Photos & Review supplied: Cameron Hons
Review: Weird Al Yankovic Unfortunate Return Of The Ridiculously Self Indulgent Ill Advised Vanity Tour, Sydney Australia March 15th 2023
To me, Weird Al (who I correctly pronounce as "Yankovic", and not "Yancovich"), is not only a inspiration to my own music but a inspiration to many other people as well. He's a great performer and musician. He's had the same band for about 40 years now and they always seem like they have a good time. I first discovered Weird Al in the late 90's. It was during the peak of his single "The Saga Begins" from the album Running With Scissors, which came out in 1999. I'm not into Star Wars very much at all but I enjoyed the song. I also enjoyed his other songs too, including his originals.
I've seen Weird Al live over the years 2 other times. My first time was in 2011 during the very early stages of the "Alpocalypse" World Tour. Where he performed a great set of parodies & originals, and half of the album "Alpocalypse" before it had even come out. Then again in January 2016 during his "Mandatory Fun" world tour, which , while also a great concert, was sadly his last tour that was in support of a new album.
While it's fair to say the world has waited too long for a new Weird Al album, and is unsure if we'll ever get one due to the 14 album contract, (we did however get the new soundtrack from Weird: The Al Yankovic Story which featured new re-recordings of some of his more known parodies and a brand new song 'Now You Know'.)
The Ridiculously Self Indulgent Ill Advised Vanity Tour was first launched in the states back in 2018. For people who went or couldn't go to the shows, every concert during that 70 odd date run was recorded professionally and released online for audiences to enjoy. I really wanted him to bring this tour here. As a long-time fan, I always love his originals as much as his parodies. Thankfully in December '22, he announced that he will be bringing the "Return of the Ridiculously Self Indulgent Ill Advised Vanity Tour" here to Australia. I was lucky enough to buy tickets for the March 15th concert.
Although I have enjoyed seeing him over the years, it's great for a change that there is no big screens, huge stage setups, and overall large lighting rigs. It was just him and his band. Supporting him on this tour is long time friend and famous comedian Emo Phillips, who said he hadn't done stand up in Australia since 1997 and enjoyed being back. I always liked Emo Phillips. I enjoyed his cameo appearances in UHF and The Weird Al Show. Emo was very humble and cheeky and presented his jokes really well and would often deliver his punchlines quick and with ease. Some other jokes would end up being more PG-13 than we thought which we found very amusing.
I brought a friend of mine along who had never seen Weird Al live before and not only that, never knew he did so many original songs in the first place. Yes, he is very familiar with him but he would only listen to the parodies. One thing we both agreed though was we hoped he'd play "Alberquerque".
The first banger of the night when Weird Al and his band stormed, er - sat down, on the stage was the 2014 hit "Lame Claim To Fame". While it was strange not seeing the big cannons up there for songs such as "Canadian Idiot", it was really fun to leave the distractions behind and just focus on the band.
Weird Al's voice was in fine form throughout the show. His band performed greatly, and we were treated to not one, but two 5 second Drum Solos. There was the first Drum Solo near the beginning of the show and then spontaneously for no reason some time later, the "Drum Solo Reprise" was welcomed.
Next up was the very welcome "Why Does This Always Happen To Me", a song I often really enjoyed on his "Poodle Hat" album.
This concert's show had a much different setlist than the first night which was treated more like a warm up show. Some poeple in the audience attended the night before.
Before the song "One More Minute" Weird Al told the audience a story of when they first did this song live back in 1985 on the Dick Clark show. The TV Censors didn't like the phrase "I'm going to clean all the bathrooms in central station with my tongue" (Despite being apparently OK with the line "I'm going to rip my heart right out of my chest and stomp on it before I die"), when the premiere of the video happened, Al was horrified that the video was censored in a really bizarre way. Thankfully I have found this clip in question.
"I'll Sue Ya" was another song I was hoping for him to perform on this show and they did. My friend really enjoyed this number , as not hearing it before, he was pleased that it was in the style of Rage Against The Machine. Another very welcomed track was "Your Horoscope For Today".
There were a couple of ballads next such as "Skipper Dan", "The Night Santa Went Crazy (Extra Gory Version)" and "You Don't Love Me Anymore".
One of the show's highlights was the night's performance of "Craiglist". He has performed this song several times live for us before. But I have never seen him do it like this. It's sound parodies that of The Doors. During the performance he went into an extended rant during his cell phone call to his mother. It was one of the best nonsensical freak out rants i've ever seen him do. Making fun of the infamous Jim Morrison freak outs in between tracks. During Criaglist the lights changed from different colours to strobe effects throughout Weird Al's phone freak out. And what better way to end it with a snippet of "Baby Shark".
When the song ended we had "The Good Old Days". and then Al introduced the next number and said "As you know there is a new biopic film of me out that tells the story of my life. But I think there is a better version of it to tell".
Alberquerque kicked in and the crowd went absolutely nuts. I always quietly hoped for him to play this song live one day and well here it is. Luckily for us, we got the extended version where he listed every single style of berry donut at the donut shop (that was out of stock of pretty much everything, including Chuck Berry donuts). Then at one point during the song Weird Al purposely forgot the rest of the words and had to start the song over again for an extended period of time to the audience's satisfaction.
It was truly an event to behold as the extended version of Alberquerque went on for about 20 minutes or so. It was loads of fun and everybody was singing along to all the words and shouting to the call and response bits.
During a huge standing ovation and encore break where the band just hid behind instruments instead of leaving the stage, they came out and performed the song "You Can Call Me Al" by Paul Simon (which Weird Al said he wrote it himself after getting so many people confused as to what to call him when they pass each other on the street) we were welcomed by a medley of lounge version of Parodies such as Amish Paradise, Smells Like Nirvana, White & Nerdy, a jazz version of the original track Word Crimes, and ended the night with Yoda including an extended Crimp freak out which featured snippets from "Papa Omm Mow Mow" and "Walk The Dinosaur".
Once again, Weird Al proves that you don't need huge stage setups, big screens and large PA systems to have a great time. The tour runs through Australia until the 22nd of March. I have enjoyed seeing him live every time he's come here so far. This show was no exception. For those yet to see the completed dates, you are in for a really great time.
Weird Al Yankovic Unfortunate Return Of The Ridiculously Self Indulgent Ill Advised Vanity TourMarch 15 2023
O Fortuna (Intro)
01. Lame Claim To Fame
02. Why Does This Always Happen To Me
03. Close But No Cigar
05. One More Minute
06. Drum Solo (Two bars)
06. Drum Solo (Two bars)
07. I'll Sue Ya
08. Your Horoscope For Today
09. Skipper Dan
10. The Night Santa Went Crazy
11. You Don't Love Me Anymore
12. Drum Solo Reprise (Four bars)
15. Good Old Days
17. You Can Call Me Al (Paul Simon cover)
18. Amish Paradise / Smells Like Nirvana / White & Nerdy / Word Crimes / Yoda