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Everything Is 'Al-luminated'—Weird Al At Chicago Theatre

By Marielle Shaw in Arts & Entertainment on Jul 1, 2015 4:40PM

Photo credit: David Becker

It’s been a celebratory kind of week.

Good news is hard to find, but we found it, and we were admittedly already in a good mood upon taking our seats to see His Weirdness this past weekend. And certainly, “Weird” Al Yankovic has had his share of reasons to celebrate lately, too. He’s had the kind of staying power most artists only dream of, and he hasn’t just stayed on the scene, he’s worked his way to the top. Last year’s Mandatory Fun made it to number one the same week it was released.

While there were early mixing issues that had us worried at the top of the show, that was the only hitch in an otherwise wonderful night of entertainment. Al opened with a huge splash, monitors following his wackily-patterned self through the bowels of the Chicago Theatre while he sang one of our recent favorites, “Tacky,” an immensely fun parody of Pharell’s all too ubiquitous “Happy.” We watched as he dashed through racks of clothes, flicked hats off staff and eventually made his way to the venue through the alley next to the theater. All live, all happening while the audience waited inside. As he burst through the doors, we knew he hadn’t lost his touch, and we were in for a hell of a night.

There are plenty of shows with indifferent bass players, doped out drummers or lazy frontmen. Al and his crew are none of those things. Blink and you’ll miss something, from amazing costume changes, subtle interplay between a band that’s more like family and interspersed bits of Al TV and other video goodies. It’s nonstop and it’s insanely fun. Long-time fans can sing along to the classics, but find new things to love.

Photo credit: David Becker

In fact, some of those classics, like “Eat It” got a lounge-lizard remix that was all at once weird, impressive and immensely well done. We especially enjoyed “Foil”, the Lorde parody which featured a live…”cooking” demonstration, along with beautiful photos of different ways food could rot. Honestly, it’s hard to pick a favorite. The show is as much comedy and nostalgia as it is a genuine, enthusiastic frontman who’s even more talented than people give him credit for.

There were over two hours of weirdness to enjoy, and even after the traditional “Saga Begins” encore, followed closely by “Yoda” we felt like it all ended too soon. It’s no secret that this author has always loved Al and what he represents, but we can also objectively say that a Weird Al show is an absolute treat. It’s something almost anyone with a sense of humor and fun can enjoy, and a reminder to be yourself, even if that self wears Hawaiian shirts, has crazy curly hair and plays the accordion. We couldn’t think of a better way to cap off a week celebrating being who you are.

If you haven’t checked it out, we highly recommend you pick up a copy of Al’s latest, Mandatory Fun. It’s everything we’ve loved about him since day one, and it’s completely worthy of your wackiest dance with the most fun people you know.