After the whirl-wind weekend road trip to Canada and back, I’ve decided to take things easy in North Carolina for a day or two. At this point in my trip, I have about two weeks left and six states to go. I still have time, however, to schedule a quick stop to make 12-year-old me very happy. Back then, I had simple tastes: sweets, toys, blended whiskies, but I also had a keen musical ear, one that was sated mainly by one artist:
To this day, popular culture is a minefield. A classic comes on the radio or in the bar – maybe “I Love Rock ‘n’ Roll”, or “Beat It”, and without fail I join in the chorus: “Eat it! Eat it! / Get yourself an egg and beat it. / Have some more chicken, have some more pie. / It doesn’t matter if it’s boiled or fried. / Just eat it! Eat it!”
I’ll always thank/never forgive Weird Al for that and, at long last, there was a chance to see him in Raleigh, NC. Being from the UK, his live shows were only the stuff of story (particularly pre-YouTube) in which people lucky enough to have seen him would detail the vast array of costumes he’d go through, the energy, the leg-splits. It’s been over a decade since then, I thought perhaps he’d be slowing down. Far from it:
The concert rampages over popular culture, from the modern classic:
To the modern… thing:
Completing the theme of the week, he was just as taken aback by Canada as I was:
He seduced the audience with his charm, his joviality, his rubbing of himself on members of the audience:
Now obviously, he’s got a rich catalogue of food and occasionally not-food related songs, and he was doing several from his latest album. All very good, but I confess, I’d never researched Weird Al concerts, I didn’t know whether to hope for some of my favourites or whether I’d be disappointed.
By the way:
Granted, as I grew up I no longer had my fingers on the pulse of whatever the hip people are listening to, so there was a moment or two of confusion:
And in particular, while doing the excellent White & Nerdy, Weird Al comes out on a Segway:
What a ribald teasing of geek culture, thinks I, unaware that, y’know, that was a thing:
This seems like a good time to point out that Weird Al’s band are only a few years older than him:
Apparently the key to youth is costume changes.
One of his songs that propelled him to a new generation of fans was in the build up and release of the cinematic wonder that is Star Wars Episode I. Weird Al hadn’t seen the film when he composed his parody, The Saga Begins, to the tune of American Pie. Instead, he trawled the spoiler websites, like Ain’t It Cool News (hey, remember Ain’t It Cool News?) and managed to get enough info to compose a perfectly accurate summary.
Oh, and Yoda.
Sad to think that after all the bloodshed, the only person who could really balance the force was an accordion player from California.
By the end of the evening I had relived my childhood and had wired into my head the incorrect lyrics for a whole new generation of pop culture, which is more than I could ever want. Soon I’ll be back on the road, heading through the Virginias and entering the final leg of my journey, comforted only by the knowledge that no matter where I go, a truck driver might have gone before.