OC Memories

All about Weird Al's concerts and other live appearances.

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Re: OC Fair Memoir -- very very long

Post by weird_el »

Reliving the memory -- 10 years on.
weird_el wrote:OC Fair Memoir -- July 22-26, 2002

MONDAY: Now the REAL fun begins! We (my friend Rachael and I) arrived in Costa Mesa mid-morning and were able to check-in early. We ran into SquirrelyGirl (Linda) and Cinnamon there. It was very nice to meet them both. Since it was "food-drive" day at the fair Cinnamon brought many bags of canned food for us to use for general fair admission. Each bag had a can of Spam. That was a very generous and thoughtful thing for her to do -- thanks Cinn. We all headed straight for the fair to see the Al Experience. WOW! It was a wonderful and amazing thing. I spent over an hour going through it. My favorite things were Al's first accordion and the original lyric to "Another One Rides The Bus." There was an edit on the lyric. Al crossed out "yeah" and added "look out!" -- makes all the difference, don't cha think? I played the Al trivia game and got 10/10, but only because I took a wild guess that Orson Welles was supposed the be the original narrator for the Compleat Al. We were lucky to get there early enough when all the costumes were still on display. They got taken out everyday and replaced with large photographs (mostly taken by Fred), so Al could wear them in the shows. That afternoon we could hear the sound check. Al didn't sing anything, but we could hear the band play. I heard something that sounded like UHF. I would have loved to have heard that in the show, but I was very pleased with the final setlist.

After a brief time back at the hotel to get freshened up, we returned to the fair and the Al Experience. This time we met UHJeff and Jay Levey. Jay was so easy to talk to and very nice to us. I congratulated him on the brilliant job he and Al did on the UHF DVD. When it was time for Dr Demento to start we went out to the arena main gate and connected with Cid, Kevin, Nan, Maria, Fred and Carole G. It was really great to meet Cid and Carole, and see everyone else again. I got chance to say "hi" to Dr Demento before he started his show. He kept us all entertained with the mad music and crazy comedy until the arena gates opened. We found our seats and were delighted that they were 2nd row center.

I spotted Nick and Mary in the audience, and Rachael and I went over to meet them. They're very nice, especially Nick. He's a very warm and gregarious guy. I took his hand to greet him and he held mine for the entire duration of our conversation. I asked him what his favorite song of Al's was. He said "there are so many" he consulted with Mary and the other relatives there. "What's that song of Alfred's that we like?" Nick finally decided it was the one "where Al comes into the audience and gives scarves to women." I told him Al did that for me the first time I saw him, and that it's my favorite song of his too.

Nick introduced Al on Monday. It was a photo opportunity I'm sorry I missed. He was wearing the Al-asaurus t-shirt from the Alapalooza tour. At long last the opening notes of FUN ZONE -- YAY! Opening video montage of old TV clips, ads, etc. There was a Quisp ad, several science fiction clips and it wrapped up with several TV hosts saying "Weird Al" Yankovic!" As has been widely publicized already, Miles Jay subbed for Steve on bass. Steve was there though as a guitar and sound tech. Al opened with YOUR HOROSCOPE FOR TODAY, and he was wearing that beautiful shirt he wears in the ALA READ poster. He followed that with PARTY AT THE LEPER COLONY, a new song (style parody like Willie and the Hand Jive). Lots of great bad jokes about body parts falling off. My favorite lines: "There's a guy in the hot tub, I don't know who . . . Wait a minute, it looks like Stu [Stew]" A pun so bad it's good! PENTIUMS was still there and still brilliant, and it was followed by the next surprise of the evening MELANIE. ONE MORE MINUTE followed and Al went into the audience as usual, but he didn't sit on anyone's lap. Carole G got the boxers. WTG, Carole! I love it when that stuff happens to people I know. PARODIES MEDLEY came next. Some nice changes there. New additions included ROCKY XIII, MY BOLOGNA, LASAGNA, GUMP, and JERRY SPRINGER. It should be noted here that when Al started the concert he had a mustache and a goatee, but he had shaved both off in the break after the Medley. DOG EAT DOG followed with Al in the big white suit. Over the course of the week it became the concensus that this was the highlight of the show. The show then took a turn for the familiar and Al wrapped up the set with NIRVANA, BEDROCK ANTHEM, AMISH PARADISE and FAT. SAGA BEGINS and YODA are still the encore and as glorious as I remember them. YODA was the only song that featured the bubble machine (No polkas this tour). The chant hasn't changed, but I sure was impressed that Miles kept up with Al and Jim. It was great to see UHF clips in the video portions of the show. Looks like Al no longer has to "cease and desist." My favorite clips though were one of Al conducting a youth orchestra in a very agile and animated way, and the MTV "Unplugged" Promos. They were one of my favorite things about Alcon and it was great to see them again.

