Since the eighties, Weird Al has risen to fame and managed to stay relevant over the past three decades with covers of popular hits, his own funny songs and his embrace of new technology, be it AL-TV, Twitter or YouTube. With his latest album Mandatory Fun comes a brand new tour, which for the first time ever hits Belgium!
As soon as the light dim, Fun Zone sounds through the speakers with the band entering the stage. They start playing Tacky, the Pharrell Williams cover, and Weird Al himself appears on the screen. Dancing and singing along with the band, it’s quickly obvious he is standing outside the AB, in a Brussels alley. Never missing a single beat, he enters the venue, until we see the cameraman and him entering the front stage. If there ever was an entrance, this was it. The crowd was clearly hungry for Al, and was as enthusiastic as I’ve ever seen one. After Lame Claim to Fame we are treated to one of the highlights of the evening, one of Al’s signature polka’s. The Now That’s What I Call Polka! features Daft Punk, Miley Cyrus, Macklemore and about every hit from the past two years. Without a breath for air Yankovic eats through his lyrics, no matter how long or complicated they are.
The entire great hall was filled with fans, which showed in the vibe. Even the somewhat lengthy costume changes aren’t a problem, since they are being filled in with a mixture of Al’s very rich media archive, filled with references in TV shows, cameos or his famous ‘interviews’.
Yankovic, coming on the stage in purple tentacles and an ice-cream hat brings his Gaga cover Perform This Way, followed by the great 1985 song Dare To Be Stupid, including outfits that match the original music video. Following this comes an almost unrecognisable Yankovic in fatsuit, bringing his iconic Fat! Back to the new album with First World Problems and Foil, until we are being transported to the nineties with Smells Like Nirvana. I bet the crowd now was wilder for this song now than they ever where when Nirvana themselves opened Pukkelpop in 1991. People screaming along, singing and dancing! Who would have imagined this, at a concert of a man doing comedy music!
The great thing about Yankovic is that he manages to combine decades of music style in a single medley. With one costume that transforms into several ones, he managed to pull of nine unique costumes while remaining on stage. Party in the CIA / It’s All About the Pentiums / Handy / Bedrock Anthem / Another One Rides the Bus / Ode to a Superhero / Gump / Inactive / eBay. Time to rock again, with the Green Day cover Canadian Idiot, which clamours more dancing from the crow.
Another costume and stage change brings iconic songs Eat It / I Lost on Jeopardy / I Love Rocky Road / Like A Surgeon in a acoustic version to the time of Eric Clapton’s Layla.
The crowd goes wild when after another costume change, Yankovic enters the stage on a Segway, doing another fan favourite White & Nerdy, with the crowd rapping along. Another plus goes out to his band. Having been together since the beginning, they have no issue dressing up or doing the silliest of backing vocals, but the huge contrast between the hyperkinetic and elastic Weird Al, their performance is mostly straight faced, adding even more humor to the mix.
If the crowd wasn’t pumped up enough already, the bands unleashes another new hit:Word Crimes. No twerking this time, but this act doesn’t need that. After another hilarious TV moment, Al and the band enter in another iconic outfit, bringing Amish Paradise. Again, people go wild in every sort of dancing, singing and cheering. The energy of the crowd keeps burning while Yankovic says goodbye in a typical ‘Weird Al’-fashion.
I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many people yell ‘We Want More’ in a concert hall before. Not before long Yankovic and the band, each wearing their best Jedi outfits, march on stage, followed by a barrage of Stormtroopers. Every fan was waiting for this moment, with Yankovic finally bringing … We All Have Cellphones. Waitwhat? If they didn’t had their phones out, they did now, with a magical moment of hundreds LED lights shining over the iconic concert hall.
But then came the moment we all had been waiting for. The Star Wars-inspired song The Saga Begins! With two thousand fans singing along, it truly became a magical moment. But there was only one way to close this evening. Yoda! The 1985 cover of The Kink’s Lola proved once more that Yankovic is a true performer with a great range. A vocal intermezzo between Yankovic, Steve Jay (bass) and Jim West (guitar) shows that they have been playing together since the early eighties, and know their colleagues inside out, until we finally close with the final bit of Yoda, before saying goodbye.
The two hour show flew by, with people leaving the AB with smiles on their faces, belching out the chorus Y.O.D.A. all over Brussels. From beginning to end, the show was not just top-notch entertainment, but an amazing trip down memory lane which in itself will create a lasting happy memory. We can only hope the warm Belgian welcome will convince the true King of Parody to return with his next tour! (★★★★★)
For those who want to re-enjoy last nights setlist, check out this Apple Music playlist.
Disclaimer: All pictures made with the new iPhone 6s from the public.