Weird Al Yankovic - London Eventim Apollo

Weird Al Yankovic - London Eventim Apollo

by jessicajolly / Oct 05, 2015 / 0 comments
Sunday, 4 October 2015

Musical Comedy. One of the most ridiculed genres of any art form, perhaps a far third to mime and interpretive dance. For musical comedy to work, the musicianship has to be on par with (or even excel) the comedy. This is why Weird Al Yankovic has sold over 12 million albums and continues to play sold out shows 30 years after bestowing the world with “Eat It.” His band is incredible. The guitar player made my heart stop. And he sings with the power and commitment of a real rock-n-roll front man. It was as much of a concert as it was a comedy night.

Weird Al opened Sunday’s performance at the Apollo with a video cam entrance that began down the street. He traipsed his way through the side alley of the venue, passing his Nirvana backup dancers while singing “Tacky”. The audience still unsure if this was pre-recorded or live, Al then stormed his way through the doors at the back of the venue and danced down the aisle with his camera crew, high-fiving the bespectacled geeks and weirdos who were losing their minds.

Over the next couple of hours, Weird Al took us through his 35 year back catalog with a variety of high energy, well choreographed, hilariously costumed numbers. It was a grand comedic tour of the past half-century of pop rock. During the frequent costume changes, videos were played on the big screen in the back. Nearly every reference to Weird Al in American film and television was put on display, and while a few felt a bit reaching, many of the obscure moments (particularly an interview with Michael Stipe of REM) were hilarious. Hearing the audience repeat in unison every word of the “Fat” intro “YO, DING-DONGS, MAN. DING-DONGS, YO” proves that it’s still one of the funniest 60 seconds of video history.

Several medleys were sewn together, including “That’s What I Call Polka.” My favourite was the acoustic rendition of his early hits, including “Eat It” and “Like A Surgeon.” A cheeky nod towards the middle aged rockers such as Springsteen and Clapton who slow down the big, loud numbers of their early careers. Again, what is so impressive about Al’s shows is that, even while poking fun of “Layla” with an old song about sandwiches, he’s still giving a solid musical performance.

The Apollo is a sit-down theatre, and while chatting with Al after the show, he says he prefers the standing room only, rock-show style venues he’ll be playing throughout the rest of Europe. Gives the crowd a chance to boogie, and what could possibly be more fun that watching a horde of Weird Al fans show off their dorkiest dance moves? When he talks about the set and what he wants from a performance, you can tell that he's a true rock music fan, and that his parodys come from his love of the genre. In spite of the venue choice, the London audience was not suppressed by the assigned seating. Everyone sang along and waved their hands in unison without any provocation necessary. It was a fun night, indeed.

The performance ended with an encore of “The Saga Begins” and “Yoda”, with a giant crew of roadies dressed as Storm Troopers. It was the perfect way to end an entertaining set of pop-culture revelry, and the fans couldn’t have been happier.

Full Setlist:
1. Tacky 

2. Lame Claim to Fame 

3. Now That's What I Call Polka! 

4. Perform This Way 

5. Dare to Be Stupid 

6. Fat 

7. First World Problems 

8. Foil 

9. Smells Like Nirvana 

10. 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 

11. Canadian Idiot 

12. Wanna B Ur Lovr 

13. Eat It / I Lost on Jeopardy / I Love Rocky Road / Like a Surgeon 
(Acoustic medley)
14. White & Nerdy 

15. Word Crimes 

16. Amish Paradise
18. (Encore) We All Have Cell Phones 

19. (Encore) The Saga Begins 

20. (Encore) Yoda

Rating out of 11: