There was no false advertising at The Palace Theatre Tuesday night — “Weird Al” Yankovic is indeed just as weird as he’s always been.
For over two hours, the master of song parodies and rock ’n’ roll accordion god had the large crowd rolling in the aisles, and not just from his music. The in-between song video bits that allowed for costume changes, and the costumes themselves, all added to the spectacle, creating a fully immersive (and of course, weird) experience.
But of course the music was the focus, and Yankovic wouldn’t be half as funny if he didn’t have what amounts to the world’s greatest cover band, ever, backing him up. Longtime members Steve Jay on bass, Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz on drums and Jim West on guitar, banjo and mandolin, along with keyboardist Ruben Valtierra, did it all, from hard rock to soft rock to hip-hop to folk. And for the outright parodies of hit songs that Yankovic is so known for, one would have been hard pressed to tell the difference from the actual artists’ radio versions.
They kicked it all off with a polka medley — this time out it was “Polka Face,” the Lady Gaga framed piece found on Yankovic’s latest album, “Alpocalypse.” The album got heavy play this evening — ripping versions of “TMZ” and the Miley Cyrus takeoff “Party in the CIA” all stood up to the live treatment. The latter, in fact, is a sure bet to stick around longer than its source material (Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.).
It’s a testament to Yankovic’s enduring strength as a satirist that his set drew all the way back to the ’70s, and also included songs from the album right before “Alpocalypse,” “Straight Outta Lynwood.” Really, how many artists that have been playing that long hit on just about every era of their careers in a live show — and receive the same level of applause and audience interest for all of it?
Yankovic started the show in his classic Hawaiian shirt, but began his many costume changes of the night with “Smells Like Nirvana” — an early highlight that saw the whole band imitating the grunge rockers, right down to the bassist slinging his instrument down to his knees, ala Krist Novoselic. Throughout the evening, he took on the guises of a safari guide (“Skipper Dan”), an Amish man (“Amish Paradise”) and others — plus other getups like the questionable red-and-black tiger striped suit he donned while molesting audience members during “Wanna B Ur Lovr.”
Other highlights included the mid-set medley of some of Yankovic’s best parodies, kicking off with his Dire Straits rip “Beverly Hillbillies” and working through “Spam” (REM’s “Stand”), “My Bologna” (The Knack’s “My Sharona”) and “Eat It” (Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”) — and showing a strange preoccupation with food.
He saved the best for last, though, with his recent hits “Perform This Way” and “White & Nerdy” ramping things up for the big (no pun intended) finale on “Fat.” Of course, he donned the infamous (and infamously grotesque) fat suit from the Jackson-inspired music video, to thunderous applause. A “Star Wars” themed encore, with the Don McLean parody “The Saga Begins” and “Yoda,” was icing on the cake.
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