Live: Weird Al Yankovic at Hard Rock Live, October 4

Weird Al Yankovic
Hard Rock Live, Hollywood
Tuesday, October 4

Better than: Finally getting to see that one Simpsons episode you missed from 1994, so you can say you've seen every single Simpsons episode.

If you love TV, you love Weird Al Yankovic. If you hate TV, you love Weird Al Yankovic. That, Weird Al Yankovic fans, is how you cover all bases.

If that doesn't work, you can always serenade the crowd individually. Last night for "Wanna B Ur Lovr," Weird Al, decked out in a red suit with black tiger stripes, pranced with great pelvic thrusts down the main aisle of Hard Rock Live, which has a set-up to make the night feel like a taping of a family game show like Family Feud.

Weird Al raised his left leg and placed it gently on a woman's right shoulder and sang: "I wish that I was cross-eyed, girl/So I could see you twice." As he strutted down, he passed another concertgoer: "Do you believe in love at first sight/Or should I walk by again?" -- and he hopped a few steps backward. Then came the seductive bomb: "My love for you's like diarrhea/I just can't hold it in" -- now entered the pelvic swivel. Even the seat attendant got air-grinded on, and she didn't even pay to be there.

For the end of "Wanna B Ur Lovr," Weird Al was back on the stage crooning out the last notes, which were reminiscent of a parrot shrieking. If you owned a parrot as talented and funny as Weird Al, you'd never be put on Zoloft. People came here for the laughs, and they knew what to expect. His demographic is largely the TV-culture crowd, who watch all the sitcoms. Although the second medley parodied T.I.'s "Whatever You Like," the chances that most audience members owned a T.I. album were slim.

During that robust medley, the Backstreet Boys' "I Want It That Way" was turned into -- well, the most unromantic way to change a romantic song is to turn it into a song about eBay. The most sure-fire way to undedicate a song (looking at you, Bruno Mars) about loving someone else more than anyone else in the world is to transform it into a song about loving the tattoos you're putting on your own skin. Those two songs were "eBay" and "Another Tattoo," respectively.

Farcing a song by changing "Beat It" to "Eat it" is not complicated. What makes it genius is how it makes fun of us all -- how obsessed Americans are about body image and pigging out. In its simplest form, all Weird Al's songs are funny. We are a consumer-based society, and many of his songs -- like "Eat It" and "Fat" -- are about food.

The audience might not see the beauty (only 1 percent of us does) in Lady Gaga's fashion, but they get it when Weird Al poked fun at her when he dressed as his version of a peacock for "Perform This Way." He was the most ridiculous and ugly peacock alive. In a giant, blue plush costume, the peacock feathers on his back looked more like a tortoise shell, and the feet of the costume were simply big, white, and fat -- feet that were able to handle all that peacock pudge as he rocked from stage side to side. Weird Al was born this way. Guitarist Jim West was born with a cheese hat, and bassist Steve Jay was born with a skeleton print on what looked like long johns. Throughout, Weird Al danced different versions of a rubbery dance like Gumby.

The Weird Al TV clips -- a fixture of his live shows -- were interspersed throughout and were fantastic. He showed interviews with Eminem ("Can I call you Marshall or Missy?"). On Eminem complaining about the repetitive beat on one of his jams: "I could only change the words," said Weird Al. "I couldn't change the music too." In another clip, Robert Plant asked to hold Weird Al's hands, winked at Yank, then Plant said, "Squeeze my lemon." Weird Al included himself in Alanis Morissette's "Ironic" music video, and Jessica Simpson, Justin Timberlake, and Madonna got burned.

Snippets of sitcoms poking fun at Weird Al himself (there were a couple compliments, although they were back-handed) were played while he was on stage getting ready to perform. He could hear all the pop-culture references about him -- how cool.

In addition to newer tracks -- like a parody of Miley Cyrus' "Party in the USA," which became a CIA-related jam -- all the crowd favorites came out. From the "Fat" suit to the beard for "Amish Paradise" and being all drugged up in a blond-white wig, backed by two cheerleaders in black with red pompoms for "Smells Like Nirvana." Dude was complete with a rip over the knee of his jeans. It was adorable -- and he gargled water for that melody.

His voice might not be typical -- neither baritone nor high-pitched but nasally with smooth shrieking -- but he pulled off Kurt Cobain and a Mexican accent and even sounded seductive when he imitated Jim Morrison's spoken poetry voice. Weird Al, in a red do-rag, rolled onto the stage in a Segway for "White

& Nerdy," and later on stage, stormtroopers waved their guns and Darth Vader

waved his light saber for the Star Wars-themed encore. His longtime band played marvelously along with him and was behind everything he did the whole way.

Critic's notebook:

Personal bias: Weird Al is the epitome of an awesome guy because he doesn't take himself seriously. He has complete confidence (though how hard is it to be self-confident when you're a comedic genius?).

The crowd: Like the people eating at the Sawgrass Mills Mall's food court, but more civilized.

Overheard in the crowd: A woman's hysterical laughing to Weird Al singing the words "fecal matter." From the guy sitting behind me midset: "I don't know why guys didn't want to come to this."

Current pop hits done as a polka medley: It featured Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, and so forth.
You Don't Love Me Anymore
Smells Like Nirvana
You Make Me
The Night Santa Went Crazy
Skipper Dan
Party In The CIA
Dare To Be Stupid
Let Me Be Your Hog
Canadian Idiot
Dog Eat Dog
Wanna B Ur Lovr
Money For Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies/Whatever You Like/Another Tattoo/eBay/I Want A New Duck/Theme From Rocky XIII/Spam/My Bologna/Ode To A Superhero/Lasagna/Pretty Fly For A Rabbi/Another One Rides The Bus/I Love Rocky Road/Achy Breaky Song/Jurassic Park/Grapefruit Diet/I Lost On Jeopardy/Eat It
Amish Paradise
Perform This Way
White & Nerdy
The Saga Begins

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Mickie Centrone