Weird Al at the Evergreen State Fair in Monroe, WA

It was wet. Very wet.

Last week, my GF and I saw Radiohead at the White River Amphitheater. This week, we basically did the opposite.

On Tuesday night, my GF and I went to the Weird Al concert at the state fair. Al puts on a great show.

The show is mostly newer material (from the last 15 years). The only songs he did form the early 80s were "Yoda" (to the tune of Lola) and the classic "Eat It" (to the tune of Beat it). I would like to have heard more stuff from that era. It has such classics as "Dare to Be Stupid," "Like a Surgeon," "Nature Trail to Hell," and "One More Minute," but it is just a two hour show.

Every few songs Al would take a few moments off and show clips from Al TV, where he "interviews" celebrities and edits in their responses from other interviews. The clips were often hysterical, but I didn't go to a concert to watch video. I would have preferred more live Al time on stage.

At the same time, he did need to take the breaks because he must have done about 10 costume changes. The way he adjusted not only his look, but the look of the band, throughout the show was impressive.

This was a highly geeky show. Which makes perfect sense since this tour is really the "White and Nerdy" tour (yes, I did get the White and Nerdy hoodie). How geeky was it?

During "The Saga Begins" he had 8-10 Storm Troopers on stage (two of them appeared to be scout troopers) and the band it self was dressed up as Jedi. There was also a Darth Vader on stage. The storm troopers adopted action poses. It was awesome.

The crowd naturally went wild when Al rolled out on stage for "White and Nerdy" on his pimped out Segway. Because it's a Seattle crowd, they also went wild for "Smells Like Nirvana". "Amish Paradise" and "All About the Pentiums" were also big hits.

For an encore, Al did "Albuquerque."

So it was a good show.

I would have like to see Al interacting with the audience more. That may be tough with all the costume changes, but it would definitely have improved the show. As it was, Al didn't really connect with the audience. He did a great job performing for us, but it was more like musical theater than a show the audience can be part of.

He didn't talk to the audience between songs like I would have expected. There was little about it that screamed "This is a live show!" When I saw Billy Joel in a significantly larger arena in Vegas there was more interaction.

At this show in particular, that would have been more important. I mentioned earlier that it was wet.

The show began at 8:00 PM. The rain began at 7:15 PM. It started as a drizzle, and then grew. Did I mention this was an out door show? All but the cheapest seats were in the open. The rain came down, and people stayed for the show. They sang along. They clapped. We were all soaked to the skin after 2.5 hours in the rain.

I'm not blaming Al for the weather. And at the end, he did thank the fans for sitting in the rain for the show. And, sure, he mentioned Monroe, WA a couple times, but there was very little of that. He can be a great story teller, but he didn't do that.

A great concert isn't just about the songs; it's about the context the artist puts them in. It's about the stories the artist tells. It's about the way they not only perform the music but present it.

And at this show, there was just too much of a fourth wall in place.

I'm sure the crowd wasn't quite what Al would have liked either. We weren't as rowdy and exuberant as some of the shows he's done, I'm sure. Then again, we were cold and wet, and getting colder and wetter by the minute, and yet we stayed. And we sang. And we had a great time.

In summary, I would like to see some of the older material, and I would like Al to talk to the crowd more. I'd like him to spend less time showing videos. But it was still a good show, and I would definitely go again (probably with a poncho).

And the traffic situation was a hell of a lot better than the mess that was Radio at the Whiteriver Amphitheater.

If you are a fan or close personal friend of Al, go to the show. Enjoy the songs and sing along with them. And celebrate your nerdiness.

And the next time he comes to Seattle, I'll be there, too -- rain or shine.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Kudos to you for hanging in there in spite of the rain. That's a true fan there.

I'm guessing he didn't leave the stage for Wanna B Ur Lovr (probably due to the rain). When I saw Al last year in Los Angeles, he came up and rested his ankle on my shoulder for a moment while he sang to me. It doesn't get any more interactive than that. :)

It's true that Al doesn't say very much "unscriptedly" to the audience, but when it's not raining, he does pay attention to individual audience members, mugging for people with smuggled-in cameras or giving the hairy eyeball to people who come in late. It's a highly choreographed show (pretty much has to be, with all the audiovisual, multimedia stuff),but he does know who's out there.

And I wouldn't mind hearing Dare To Be Stupid live again either. ~OE