Perspective check: I'm agoraphobic, go into a kind of panic when around a lot of people in an enclosed area (I call it "mall phobia"), and I'm hyper-sensitive to light and sound. If I see strobe light effects for too long, I go tharn. Anyway, it is a testimony to how much I liked Al in the first place that I was willing to leave the house and go to a place with a lot of people, loudness, and hyper-lighting.
We had excellent seats, on what is essentially the ice rink for what is normally a hockey arena. We were so close to one of the speakers that I felt like I was resonating with it; even originating the vibrations, if that makes sense. I had no trouble with the noise, probably because I knew and adored most of the songs. Warning for those who have trouble with strobe lights -- they were used quite frequently.
If I had a chance to go to another Weird Al concert, I would jump on it with no hesitation. It is so worth seeing him live.
For those just joining us, Andy and I live in Albuquerque (insert obligatory Bugs Bunny reference here). For those not so familiar with Weird Al, he has recorded a song called Albuquerque, an original as opposed to a parody. The concert was held in... wait for it... Rio Rancho, which appears to have an urban-sprawl type of relationship to Albuquerque.
There was a minor incident with the concert venue. The Santa Ana Star Casino Center is actually not physically located at (or even particularly close to) the Santa Ana Star Casino. We went to the casino's buffet for dinner, and luckily were done half hour before the concert. The SASC Center is out in no man's land; probably waiting for Rio Rancho's own sprawl to reach it. After the first song, Al said "I'm privileged and honored to be here in the middle of nowhere".
* In "A Complicated Song", the line which refers to Alabama was amended to Albuquerque.
* "Headline News" was in his medley and therefor he only sang one verse. Instead of Loreena Bobbitt, the kid who got caned in Singapore, or Tonya Harding, he did a verse about Paris Hilton. I wish I could remember all of it.
* After the medley the group, in the dark, played the very famous beginning to Bach's Tocata and Fugue in D minor. When the lights came up, there was a line of storm troopers with guns as well as an Amidala, a Darth Vader with lightsaber, a Sand Person with a rifle, and some sort of droid, but not C3PO or R2D2. The storm troopers were very obviously dancing out of step, and whenever they pointed their guns did so in all directions. While the characters left the stage the Imperial March played.
* Directly after "The Saga Begins" they played "Yoda", complete with the Yoda Chant.
* Another aside for those not so into Weird Al. He got permission from James Blunt to do a parody of "You're Beautiful" called "You're Pitiful". After he finished recording it, however, the label refused permission to put it on his album (sad that the artist doesn't own his song). During the song Al was wearing several layered shirts which he took off one by one. The second-to-last said "Atlantic Records Sucks". At the very end he took his pants off; he was wearing a pink tutu.
* When they did the bomb sound effects for "Canadian Idiot", streamers fell from the ceiling. During "I'll Sue You", tiny dollar bills dropped. At the very end of the concert we were showered with confetti. I got one of the ribbons as a souvenir.
* In between songs, when instruments needed to be shuffled or long costume changes were called for, we saw some of Al's interviews from Al TV, which the other two whom we were with informed me is a current show on MTV. We also saw a clip from the Simpsons episode in which he appeared as himself as well as various other funny snippets.
* For "White and Nerdy" he rode a Segway onto stage. He actually made it dance, too.
* In one of the interviews shown he made up a song about cell phones. During the encore he sang it, and had people wave their cell phones like they would have cigarette lighters in the days of yore.
* In one song his keyboardist had a long solo. Al stood on stage reading a local free newspaper during it.
Weird Al has the most awesome facial expressions, and a ton of energy. He really put his all into the concert, complete with frequent costume changes. His vocal range is impressive, in that he uses his own voice for original songs but tries to mimic (often extremely well) the singers in the parodies. His band changed costumes as well, often scaled down versions of Al's or complementary to the song. For instance, in "White and Nerdy" they wore geeky street clothes. The keyboardist as Emperor Palpatine was priceless.
And finally, the encore. After "Fat", complete with his Fat suit, he introduced his band members and left. People kept applauding, so he came out and sang the cell phone song mentioned above, then left again.
People started chanting "Albuquerque". He came out and said he realized we wanted to hear a specific song. Then the band did a faithful non-parody version of "Last Train to Clarksville". It could have been The Monkees performing it, and I'm one of those people who likes The Monkees, so this is a compliment.
He left again. People began chanting "Albuquerque" again. He came out and played Deep Purple's "Smoke on the Water". After leaving and returning again he said something to the effect of "just kidding" and knowing we wanted to hear about a place we were familiar with. He then performed the Doobie Brothers' "China Grove" and left again.
Finally, again with the chanting, he came back onstage and asked if we wanted to hear the song he wrote about the city we were in. The lyrics mentioned pizza pie, banjos, and Rio Rancho. Then he told us when he booked the venue he had thought it was in Albuquerque, and asked if that's what we wanted to hear. This was followed by a rendition of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama" done straight up except for the substitution, once again, of "Albuquerque" for "Alabama".
We finally got to hear "Albuquerque", which is (usually) not one of my favorites since it's about 10 minutes long and is a lot of free association talk with very little singing. In the donut part he had added a whole bunch of donuts starting with obvious berries such as strawberries and raspberries, but getting more obscure as he went along, until he finally asked if they had Halle Berry donuts.
It was a lot of fun, more so than just reading it dry, and even more so with Al's facial expressions and antics. If anyone has a chance to catch him on this tour, I highly recommend taking it. I'm especially interested in knowing if the multiple encore thing with the song "Albuquerque" in particular is done in all of the venues, or if it was modified for this location. If "Albuquerque" is not the requested encore song elsewhere, what does he do for encores?