This past weekend, the legendary musician/parody artist and his impossibly capable backing band headlined the Hollywood Bowl for two nights of career-spanning magic, backed by the Philharmonic Orchestra to boot. This was a special, can’t-miss experience concert added to Al’s Mandatory Fun World Tour, and it didn’t disappoint.
(All photos via Florian Buechting/Facebook)
After opening the show with Tacky, his Mandatory Fun parody of Pharrell‘s Happy, Yankovic strapped on his trusty accordion and launched into Now That’s What I Call Polka!, a medley of contemporary hits (think Miley Cyrus, Kesha, Foster the People, and the like) turned into a pogo-ing polka style. All this came after he asked the crowd, “YOU READY TO ROCK??!” before following that up with…well, a polka. It was great.
Saturday’s show was somewhat obviously filled with many folks taking in their first Al concert, which features a heavy dose of costume changes (nearly as many as Lady Gaga, as Al revealed on Conan last week), multimedia clips (which fill the downtime when he and his band are changing outfits, and features clips ranging from his Adult Swim cameos to old Al TV interview bits and more) and, naturally, POLKA!
Before all that madness went down, Straight No Chaser warmed up the crowd with a fun a cappella set blending familiar covers, humor and slick dance moves and were pretty much a perfect warm-up for Al and his antics.
Throughout the hour+ that followed, Yankovic, the orchestra and his band plowed through selections from his now four-decade career, hitting all the classics. The costume changes led to fully decked-out renditions of Perform This Way, his Michael Jackson parody Fat (with fat suit, of course), Dare to be Stupid (with everybody in Devo regalia), Smells Like Nirvana (with Yankovic imitating Kurt Cobain), White and Nerdy (featuring Al on a Segway and wearing a bandana), Word Crimes (in a black-and-white suit a la Robin Thicke) and Amish Paradise (Al + band all in Amish-style outfits).
There was also a great acoustic medley of Eat It/I Lost On Jeopardy/I Love Rocky Road/Like a Surgeon that allowed for the orchestra to add an extra layer of sounds to the mix. To that end, the specific full song performances that were best accentuated by the orchestra included Foil and Amish Paradise, as both parodies seemed tailor-made for additional musicianship.
The requisite Star Wars segment closed out the show, with The Saga Begins (a parody of Don McClean‘s American Pie) and Yoda (a parody of the Kinks‘ Lola) finding Yankovic sporting his Jedi robe and singing alongside a dancing troupe of Stormtroopers and Darth Vader himself.
Overall, the set list of the Hollywood Bowl show was a bit shorter than some of the other, regular tour stops on the Mandatory Fun outing, but that makes total sense considering the full orchestra had to learn all of this material for these two special gigs. Some of Yankovic’s original, non-song parody material was left out in the name of making the Bowl show the best it could be, and that’s perfectly fine.
This was a truly once-in-a-lifetime chance for Weird Al fans to see a new type of performance from their hero and he definitely delivered.
Below, check out the remaining slate of Mandatory Fun World Tour dates and be sure to catch a show!
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