Weird Al Yankovic
JENNA CORDEROY: “As the stage screen flickered to life, broadcasting clips of American chat show hosts calling out the comedian’s name, it was time to get weird.”
HMV Forum, Kentish Town. 6th December. £25.
After a long Michaelmas Term, I decided to take a flight to London in order to find some comic relief. And, that relief came in the form of a geeky American and his accordion who sung the night away with parodies and polkas. I’m talking, of course, about Weird Al Yankovic. With a career spanning over several decades, it’s hard to believe he’s never played in Europe; let alone London. So, I counted myself lucky that I was going to see one of only three UK tour gigs. And, the night was simply amazing.
As the stage screen flickered to life, broadcasting clips of American chat show hosts calling out the comedian’s name, it was time to get weird. Welcomed by roars of delight, Weird Al kicked off the night with the R.E.M. inspired Frank’s 2000 TV, and the sweet sing-along You Don’t Love Me Anymore; an acoustic, drippy, boyband love song about a murderous lover. Of course.
“Are you ready to ROCK?” he screamed, before exploding into Canadian Idiot, complete with red and white streamers and images of a maple leaf on stage. Smells Like Nirvana saw Weird Al transform into Kurt Cobain, slurring the lyrics of the parody and stumbling across the stage with the microphone stand wrapped round his legs.
Smells Like Nirvana
Between the hectic costume changes, the audience was treated to scenes from Al TV: spliced interviews with Yankovic humorously questioning the likes of Eminem, Keith Richards, and Celine Dion. There were also numerous TV clips using Weird Al as the butt end of their jokes; proving to the audience how much of a pop culture icon he is. The highlight of the evening had to be the stereotypical movie trailer for his very own music biography, which documented: his rise to fame, his tormented struggles, and the heartache caused by his father disowning the young Al, who dreamt of wearing flamboyant shirts and playing an accordion. Simply genius.
Other highlights included: Weird Al donning a yellow radiation suit and a red coned hat for his tribute to Devo, White and Nerdy, which involved Weird Al spectacularly arriving on stage driving a Segway and spitting out the lyrics as he rolled across the stage and a Michael Jackson-themed version of Fat, complete with the occasional moonwalk and flash of white socks.
For a two and a half hour show, Al’s energy levels did not falter. But, it was the attention to detail that really made the show. From the purposely-underwhelming drum solos and the ridiculous t-shirt changes in You’re Pitiful, to the moment when Yankovic was so consumed by a guitar solo that he raised his accordion to the air intending to smash it, only to lay it down gently on the floor with love. Perfectly timed, perfectly delivered.
All in all, a very enjoyable evening: ridiculously funny, ridiculously brilliant, and ridiculously weird.