Weird Al Yankovic has maintained a 41-year-long career, with a string of hit singles, four grammy awards, and six platinum records, hanging on longer than most “serious” pop stars. Weird Al doing a parody of one of your songs is generally the point when you realize you’ve “made it” as a musician.
Hardcore fans of Weird Al, “Weird Alcoholics,” know that each of his albums contain a few original Al-penned tracks. Besides being the most successful song-parody artist of all time (of Al time, even?) Weird Al Yankovic, is a brilliant comedy songwriter.
This week Weird Al announced via social media that he was preparing a national tour of intimate venues in an Unplugged or Storytellers type setting, where his band would perform stripped-down versions of “almost exclusively” original songs and no parodies.
In his announcement, he addresses his fans that might be expecting a big spectacle and hit songs, warning, ” if you’ve really got your heart set on seeing fat suits and Segways and hearing all your favorite parodies… this probably isn’t the tour for you.”
It might sound like I’m trying to talk people into NOT buying tickets… Actually, I just want people to be very aware of the nature of this tour so that they can make an informed decision now and not be disappointed later. Having said that, I know that there’s a small but enthusiastic subset of fans that literally have been waiting decades for this kind of a show, so… this tour is for them. And me. And the band. After putting on “multimedia extravaganzas” for 35 years, we just wanted to take it down a few notches and have a little musical palate cleanser.
Because all my concerts in the past were so highly produced, they needed to be rigidly planned down to the SECOND, and therefore the shows were virtually identical from one city to the next. But since this tour is unencumbered by theatrics, we have a lot more flexibility. So… EVERY SINGLE SHOW WILL BE DIFFERENT. We’re going deep into the catalog and mixing up the setlist every night. This show will be loose, unpredictable, and maybe a little sloppy – we’ll be making it up as we go along.
On a personal note, Weird Al was my first concert. I saw him as a kid on the In 3-D tour. I was a huge fan at the time. Weird Al was the first artist I ever wrote a fan letter to (which he responded to with a hand-written note on a promo glossy telling me “don’t forget to eat your broccoli!”)
As I got older, I eventually lost interest in following his career or releases, though I’ve always held a huge amount of respect for him as an American treasure. This announcement is the first time I’ve genuinely been excited about seeing Al perform again. I plan to attend one of these shows and think it will make a great bookend to not having seen him since the In 3-D tour. It’s kind of like if you watched Rocky and then never watched another Rocky movie until Rocky Balboa.
It should be noted that Al is bringing along Emo Phillips as an opening act. If you’re old like me, you know how insanely cool that is.
Tour dates are scheduled to be listed soon on Weird Al’s website.
One can only hope for an unplugged version of “Nature Trail to Hell (in 3-D)”: