Weird Al delivered a performance like no other at Wolf Trap as he graced the stage supported by a seventy-one piece version of the National Symphony Orchestra. Walking into the venue, everyone who spoke to me just made it clear that the show wulf be amazing. I’ve never seen people jump so quickly to alert you that anyone in the audience is in for a real treat.
The NSO opened the show playing the following nerdy pop culture selections: “The Raider’s March” from Indiana Jones, “Mission: Impossible”, “Theme From Superman” and “Star Wars: The Throne Room and End Credits.”
During the songs an audience member from behind wrongly guessed each track the orchestra played by a mile. An example was when he mistook Star Wars for Rocky. These were some extra laughs I did not expect.
The sounds of the orchestra were beyond incredible and pleasing to every listener – Seamless and flawless performing at its best. The song selections just go to show that anything played by an orchestra sounds magnificent.
A brilliant instrumental lead in created the hype as Weird Al and his band made their way onstage. The night started off with a mash-up of a few of Al’s classic 80’s hits: “I Lost On Jeopardy”, “I Love Rocky Road” and “Like A Surgeon”. The noticeable difference was the jazzy approach on vocals as well as a more laid back band.
Al took a moment to note, “Washington DC is known for many things – some good… But they’re not known for the biggest twine balls”. The band then launched into the shockingly delightful “Biggest Ball of Twine in Minnesota.” The crowd roars were beyond anything I could’ve imagined.
The 2013 released hit “Word Crimes” off of Yankovic’s last album “Mandatory Fun” had everyone clapping and super engaged. The hilarious song criticizing poor grammar was by far the highlight of the first half of the set as it was played/sung speedy and solid – everyone couldn’t help but dance.
“Jurassic Park” featured Yankovic having stage hands wipe the sweat across his forehead, and having a fruity beverage delivered as he jokingly checked his phone. Bits of unexpected comedy like this kept the crowd in awe.
Al exclaimed the following before launching into “Weasel Stomping Day”, one of the wildest songs of his career: “I don’t want to be controversial here but I like that people say happy holidays.
Sometimes I wanna shout to the world.. Happy weasel stomping day!” Wearing viking helmets and chanting, this song was proof that Yankovic could do no wrong.
The drummer and bass player left the stage before “You Don’t Love Me Anymore.” Al joked that he would have to make do with the other 85 people on stage (pointing to the massive orchestra).
Hilarity ensued through “You Don’t Love Me Anymore”.
Every single small gesture Al and the band acted upon was absolutely astonishing. Yankovic used a guitar as a prop, jokingly pretending to play and garner applause. He proceeded to smash the guitar at the end of the song and was met by roars of applause from the audience.
Small wardrobe changes, mainly shirts’ happened here and there during the first half of the set. Yankovic quickly distracted the crowd and ran off stage as he would shout “Tuba Solo!” or “Drum Solo!”
Next was Pharell Williams’ parody “Tacky”. As the song progressed Yankovic ran around the venue singing and interacting with the crowd. He made it all the way up to the lawn, even stealing a park rangers’ hat to wear for a second.
Hearing the bugs in between songs is a really special feeling at Wolf Trap. The beautiful setting has made for some of the best and most organic concerts I’ve ever seen.
Yankovic joked that the whole tour with the NSO only happened so the band could perform Harvey the Wonder Hamster”. The end of the twenty one second track from 1993 was met with colorful streamers shooting into the crowd.
“Jackson Park Express” was hilarious. “I never wanna see you cry so let me cauterize your teardrops with an arc welder.”
Seamlessly transitioning between genres is Yankovic’s specialty and he happens to excel at all of them whether it be rock, rap or something completely indescribable.
Various clips of Weird Al were shown during breaks between the last four songs so Yankovic could make elaborate costume changes. The clips reminded you of how legendary the performer is and how he truly is a one of a kind comedic icon.
“Smells Like Nirvana” featured Al in the signature grunge outfit/wig and was executed with the utmost force, exciting the crowd for what was yet to come.
Next was “Dare to Be Stupid” – full Devo costumes and a perfect 80s synth sound were followed by Yankovic and his band copying the iconic band’s stage antics.
“White & Nerdy” as unbelievable. Yankovic came out in the amusing gangsta outfit and strolled along on his segway while singing/rapping the song with an incredible flow throughout his incredible lyrics.
1996’s hit “Amish Paradise” ended the set and was a reminder of Yankovic’s consistent hits over the decades since his debut in 1976.
A Star Wars encore was miraculous as “The Saga Begins” and “Yoda” featured a slew of stormtroopers on stage and massive crowd singalongs.
The top-selling comedy musician of all-time sure put on an amazing show. Catch him if you can.