Weird Al Yankovic, Comerica Theatre, 8/5/12 (Video)

Weird Al Yankovic Comerica Theatre Sunday, August 5, 2012

"He who is tired of Weird Al is tired of life." -- Homer Simpson

If some massive holocaust does, in fact, bring about Armageddon at the end of December, there are a few things that are guaranteed to survive the ginormous conflagration: Cockroaches, Twinkies, Keith Richards, and "Weird Al" Yankovic.

We're absolutely certain about the latter only because it seems like the parody signer's lengthy career has survived and thrived for nearly three straight decades with absolutely no sign of slowing down. (In fact, he's kept on longer than many of the artist he's sent up over the years.) Yankovic himself appears to have weathered the passage of time himself, as he's about to turn 53 years old but can bounce around a stage with as much energy as a performer half his age.

And Weird Al did so with gusto last night at Comerica Theatre as he brought his latest tour through the Valley and kept a packed house in stitches with his amusing antics.

While your average superstar is content to remain perched in front of a microphone for the entirety of a live performance, Weird Al was a flurry of movement, bounding around during the concert's tight two-our running time and blowing through more than 16 songs (even more if you count the mid-concert medley containing "Eat It," "Lasagna," and bits from a dozen of his greatest hits). He also went through at least 10 different costume changes over the course of the evening, ranging from a gigantic fat suit for "Fat and a safari outfit for "Skipper Dan."

One has to wonder if Yankovic sold his soul to the devil at the crossroads (a la blues legend Robert Johnson) in order to maintain his youthful vigor, lengthy career, and ample fanbase. Many Weird Al fanatics in attendance last night even got a chance to interact with the singer in up-close-and-personal fashion. After adorning himself with a lounge lizard-like red and black faux tiger-skin suit during the sultry Beck/Prince parody "Wanna B Ur Lovr," he walked up the Comerica Theatre aisle and sang to females in the audience while thrusting his crotch in their faces.

While most of Yankovic's concerts are largely similar - containing performances of a number of his latest and greatest songs bookended by video clips of his appearances in movies, various Weird Al references from pop culture, and his hilarious pseudo-interviews - there was something new to be learned at last night's affair (besides what his junk looks like up close): He makes for an ugly woman. Said fact was demonstrated when the video for his infamous Lady Gaga parody "Perform this Way" played in the background during the song and featured Yankovic's face grafted via CGI onto a Gaga-esque female's body.

Another thing we glommed from the show: Weird Al is a chameleonic musician who can adapt and ape any sort of musical style, as evidenced by his numerous style parodies mimicking the signature sound of a variety of rock and pop superstars. To wit: "CNR," a hilarious number touting the Chuck Norris-like superhuman abilities of the late Charles Nelson Reilly, is a tribute to the distortion-happy garage pastiche of the White Stripes, while "Craigslist" is Yankovic attempt to channel the rock sleaze of Jim Morrison and the Doors.

Other highlights from the show include an appearance by stormtroppers and other costume-clad members of the local Star Wars enthusiast group the Dune Sea Garrison onstage during the encore performance of "The Saga Begins" (arguably the only good thing to be associated with The Phantom Menace) and "Yoda."

It ended the show on a high note and offered local nerds a chance to get close to one of their geek gods, without getting an eyeful of his crotch.

Set List: 1. "Polka Face" 2. "TMZ" 3. "You Make Me" 4. "Smells Like Nirvana" 5. "Skipper Dan" 6. "Party in the CIA" 7. "CNR" 8. "Canadian Idiot" 9. "Wanna B Ur Lovr" 10. Medley: "Money for Nothing/Beverly Hillbillies," "Whatever You Like," "Another Tattoo," "eBay," "I Want A New Duck," "Rye or the Kaiser," "Spam," "My Bologna," "Ode To A Superhero," "Lasagna," and "Eat It" 11. "Amish Paradise" 12. "Craigslist" 13. "Perform This Way" 14. "White & Nerdy" 15. "Fat"

Encore: 16. "The Saga Begins" 17. "Yoda"

Critic's Notebook:

Last Night: Weird Al Yankovic at Comerica Theatre

Personal Bias: I've attended four out of Weird Al's last five concerts here in Phoenix

The Crowd: A mix of geeks, nerds, sportos, motorheads, sluts, bloods, wastoids, dweebies, dickheads...they all adored him. They think he's a righteous dude.

Overheard in the Crowd: "Is he really shoving his crotch in that girl's face?"

Random Notebook Dump: I think this show has set a world record for the most ugly shirts and Hawaiian shirt in one place at one time.

One More Thing: A pair of beer-guzzling bros two rows in front of me kept shouting things out at various points during the videos and especially when Weird Al was performing. Sometimes it was cute, but mostly it was annoying.

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Benjamin Leatherman is a staff writer at Phoenix New Times. He covers local nightlife, music, culture, geekery, and fringe pursuits.