07/20/18 - Forest Hills Stadium, Forest Hills, NY

2019 - Plus a full orchestra!

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Re: 07/20/18 - Forest Hills Stadium, Forest Hills, NY

Postby richegreen » Sun Jul 21, 2019 6:42 am

Tonight was my 22nd time seeing Weird Al live, and the first time this tour. I've been in self-quarantine from the forum, podcast, twitter and articles on this tour since it began in order to avoid spoilers, so I have a lot of catching up to do now. I did know the following facts going into the show tonight:

- The run time would be 90 minutes, since that's all they could budget for the orchestras each night

- The usual Star Wars encore was back, and Michael Jackson songs were gone

- Weasel Stomping Day would make its first appearance (that was spoiled on the podcast by Jim West long before the tour started) and Jurassic Park was on the set (not really a surprise since it's an orchestral one)

- There was a 20 minute opener. More on that below.

- Late breaking news was that Jackson Park was back, since one of my friends who went to the Foxwoods show got a page from the conductor score with that song. I was surprised to hear that, since from the way Al talked about that song on the Vanity tour, he didn't think general audiences could sit still for a 10 minute non-parody song about riding a bus, but I also know this one is close to Al's heart.

It was also a very hot day today. Not as hot as predicted, but I was still a bit worried going in. When I left my house around 4:30pm it actually didn't seem THAT bad out, and the seats I had which were towards the top but dead center actually worked out nicely, since there was a good breeze up there. My wife & I also stocked up on water before coming in. At one point during the show, Al said "is it just me, or is it a bit toasty in here?" so I don't know if the floor level was still getting hit bad.

I was expecting this 20 minute opener to just be the 5 of them performing some songs that didn't utilize the orchestra. I figured with the 90 minute limit on them, this would round it out to a 2 hour show and let Al fit in a couple extra songs. I was very surprised to see that it was actually the opposite - The Queens Symphony performing for 20 minutes without the band. They did 3 John Williams songs, which also struck me as odd. One song I could understand, but why not do some SYMPHONY music if they're trying to highlight the orchestra on their own?

I felt this show was very middle of the road. After the FABULOUS tour they did last year, I know it was gonna be hard for me to go back to a more traditional show, but I definitely have a preference now. Every single complaint I do have can be brushed off with "this show was all about playing with an orchestra" and I had to keep reminding myself this. Every aspect of this show was catered to having an orchestra on stage, and some of the usual things we'd expect from a Weird Al concert weren't there because of this. With that said, I still had a really fun time, and my wife (who is more of a casual fan) had a blast and said she liked it way more than the shows last year.

Orchestral Fun Zone was cool. I really liked the way it transitioned into the full band playing it live (and it was funny watching Al stand on the sidelines with nothing to do during it). What was less cool was that I was the only person in my section who sang along to the HEYS.

So it went right into remnants of the unplugged medley. That was an odd opener. I was betting on Tacky again, or something more orchestral like Spy Hard (which unfortunately never made an appearance). This was also regrettably the only medley for the night, as we wouldn't get a 20 minute extravaganza which is often the highlight of the show for me. I did hear somewhere that Al was gonna have backup singers on this tour, but it completely slipped my mind until I saw them come out. It was a nice touch giving them hats to go along with the costumed songs.

"It's great to be back in New York City. This place is known as the city that never sleeps. It's been called the big apple. Well I'm not gonna do a song about a giant apple, I'm gonna do a song about another giant attraction". Absolutely no surprise that Twine made it back into the set, since I knew it would be great with an orchestra. I've always loved the timpani on the "What was he trying to prove. who was he trying to impress" part and seeing it with live timpani was a highlight of tonight. Was also happy that I wasn't the only one singing along in my section. Had a couple of hardcores around me who knew the lyrics to everything (except Fun Zone).

Word Crimes!!!! Was not expecting this one. I didn't think it would really be a choice for an orchestra song. But it worked. Also good call on not doing a costume change for it. I really like how the first hour of the show had no video breaks and the only costume changes done by Al were covered with quick solos. It really kept the pace going well and reminded me of the shows back in the mid 90s where they didn't take a video break until after the Medley.

"This next one is for the ladies". Been a while since I've seen that smoking jacket and the full OMM act. First time my wife's seen it.

Jurassic Park was already spoiled to me, but it absolutely belonged in this setlist. I realize now that many of the jokes (especially in the video) are quite dated though. During the jam part, what was Al doing on the stool? In past performances, he used to sit down and read a newspaper, and then run back to the mic at the last second as if he was about to miss his cue.

