Fans hoot at Weird Al at Shrine show
By JACI WEBB
Of The Gazette Staff
Imagine 1,500 or so people at the Shrine Auditorium chanting in unison "Yoda" to the Kinks' tune "Lola."
Now picture a scrawny white guy directing this misfit choir from the stage, and you have a smidgen of what it's like to live in Weird Al Yankovic's white and nerdy world.
Fans hooted the minute Yankovic stepped onto the stage Tuesday night at the Shrine, and they didn't quit howling until he strode off more than two hours later.
Just short of a sold-out show, the Shrine was packed with families like the Hintzes of Billings. Jim Hintz said he's been a Weird Al fan since the mid-1970s when he heard Yankovic on the "Dr. Demento" radio show. Yankovic started submitting his parodies to the radio show when he was still in high school.
"He's hilarious. I think 'White & Nerdy' is my current favorite," Hintz said.
Jasmine Hintz, 13, said she loves Yankovic's goofy costumes when he performs, especially when he dresses in his big black-rimmed hat for "Amish Paradise."
The crowd was boisterous throughout Yankovic's set, but responded loudest to his "The Saga Begins," a "Star Wars" themed parody to Don McLean's "American Pie." Dressed in a Jedi robe, Yankovic crooned the lyrics and, without asking, hundreds of members of the audience sang along, some waving their arms as if it were a revival.
In between songs, Yankovic's "Al TV" showed spoofs of star interviews, with dubbed in star responses from musicians he's parodied including Madonna and Eminem.
Yankovic displayed notable vocals, and he really can play that accordion as well as the harmonica, even when it's being held to his lips by a roadie. Yankovic surrounds himself with talented musicians who can capture the essence of memorable rock songs while he cuts loose with the jokes.
In some cases the parodies have outdistanced the original tunes, and for others, including two of his biggest, "Eat It" to Michael Jackson's "Beat It" and "Smells Like Nirvana" to Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit," the songs rival each other in popularity.
The show had that anything-can-happen vibe, and Yankovic cultivated it by jumping into the audience on one song, standing on a row of chairs and wiggling his rear end while he spoofed the role of a sleazy lounge act.
On another tune, $100 Yankovic bills dropped from the ceiling, and confetti and streamers were shot into the audience. White and nerdy? Yeah, but Yankovic is milking it for all it's worth.
Published on Wednesday, August 13, 2008.
Last modified on 8/13/2008 at 12:47 am
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