Tuesday, September 2, 2014


Sound Stage

Weirdly entertained

8/7/2013

Weird Al Yankovic performing at Hoyt Sherman Theater on Sunday, Aug. 4.

Weird Al Yankovic performing at Hoyt Sherman Theater on Sunday, Aug. 4.

There’s something about Weird Al Yankovic’s work that’s always struck me as kind of manic. Maybe it’s because most of us became acquainted with his work when we were kids and all hopped up on sugar at some birthday party, but when that accordion starts to play, it gets hard to concentrate. Yankovic understands this, which at least partially explains why his show at Hoyt Sherman Place on Sunday was a bit like watching television while a kid with attention deficit disorder mans the remote control.

In a high-energy show that featured more than a few costume changes, Yankovic kept things moving with a series of video clips in between songs. Spliced together with “Robot Chicken”-style “channel changes,” the short vignettes included Weird Al references throughout popular culture: “Family Guy,” “The Cleveland Show,” “The Simpsons” and “Space Ghost Coast to Coast” all made appearances.

The ADD theme carried over to many of the songs: Al condensed nearly a dozen songs into a couple of verse-and-chorus medleys (at least one of which was pretty clearly lip synched) sandwiched around the complete versions of others. Most of the full songs were from the newer end of his catalogue — “Eat It” was about as old as he went — and, if you’re a fan, it’s interesting to notice which songs he decided to play and which were absent from the set: “Fat” and “Eat It,” were there, for example, but no “Yoda.” “I Want a New Duck” was there but not “Another One Rides the Bus.”

None of Al’s nearly two-hour set was good or bad enough to make or lose the man any fans, but he’s reached a point in his career where I doubt he cares about such things. The folks who paid to see him perform spent two hours wildly entertained, and that’s about all you can ask for. CV

DM Art Center

Upper Iowa