After the show I met Miles and I congratulated him on the fabulous job he did. Yes, he's very tall and cute. Steve came by as well and I got meet him and wish him well in his recovery. I also finally got a chance to say "hi" to Jim.

TUESDAY: I woke up Tuesday morning thinking that Al must be the luckiest man alive. He's smart, successful, famous (but not so much as to be harassed by tabloids), he's got a great wife (I met Suzanne at Alcon), wonderful supportive parents, a fabulous manager, very talented musicians in his band, and some of the best fans in the world. Al's picture should be next to the word "blessed" in the dictionary.

Rachael and I went over to Cid's that afternoon and watched people eat twinkie weiner sandwiches. That's one Al fan thing I just can't bring myself to do. EEW! I got my Monday pics developed and it gave me a better idea on which songs I needed to shoot more for the 2nd show. We had front row seats for this one, so I brought a lot more film. At the fair we headed back to the Al Experience and talked to UHJeff and Jay some more. Jay told us to track him down after the show and that he'd get us backstage to meet Al. What a guy!

So, we were in the front row for this one -- what a difference (even from the 2nd row). Rachael and I got lots of eye contact from Al during PENTIUMS and MELANIE. It felt like he was flirting with us. Very nice! Probably my favorite concert moment of the week.

After the show we tried to find Jay, but he was no where to be found. We asked Steve to find him for us. It took some convincing but he did go back and find Jay to confirm it. Jay did, but by the time we got back there the meet and greet was over and Al was ready to leave. Suzanne was already in the limo. We looked in to say hi and she remembered Rachael from her Glo-Stix, so she came out to greet us. When I finally saw Al, I took his hands and said "I met your parents yesterday, I really like them." And in his exhuberant way, Al said "I really like 'em too!" Rachael and I were able to get nice Al hugs and a couple photo ops, so the evening ended in the best possible way. I gave Jay a big thank you hug on my way out. Don't worry, I didn't break him :).

WEDNESDAY: Wednesday morning I met Debbie and Anthony (in from Indiana), but most of the day was spent going up to Hollywood for lunch at Real Food Daily with Rachael, Carole and Fred. We chose it because it's one of Al's favorite restaurants. I'm not a vegatarian, but I love the cooking. I had a great portabella sandwich on an onion roll with sweet peppers and sauteed onions. I highly recommend this place for anyone visiting LA. We drove by Al's old place on Hollywood Boulevard, and we tried to keep a low profile in Carole's car with the big Al pics in the windows :) We went down Sunset, passed the Capital Records Building and the illustrious headquarters of Close Personal Friends of Al. We got back to Costa Mesa just in time to pick up our Tuesday pics (including backstage with Al) and freshen up for the evening. We stopped by the Al Experience again and hung out with friends at the Dr Demento booth.

For this show I had a 2nd row aisle seat, but alas, during OMM Al went down the other aisle :( I had a better view of the video screens this time, but I was still more interested in watching the action on stage. Apparently Al split his pants up the left inseam during one of the high kicks in the Parodies Medley. I didn't even know it happened until people told me after the show. The incident didn't phase him at all, and I never even knew the difference. After the concert we all stood between the stage and the main gate waiting for any word whether or not Al could do an autograph line. Big Mike the security guy kept us entertained while we were waiting. Miles and Steve signed stuff for people -- as they did every night. Al couldn't do an autograph line, so we all just went home. This concert was great too, but I didn't feel the same elation I felt after the Monday and Tuesday shows.

THURSDAY: It was Lynwood Field Trip day. We had wanted to visit more Al sites in Culver City and Santa Monica, but there were coordination problems between the 5 cars and lots of time constraints, so we ended up just doing the important stuff in Lynwood. We all had a picnic lunch at a park across from Al's Middle School where we posed for group pics and met up with Frank Sanchez. Frank went to school with Al, and his brother Vince is one of Al's friends from back then (Vince is featured in Driven). Frank brought us over to Al's old high school and got the OK from the principal for us to look around inside. We posed for Volcano Worshipper pics in the courtyard and saw the Gym where Al first met Dr Demento. Dr D gave a presentation there back in 1973. We walked over to Al's family home. It's a nice little salmon-colored house on the corner across from the high school. On our way out of Lynwood we passed through Compton (shudder). I must say though, that west coast 'hoods are much less intimidating than east coast 'hoods. Don't tell Coolio.

After returning to the fair, we went to the usual meeting place and I met the fabulous Beth (Jersey Bunny). What a wonderful personality she has. Diva (Nan) had extra front row tickets, so Rachael and I got a great upgrade from the 6th row. Big Thanks to Nan!! It makes such a huge difference. So, another night front and center for Al. YAY! Between this and the show on Tuesday, these were my favorites. I got most of my best pics from this show including my favorite -- Al looking directly at me during Melanie. Out of all the nights I think Thursday and Friday had the most well-traveled hard-core fans in the audience. Al must have known because he put on a more high energy performance and it was probably for this reason Al could arrange an autograph line after the show. The line moved quickly, but everyone who stayed got some quality time with Al. I told him how much I've been enjoying the shows and he said something about them being all the same. I think it amazes him that that's not even an issue for us, we come because we love him. I got my backstage pic signed and got another photo op with Al. This one didn't turn out as well -- it looks like I'm hiding in his hair.

We met with the other Al Gals in attendance and got some nice group pics with Kevin (Al's lookalike) laying across the laps of the gals in the front row. We had hoped to visit the Al Experience again before we left for the night, but they closed it early. As we were all standing around Big Mike came out from the main gate and we all said "Hi Mike" then Al comes out from behind him and said "Sure, don't say 'hi' to me :( !" Needless to say we all gave him a very enthusiastic "HI AL!" I got to see Suzanne again and was lucky to get a quick photo op with her. Turns out they closed the Al Experience early because Al and Suzanne wanted to visit it.

FRIDAY: I went to Knott's Berry Farm with Debbie and her family. Rachael stayed in Costa Mesa -- by Friday morning, she had blisters on her feet, bad sunburn and no voice left. I haven't been on a roller coaster in 11 years and it was great fun to feel that particular exhiliration again (although the high after an Al concert is still better). Taralyn came in that day from Virginia for the last 2 Al shows and met us at the park. Lines being what they were we only had time for 3 roller coasters and no time at all for the water park. We passed the stage where Al did some of his earliest shows -- everything I did that week had some kind of Al connection somewhere. It was great fun and I'm glad I went. We stopped for a late lunch at a good burger place and that was only the 4th real meal I had that whole week. I mainly just sustained myself with snacks. Food and sleep were just not priorities on this vacation.

We got back to the fair and met with everyone at the Al Experience/Dr Demento booth. Before the shows we talked to Kim the security guard and she told us that both shows would be full-length. The experience had been so rewarding for Al that he didn't want to cheat anyone by performing shorter shows. What a swell guy! The first show was great -- 2nd row center. There were about 4 unclaimed seats next to us, so we moved down once or twice to get better pics of stuff. Now it says on weirdal.com that Miles is about the same size as Steve so all the costumes fit him, but it apparently wasn't in the budget for a brown Amish beard, so he wore Steve's blond one every night. Looked kinda silly, but Miles is a total professional. I used up my very last roll of film at the first show, so for the 2nd show (for the only time all week) I took no pics at all. I just enjoyed each song to its fullest and finally got to see the whole thing without spending any time looking through a view finder. It was also great being surrounded by enthusiastic friends/fans Taralyn, Rachael, Nan, Sally, and Beth -- added a lot of energy to the experience. Every show was brilliant. Al must be so pleased. I'm more impressed with him now than I ever was. Every Al-related experience I've ever had always exceeds my expectations. When I left work on the Friday before, I left an away message "I'm out in a utopian parallel universe, I'll be back on the 29th." Turned out I was wrong -- it was better!

I said my goodbyes to some of the people at the fair, but a bunch of us went over to Kevin's karaoke bar and thoroughly enjoyed his performance of Pentiums. It was a nice end to an overwhelming week of fun. It was sad to say goodbye to everyone, but I got to meet some extraordinary people there. Made new friends, saw old ones. It was great in every way and probably the best vacation I've ever had. My biggest thank yous must go to Al, Rachael, Nan, Cid/Kevin, Steve/Jay L, Beth, Carole and Linda. I hope I'll be able to remember it through senility. You guys rock, polka and rule!

A brief word about the flight home -- flying over Indiana or Michigan we got to see the spectacular light show of a severe thunderstorm about 60 miles to the north. I've never seen anything like it before -- quite phenomenal.

When I arrived back at work on Monday one of my coworkers remarked that I was glowing like I just met a really special guy -- well yeah! Al!


This is my 500th post, reminiscing is a good way to celebrate it.


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OC Memories

Post by minnick27 »

Haha, you used film cameras
Talking about music is like fishing about architecture- FZ

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Re: OC Memories

Post by YankoSwag 8888 »

1. Your Horoscope For Today
2. Party At The Leper Colony
3. Melanie
4. One More Minute
5. it's All About The Pentiums
6. Dog Eat Dog
7. Medley:
1. Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies
2. Jerry Springer
3. Jurassic Park
4. Free Delivery
5. Theme From Rocky XIII
6. Lasagna
7. Pretty Fly For A Rabbi
8. My Bologna
9. Gump
10. Eat It

8. Like A Surgeon
9. Smells Like Nirvana
10. Bedrock Anthem
11. Amish Paradise
12. Fat
13. The Saga Begins
14. Yoda

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