Don't Download This Song was another one I was expecting to come back, since it works well with the orchestra. Lots of people waving their cell phone flashlights during it.

"I'd like to make a controversal statement now - I don't mind when people say Happy Holidays." (at this point I thought he was setting up for one of their Christmas songs. I never got to see Christmas At Ground Zero live, which was the first Weird Al song I ever heard, so I was hoping for that one) "But I would like to wish everyone a Happy Weasel Stomping Day!" Weasel Stomping Day making an appearance was already known to me so I should have seen it coming. What wasn't known was that they would form a chorus line and all wear viking helmets. Hilarious, and I was surprised how many people around me knew the lyrics to that one.

Tacky was unexpected. This one didn't seem to work with the orchestra, and they just did One More Minute so why do we need a second song with Al wandering into the crowd?

Harvey was introduced as being a song that they never played before, and Al wouldn't have wanted to play live until it could have been done properly with a full orchestra. This confused me because I could have sworn at my first show back in 1994 Al did a Harvey a capella sing along with the audience and then threw a fake hamster into the crowd at the end. There's a really cute animated video that went along with this performance.

Jackson Park worked real nice with the orchestra. Glad Al took another chance on it.

At this point, the show really took a 180. It would be the single costumed song followed by videos pattern that we all remember. Perhaps it was the heat rather than the pacing, but I mentally checked out at this point. From here on we had nothing new (aside from the orchestral and back up singer accompaniment) that hadn't been seen on previous tours. Nirvana was really strange with the orchestra (see, this is one of the songs that they should have done during a pre-set without the orchestra). Nice touch having the backup singers stand in as the cheerleaders!

Dare To Be Stupid, I knew this was coming. Quite a different arrangement with the orchestra. I gotta say, I really miss the "I still can't hear you" over and over that he used to do, along with forgetting the last verse during Nirvana.

White & Nerdy was expected, as the album recording has synthesized strings. Always a fun one to see live.

Amish Paradise was another one that we all knew would show up. It's never been one of my favorites of Al's though, and I usually get bored during it. I know that many people (my wife included) were first introduced to Al through this very song, so I understand why it stays in the setlists from tour to tour. What I really don't like is how it's been used to close the set. If Al's gonna do the James Brown thing with introducing the band and begging for more, why not do it with Living With A Hernia? That would have been a perfect choice to do with the orchestra and was one song I was expecting to make an appearance.

So we have the usual encore by the numbers, just with the orchestra this time. They sounded really good on these last two songs. The accordion FINALLY makes an appearance on Yoda. I kept wondering throughout the show when Al was gonna put it on? It's so bizarre to go nearly the entire show without the accordion. Also, no Yoda Chant??? Again, I know this tour is all about the orchestra, and the chant would have been a couple minutes where their presence would be wasted, but it just felt incomplete without it.

I gotta say, my complaints aside, it was really cool to see some of these songs done with a full orchestra and the 3 backup singers. This was something different, even if some of it felt like the same. It's not Al's fault, he and the band put on a fabulous performance and everyone went home happy. I think I'm just still spoiled from the Vanity tour....
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Re: 07/20/18 - Forest Hills Stadium, Forest Hills, NY

Postby YamiJess27 » Sun Jul 21, 2019 5:51 pm

Last night's show was definitely entertaining despite the extreme heat. It was nice to see some old favorites back like One More Minute, as well as newer things like Weasel Stomping Day!

Some of the songs worked great with the orchestra--stuff you'd expect like WSD and Amish Paradise, but also some stuff you wouldn't immediately think of like White and Nerdy. Other songs I found myself straining to hear what the orchestra was doing over Al's band and vocals. The background singers were a nice touch as well.

I thought opening with the (short) medley was weird. I always associate the medley with the middle of the set. It was a bit of a lackluster opening compared to other high-energy starters he's had like Tacky and Gump.

I did also enjoy the orchestra by itself before the show started. It was nice entertainment as people filed into their seats, got snacks, tried not to die of heatstroke, etc.

Seeing Jackson Park Express in all its glory was a highlight of my life. Another highlight was everyone having their phone flashlights out for so many songs (Don't Download This Song, Amish Paradise, Yoda). I kind of had a "wow, I'm getting old" moment when I realized my first several Al concerts people didn't even have cellphones/flashlights in their pockets. Everyone used lighters or bought little light-up lightsabers! I had to explain this to my kids and where this weird tradition of holding up cell phones came from.

On a more negative note, Al seems to really be struggling to hit the high notes at the end of Jurassic Park. That was a bit difficult to watch and I think he should try to do something about it, whether changing the key or going down an octave and letting the ladies hit the high notes. The only other negative thing I can say is that I sincerely missed his accordion which didn't make an appearance until Yoda!!! The accordion is part of what makes Weird Al weird, I hate seeing it so under-utilized!

ALl in ALl it was a nice (albeit short) show with some interesting new concepts and a lot of old familiar ones. Not the best Al show I've seen but still awesome. It was my children's second Al concert, their first being the last show of the Mandatory Tour at Radio City Music Hall (where Lin-Manuel Miranda made a guest appearance). They thought that that show was better, but I don't know if any show could ever top that one! I can't wait to see what Al comes up with next.
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7-20-19 Forest Hills Stadium, Queens, NY
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Re: 07/20/18 - Forest Hills Stadium, Forest Hills, NY

Postby Killingsworth » Sun Jul 21, 2019 9:20 pm

richegreen wrote:Jurassic Park was already spoiled to me, but it absolutely belonged in this setlist. I realize now that many of the jokes (especially in the video) are quite dated though. During the jam part, what was Al doing on the stool? In past performances, he used to sit down and read a newspaper, and then run back to the mic at the last second as if he was about to miss his cue.


Haven't been to a show yet myself but from the footage I've seen he appears to at first be having his face towelled off by a female roadie/assistant. Then, Hawkeye comes out with a large, frilly cocktail and a smartphone on a tray while the backup singers dance.

richegreen wrote:Tacky was unexpected. This one didn't seem to work with the orchestra, and they just did One More Minute so why do we need a second song with Al wandering into the crowd?


I've heard that Al is also performing You Don't Love Me Anymore on this tour but he is rotating it with OMM "every other show" so some shows on this tour only do have one "audience interaction song" in the setlist and some only have one.

I guess Al wanted to perform all three of these songs on this year's tour but decided he couldn't afford Tacky being one of the songs he skips since it was a highly successful parody from his first number one album.

This wouldn't be the first time that Al has had two "audience interaction songs" in his setlist. After all, he did perform both OMM & Wanna B Ur Lovr on the Poodle Hat tour. More recently, he performed both WBUL & Tacky on the Mandatory World Tour. He hasn't performed WBUL since, so I'm guessing that he may only be okay with two "audience interaction songs" in the same setlist if he is transitioning away from one of them for a while.

He already bought back OMM after having done just WBUL for 15 years and I personally hope OMM is going to make a more permanent comeback after a long absence in much the same way DTBS has recently. So, if he only has to have ONE of these songs in the setlist in the future I hope it's OMM and Tacky at least just transitions into a non-acoustic/non-unplugged style medley he's been consistently doing since the pre-MF touring era and WBUL stays retired for a little while longer (if he goes back to his standard style of touring whenever he goes back out on the road after this tour).
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Re: 07/20/18 - Forest Hills Stadium, Forest Hills, NY

Postby Teh Dingo » Mon Jul 22, 2019 6:22 pm

Killingsworth wrote:
richegreen wrote:Jurassic Park was already spoiled to me, but it absolutely belonged in this setlist. I realize now that many of the jokes (especially in the video) are quite dated though. During the jam part, what was Al doing on the stool? In past performances, he used to sit down and read a newspaper, and then run back to the mic at the last second as if he was about to miss his cue.


Haven't been to a show yet myself but from the footage I've seen he appears to at first be having his face towelled off by a female roadie/assistant. Then, Hawkeye comes out with a large, frilly cocktail and a smartphone on a tray while the backup singers dance.


This was such a great moment. Didn't have the best seats at my show, but I was right under one of the tvs so I saw it all. After checking the phone and taking a drink, Al jumps out of his chair when he realizes the music break is over and he has to go back to work

This was one of those moments where the crowd at my show added to the experience. The laughter slowly built as more and more people realized what was going on, and the audience was roaring by the end.
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Re: 07/20/18 - Forest Hills Stadium, Forest Hills, NY

Postby Muppetboy09 » Mon Jul 22, 2019 10:51 pm

YamiJess27 wrote:On a more negative note, Al seems to really be struggling to hit the high notes at the end of Jurassic Park. That was a bit difficult to watch and I think he should try to do something about it, whether changing the key or going down an octave and letting the ladies hit the high notes.

Personally, I think it has been getting consistently better. Some of the earlier shows he really struggled, but he seems to have found his groove. From the videos I've seen from this show, the high notes sounded pretty solid IMO
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