Monday, August 22, 2016

Concert Review: "Weird Al" Yankovic at the State Theatre

Promotional image for "Weird Al" Yankovic's Mandatory World Tour, 2016.

On Friday night “Weird Al” Yankovic brought his accordion and his “Mandatory World Tour” to the State Theatre in Minneapolis for nearly two hours of musical parodies. Since Weird Al released his first album in 1983, he’s carved out a unique career as America’s favorite writer of musical parodies, and ironically enough, his career has outlasted some of the artists that he’s parodied. 

As a child of the 1980’s, I’ve been aware of Weird Al’s music for a long time, but it’s only in the last couple of years that I’ve seriously listened to him. What impresses me the most is the cleverness of Yankovic’s lyrics. One of his most brilliant songs is 2014’s “Word Crimes,” a parody of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” which details the many grammar errors that people make. 

In concert, Weird Al puts on a great show, with many costume changes and a projection screen that shows clips from his career. Unfortunately, our seats were on the side, so I couldn’t actually see the entire projection screen, so some of that was lost on me. Oh well, note to self for next time. 

The energy that Weird Al puts into his performances was felt by everyone in the State Theatre, and it was extremely fun to be a part of a crowd that is as fanatical as Weird Al’s audience is. The crowd was really into the show, and Weird Al sometimes made them a part of the show, as when he made his entrance through the crowd singing “Tacky,” his parody of “Happy.” 

The setlist encompassed Yankovic’s entire career, from his early 1980’s hits like “Beat It” and “I Love Rocky Road" to many songs from 2014’s Number One album Mandatory Fun, like “Foil” and “Lame Claim to Fame.” 

One of the great things about Weird Al is that his humor is family friendly, and I saw lots of little kids in the audience, which means yet another generation of listeners will appreciate Weird Al’s witty songs. From everything I’ve ever read or heard about Weird Al, it sounds like he’s really one of the nicest people in show business, and it’s great to see the success he’s had over the last few years. 

Even if you’re only a casual fan of Weird Al, you should really go and see him in concert. He’s a lot of fun, as expected.

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