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Still Weird After All These Years

October 1st, 2007

Last Friday, Vic and I went to “Weird” Al Yankovic’s concert at the University of Illinois Assembly Hall. It was a step up for Al, whose last Champaign tour date some years back had him at the much smaller Virginia Theatre.

We got our money’s worth: the show was close to two-and-a-half hours, with neither a warm-up band nor an intermission. Granted that some of that was downtime to accommodate the many elaborate costume changes, but even the brief breaks–screenings of Al’s mock celebrity interviews–were entertaining.

It was pretty much everything I would’ve wanted out of a “Weird” Al show: “Eat It,” “Yoda,” “The Saga Begins” (with a kick line of Imperial stormtroopers) and, of course, “Amish Paradise.” (Which I still cannot get out of my head, three days later.) He closed the show with his most recent hit, “White & Nerdy,” and one of his oldest, “Fat.” (And yes, he still puts on the fat suit.)

Al’s longevity amazes me: “Eat It” was released 23 years ago, yet “White & Nerdy” hit the top 10 in 2006. While many of the acts he’s parodied have passed on (Nirvana) or become musically irrelevant (the aforementioned Mr. Jackson), Al just keeps going, reinventing himself every few years like a comedy version of Madonna. (And, unlike her, he doesn’t have to crucify himself to get attention.)

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