"Weird Al" Yankovic's Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour kicks off tonight in Poughkeepsie, NY. This tour is unique: rather than the usual costume-filled, parody-focused multimedia extravaganza (which I've seen six, or maybe eight, or maybe ten times; as I noted in yesterday's post, I've honestly lost track at this point), Al will be focusing on his original songs.
Consensus among Weird Al fans is, the originals are better than the parodies. That point has been a fixture of Nathan Rabin's The Weird Accordion to Al series, which, for those of you just joining us, is what got me talking about Weird Al these past few posts.
I love Al's originals, and I wonder which ones he'll play. He's kept the set list under wraps, but he confirmed two things in a Rolling Stone interview last October: he'll be playing Albuquerque, and he won't be playing Hardware Store. Hardware Store is a fan favorite, so it's disappointing to hear it won't be part of the tour -- but Al explains, reasonably, that it's just too complex to play live on stage.
And if Hardware Store is too complicated, I'm guessing we won't be hearing Genius in France, either. That's a shame too -- but man, there are plenty of other great options.
I think Dare to Be Stupid is a given. I can't imagine making a list of original Weird Al songs without it.
I've seen him perform Dog Eat Dog, One More Minute, and The Night Santa Went Crazy live before. I'm not sure if that makes them likely contenders for the Vanity Tour, though -- after all, if he's focusing on lesser-known songs, breaking out the originals he's done on previous tours doesn't necessarily fit the theme.
But there are plenty of other great choices. Frank's 2000 Inch TV and Everything You Know is Wrong are old favorites. Close, But No Cigar features some of my favorite lyrics ("She had me sweatin' like Nixon every time I was near; my heart was beatin' like a Buddy Rich solo"). His last album, Mandatory Fun, has some great damn originals, including Lame Claim to Fame, Mission Statement, and First World Problems.
Or maybe -- and perhaps most exciting of all -- he'll do some new stuff. This is, after all, not one of those concerts that people are going to because they want to hear the hits.
I'm sure fans will be sharing the set list by tonight, though I'll try not to peek; I want to be surprised by the time he makes it to Phoenix in May.
And tonight's set list won't be every song he'll play on the tour; Al said in the Rolling Stone interview that he'd have two shows' worth of material ready.
Maybe I'll have to head down to Tucson so I can see him twice...