“Weird Al” Yankovic made what I think was his first concert appearance in the Valley of the Sun last night at a surprisingly packed Dodge Theater. Having been a fan of his work from a very young age, I was a little concerned about how the concert would turn out since I was already familiar with all of his songs and, frankly, I figured that his fans would run the gamut of geek/freak stereotypes. I was worried that the concert might somehow detract from the persona I imagine from the well-produced albums, movie, and TV specials.
I now know that I had absolutely nothing to worry about. He is just as wacky onstage as I hoped. What’s more, he played several songs with which I was unfamiliar, including a hilarious parody of several Talking Heads’ songs called “Dog Eat Dog” that I honestly don’t remember ever hearing. He also played a concert-only parody of Celine Dion’s sappy “Heart Will Go On,” turning it into a song about pizza delivery.
Overall, the music and his stage antics were excellent but the real bonus for me personally was the fans. They were (largely) normal people who enjoy the comedy stylings of “Weird Al.” There were a few bizarre people—I’m talking to you, lightsaber-wielding freaks—but a surprising number of kids and females. This was practically unheard of when I was growing up: “Weird Al” was what you listened to instead of hanging out with girls. Yankovic’s songs are innocent even though they’re often scatological or macabre. I find it refreshing that today’s kids can still enjoy pure comedy and the skewering of pretentious musicians.
The other neat thing about the fans is that we knew all the lyrics to the songs and sung ourselves hoarse belting them out. My “Weird Al” fan life has been a rather solitary one, so it was nice to see people like me in one big space. It was a very memorable and inspiring event.