for those who show up in tin foil hats, polka pants, Amish attire, or whatever reference they can make to the musician’s 40-year career. But Weird Al incorporates more theatrics into one show than most bands do throughout an entire tour.

The concert begins via jumbotron, displaying crusty black and white propaganda video repeating the phrase, “Mandatory Fun”, the title of Weird Al’s last album. We then cut to Weird Al’s his tour bus where he appears singing “Tacky”. Shoving show extras out of his way and teasing the audience with what’s to come as he enters the Starlight seating area, he comically drifts to the stage through elaborate cheesy dance moves. It doesn’t take the comedy king of polka to bust out the accordion or the new songs that helped him land at #1 on the Billboard Top 40 last year.

Because each song parodies a song or specific style of a band, this is a concert requiring a costume change in between nearly every song during the two-hour show. In between songs like “Fat”, “White and Nerdy” and “Foil” are pieced together video clips highlighting the pop-culture relevance of Weird Al. Everything from his appearance in the “Naked Gun” movies to his vocal talents being utilized on contemporary cartoon favorites like “My Little Pony”. For fans old and new, the clips are a relentless sampling of his lengthy relevance and influence in society.

The seemingly one man show is joined on stage by his bandmates, who match his intensity, comedic timing and quirks. The madcap nature of Weird Al is matched by everyone, even the stage hands who have to awkwardly stand and hold a harmonica during “Ode to a Superhero” or the intentionally unenthusiastic cheerleaders during “Smells Like Nirvana”. The dedication to the surreal nature of it all reaches its peak during the encore. During “Yoda” the band stops playing their instruments and becomes a choir of cartoon sound effects and madcap a capella.

Every song played that night was a unique and unforgettable memory for fans, even the moments of parody medley. Weird Al spends a solid 15 minutes cramming in 10 shorted songs to better cram in his lengthy catalogue of memorable parodies to please every concertgoer. There are even a handful of songs that can be viewed as interactive, on the audiences end and Weird Al’s end. My review could have easily been a recap of every wonderfully joyous moment experienced in each song.

Having seen him live 15 years ago, it’s impressive to see the same energy, if not more. There are signs of age in that jester smile and silly grimace that he flashes, possibly worrying fans that he may be nearing the end of his rich career. I highly doubt the man who truly loves entertaining the nerdy masses is going to retire anytime soon. But on the off-chance he’s getting closer to hanging up the accordion, do yourself a favor and see him now, and often.

Set List:
Tacky
2.) Lame Claim to Fame
3.) Now That’s What I Call Polka!
4.) Perform This Way
5.) Dare to Be Stupid
6.) Fat
7.) First World Problems
8.) Foil
9.) Smells Like Nirvana
10.) Party in the CIA/ It’s All About the Pentiums/ Handy/ Bedrock Anthem/ Another One Rides the Bus/ Ode to a Superhero/ Gump/ Inactive/ eBay
11.) Canadian Idiot
12.) Wanna B Ur Lovr
13.) Eat It/ I Lost on Jeopardy/ I Love Rocky Road/ Like a Surgeon (Acoustic)
14.) White and Nerdy
15.) Word Crimes
16.) Amish Paradise
ENCORE
17.) We All Have Cellphones
18.) The Saga Begins
19.) Yoda

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