“Weird Al” Yankovic opened “The Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour” in Poughkeepsie, NY on Tuesday, February 27. While past tours have featured giant video screens, costumes changes and parody-heavy setlists, Al included a disclaimer on his website stating that this tour is “a scaled-down tour in smaller, more intimate theaters, with limited production (no costumes, props, or video screens) and Al’s set list will be comprised almost entirely of his original (non-parody) songs.” The sold-out crowd of 950 was treated to the comic stylings of Emo Philips, featured in the movie UHF as Joe Earley. Al hand-picked him to open for the entire tour and his absurd 30 minute set had the audience roaring with laughter.
Yankovic’s band took the stage at the Bardavon 1869 Opera House and laid down an instrumental version of “Dare to be Stupid” before the man himself arrived to a massive fanfare. His first song of the tour was the White Stripes pastiche, ‘CNR.’ Al took it down for a minute to warn the crowd that tonight was in fact, their “soundcheck” and that “if you came to see me screw up, you will not be disappointed!”. He did not disappoint as he dove into the Bob Dylan’esque ‘Bob’ and the 2003 favorite, ‘Why Does This Always Happen To Me?”
After fooling the audience into thinking that this tour would not feature costumes, parodies or accordions, Al finally brought out his new MIDI-accordion as the band started into “Generic Blues.” This classic track from the UHF soundtrack was followed up by the Hawaiian Reggae tune, “Buy Me a Condo.” The 9-minute epic “Jackson Park Express” was played for the first time live as the weirdness continued. Next up was the 2011 hit “Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me” before Al channeled the Lizard King with his Doors homage, “Craigslist.”
Al continued the set with one of his darker songs, “Good Old Days,” an example of what would happen if James Taylor collaborated with Charlie Manson. The band lightened the mood with the song “Happy Birthday” from his debut album before taking it down a notch with the anti-love ballad, “You Don’t Love Me Anymore.” “Party At The Leper Colony,” one of the bands “Top 3 Immature Songs” preceded the 2006 hit, “Don’t Download This Song” and the Don Henley inspired “When I Was Your Age.” Weird Al continued the 80’s hits with “Melanie” and “One More Minute” before changing the pace of the concert.
Despite announcing a lack of parody songs prior to the tour, Al dove into a medley of his comedy hits as the band played differing music underneath. The band started playing a wonderful rendition of “Layla” as Al sang the lyrics to his hit “Eat It.” This led into “I Lost On Jeopardy” with a walking baseline before switching over to chimes and acoustic guitar for “Amish Paradise.” “Smells Like Nirvana,” “White and Nerdy” And “Rocky Road” had a mix of bouncy pop and doo wop behind it before a piano heavy rendition of “Like A Surgeon” ended the set.
Weird Al and his bandmates came back out to “play a song they usually end each show with.” The audience was dumbstruck as the band started playing the guitar riff to Deep Purple’s, “Smoke On The Water.” This was no parody as Al wow’d the crowd with a spectacular, normal, regular version of this track. Not to disappoint, Al ended the show with fan-favorite, “The Saga Begins” before thanking the crowd for a wonderful show.
Weird Al will continue his tour March 13th in Buffalo, March 14th in Ithaca, March 17th in Huntington and March 22nd and 23rd at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.