Weird Al Yankovic’s latest album debuted at No.1 on U.S. Billboard charts last year. For an artist who has been performing since the 1970s, and even winning four Grammy awards, this would seem old hat, but what makes this album different from others is that, this is the first comedy album in history to reach No.1, ever.
Yankovic began playing the accordion as a young boy, but it was while he was studying architecture at California Polytechnic State University that he started recording parody songs, and eventually he even sent one to Dr Demento – a local comedy radio personality – who played it, thus launching his career. Since then, Yankovic has sold more than 12 million albums, recorded more than 150 parody and original songs, and has well over 1,000 live shows under his belt.
With MTV’s rise in the 1980s, Yankovic’s songs came alive in video form, adding to the experience. Eventually, as this platform featured less music videos, he shifted to online video postings, and gained an even larger audience. He has incorporated video into his concerts as well, making for an smoother transition between songs, and helpful in buying time while changing costumes.
I first became aware of Weird Al’s music when his parody of Michael Jackson’t ‘Beat it’, ‘Eat it’ came out in 1984. The song was an instant hit with absolutely everyone, regardless of their age or background. Over the years, I must admit that I have admired his songs a bit from afar, perhaps because I took myself a little too seriously, and felt that I had “matured” and outgrown the genre. On the night I attended his concert at the Palais Theatre in St Kilda I realised that Yankovic’s music still transcends all ages, and as for myself, I tossed my “mature” self out the window and completely rocked out to parodies such as: ‘I Love Rocky Road’ (Joan Jett’s ‘I Love Rock and Roll’), ‘Like a Surgeon’ (Madonna’s ‘Like a Virgin’) and ‘Tacky’ (Pharell’s ‘Happy’).
Some artists are cursed by one-hit-wonders, or fizzle out after a few years, this is not the case with Yankovic's music. He has been able to maintain momentum over the past 30+ years, appealing to new waves of audiences who are just now discovering his sense of humour and whitty lyrics, as well as keeping the hordes of fans whom he gained at the very dawn of his career. This is quite evident by the diversity of the people in attendance at the Palais Theatre on the night I attended.
Weird Al Yankovic's ‘Mandatory Fun’ tour is absolutely amazing. I enjoyed everything about it; his energy is infectious, the singing is top notch, the polka accordion is something he is known for but it's always surprising to hear at a rock concert, the costumes are so outrageous, the videos are a funny palate cleanser between sets, except for one thing… I was disappointed that there weren’t any additional dates that he would be performing in Australia. The next time you see Weird Al Yankovic's show advertised, you absolutely must experience it.
Mandatory World Tour
“Weird Al” Yankovic
Saturday January 2
Bookings: www.ticketek.com.au | 9550 3666
Sunday January 3
Bookings: www.ticketmaster.com.au | 136100
Friday January 8