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The king of pop culture parodies
maintains his savvy streak

"Weird Al" Yankovic
Rialto Square Theatre
Joliet, IL
October 12, 2013

Story and photos by Andy Argyrakis

Throughout a 30 year recording career, "Weird Al" Yankovic hasn't just parodied every major musician spanning practically every genre, but in the process, became just as famous as his numerous subjects with a dozen million albums sold to date. Even if he's flown slightly under the radar during recent years, he's still selling out on the road behind his thirteenth long player "Alpocalypse" (Volcano), including a festive stop at the historic and stunningly beautiful Rialto Square Theatre.

As he kicked off the two hour night with a "Polka Face" medley through today's top 40, the cult-like crowd squealed with delight, especially as jumbotrons flashed snippets of sketches that were often times just as funny as the stage performances. After delivering the first few songs in typical "Weird Al" tye-died garb, the show ramped up its theatrical side as the quirky singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist tossed on a blonde wig and his best '90s flannel for the grungy "Smells Like Nirvana."

Yankovic and his veteran backers were truly at their best when immersing themselves in colorful characters, whether it be in the intentionally cheesy lounge singer who strolled the seating area during "Wanna B Ur Lovr," to playing the punk rocker in "Canadian Idiot" and even the conservative farmer's look for "Amish Paradise." Later in the night, he dusted off some of Michael Jackson's most famous dance moves in a ballooned suit for "Fat" and would've made George Lucas beam with a "Star Wars"-themed encore of "The Saga Begins" and "Yoda," accented by the cast and crew dressed in full Darth Vader and Stormtrooper regalia.

In between, "Weird Al" and the band demonstrated their stylistic flexibility, teasing the teen pop of Miley Cyrus via "Party In The CIA," hitting the dance floor Lady Gaga style for the side splitting "Perform This Way" and rapping a la Chamillionaire throughout "White And Nerdy" (by far the most overt ownership of his geeky charm). In between set changes, big screen interludes ranging from doctored celebrity interviews to shout outs from "Seinfeld," "The Simpsons" and "The Cleveland Show" only added to the laughter and further pointed out Yankovic's continuous impact on culture that's just as entertaining and uproarious as it was during his "Dr. Demento Show" debut a long, long time ago in a galaxy far away.

Related articles:

Weird Al" Yankovic - "One on One" - October 2007

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