A music celebrity in North America, quite some popularity in Australia and a scattered, but solid fanbase in Europe (where “popularity” would be a very optimistic term): For music lovers, Weird Al Yankovic undoubtedly is the King of Parodies, who is however not only transforming well -known songs into new meanings or polkas, but having own songs as well. I follow Weird Al since the early 2000’s and saw my first show of him in 2004 in Myrtle Beach, SC. Flyctory.com already featured a trip report about his Ridiculously Self-Indulgent, Ill-Advised Vanity Tour in 2018. Now, Al is touring with the Strings Attached, which will make me travel to the USA twice.
Listing all the success of Weird Al and his band members in the States would blow this posting. Number one songs, multiple Grammy Awards and other nominations – it is well deserved that “Weird Al” is having a very high popularity in the States. His biggest hit in Germany was Amish Paradise, a parody of Coolio’s Gangsta’s Paradise and one of his absolute classics also on the other side of the Atlantic.
Weird Al “Strings Attached” – The Venue
The concert was held at the Bank of New Hampshire Pavilion at Gilford, NH, a minor city close to Lake Winnipesaukee. The area is quite frequented for recreation and water sports. Laconia Airport is closeby, but this airfield is not used for major commercial flights (there is a charter company, though). The venue hosts 7,500 people. Most of them are in reserved seats under a convered roof, some of them are on the back of the stage on lawn (you can get lawn chairs for free with your admission). I had second row tickets quite on the right wing, which were roughly 80 USD.
The venue is beautiful and hosts a lot of stores with food and games to entertain yourself around. The hill where the audience is sitting is quite shallow. Thus, the stage is quite high compared to the first rows. The staff was amazing and friendly. The parking fee for ordinary parking was 15 USD and required a some five minute walk. I absolutely loved the venue. However, after the concert, leaving the parking lot felt a bit too dangerous as there was too limited light and people going to their cars and cars leaving the lot shared the same road at a couple of spots.
Weird Al “Strings Attached” – The Show
As said above, Weird Al Yankovic was not only supported by his band, but also by a symphonic orchestra for this tour. The orchestra is regional and does not travel with the band (or at least does a few shows with them). They start the concert and are more or less their own support act playing a some 25 minute instrumental set, followed by a 20 minute intermission. The music played by the orchestra are mostly movie soundtracks. Weird Al’s show lasts about 90 minutes.
As for every Weird Al concert, the show started with Fun Zone, which was great to be played by the orchestra. After a medley of classics, there are nine more songs, for which Al at most changes his jacket or similar, including The Biggest Ball of Twinie in Minnesota, Word Crimes, One More Minute, Harvey the Wonder Hamster and Tacky. For One More Minute and Tacky, Al leaves the stages and performs in the audience. For the following songs, Al and the band redress, so that video screen intermissions are used. The songs are Smells Like Nirvana, Dare To Be Stupid, White and Nerdy and Amish Paradise. The encore is classic, containing The Saga Begins and Yoda. For the first time, Yankovic and the band are supported by background singers.
Weird Al “Strings Attached” – My View
Wow, adding an orchestra to the band was a great idea. In some songs, it is just amazing. Maybe Harvey the Wonder Hamster is the highlight of the show, as it is fully played by the classic instruments. Maybe also due to my seating position and the sound there, the orchestra felt too passive, too quiet in some other songs, though. I guess it is very hard to select songs which are great to be played with an orchestra on the one hand and on the other pleasing the crowds with all the hits. Eat It and Fat were out of the setlist after the release of the Neverland documentary. It was a great evening at a great venue. Look forward to see Al again in Foxwoods Casino the following day and in Indianapolis in late August.
Weird Al “Strings Attached” Gilford – The Gallery
Though I just had ordinary seats and my compact cameras, I did some nice shots of the shows. Here is the major size picture gallery featuring 147 pictures: