June 1, 2007
I was unsure of what traffic would be like on a Friday in and around the state capital, and I knew we had a decent drive ahead of us, so the plan was to leave early. Apparently I was more tired than I thought, because I slept pretty late, and we didn't leave until the afternoon. Even with the late start, I still overbooked the time I thought it would take to get there, so we ended up arriving in Albany with plenty of time to spare.
Once in Albany, I drove around the block the theater was located on looking for a parking space, but finding nothing that I felt safe with, I followed signs to a parking garage which was about two blocks away. The garage had signs posted that they closed at 12:00, so that still gave us time to camp out by the bus after the show, but if the wait ended up being lengthy, we'd have to bail.
We had plenty of time to get dinner, so we walked up the main street, and scouted a few places to eat, before we settled on Chinese food. When the theater mailed me my tickets, they also sent me all these free movie passes. I guess they also do movies at the theater. I obviously had no use for them, but I didn't want them to go to waste, so I gave the tickets to the lady working at the Chinese food restaurant. She was really grateful, and she said her teenage son would put them to good use, so I was glad someone would be using and enjoying them.
We walked back to the parking garage so I could put my leftover food in the cooler and then walked over to the theater. It looked like they had done some renovations since I had last been there. For example, I don't remember the lighted marquee, and once we got inside, the lobby and theater looked bigger than I had remembered.
Once in the lobby, we immediately ran into Ethan and his father. We chatted a bit while waiting on line for merchandise. Because Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz had mentioned to me the night before that the green "Weird Al is my homeboy" t-shirt and signature shirt were unlikely to be reprinted after their initial run ran out, I picked up an extra green shirt just in case. I also picked up a yellow "Weird Al is my homeboy" t-shirt to wear, and for the collection.
We went to find our seats, which were up front, several rows back, and off to Jim West's side of the stage on the aisle. Security had a clear view of us, so picture taking would depend on what the venue had to say, or not say, and what others around us did. Once the show started, most people had their cameras out and security was letting everyone take pictures with no hassle.
The steps going up to the stage were on the aisle where we were sitting, so it looked like Al would make his way into the audience that route. However, after a while, for whatever reason, two stagehands came over, and picked up the steps and carried them backstage. I didn't see any other steps, so I was curious how, or if, Al would do "Wanna B Ur Lovr."
The show was scheduled to start at 7:30, but 7:30 came and went, and there was no indication that the concert was ready to go. Normally, I could care less, but I was getting anxious for it to start already. I was worried if they delayed it too long, my car would be trapped in the parking garage all weekend! The audience was really anxious too. They started chanting for "Weird Al" Yankovic, and applauded members of the stage crew every time one of them walked onto the stage. Even the spotlight got enthusiastically cheered.
Finally, about 8:00, the show started. Immediately the video screens were out of whack. The image on the first and third screens were normal, but the middle screen's image was tiny. It wasn't until the Jessica Simpson interview video clip that a stage hand came out on stage with a remote control to fix it.
The rotating original off of Poodle Hat was "Why Does This Always Happen To Me." It actually got a lot of audible laughs, so I guess not that many people were familiar with it. Al took a break to read the newspaper again, but he was hidden from our view by Jim.
At first I thought the venue was too brightly lit to give a nice effect on "It's All About The Pentiums," but I was incorrect, because the strobe lights gave off a really nice effect. In, what was becoming a trend, Steve Jay rested his back against the wall again for parts of this song.
The shirt sequence for "You're Pitiful" was "I'm With Stupid" followed by a red accordion. Al did a little something different and started to unzip his pants really slowly, which made the audience roar with laughter, only to be immediately surpassed in intensity as Al dropped his pants to reveal the tutu.
Despite my initial guess, Al did "Wanna B Ur Lovr." I assumed it was a last minute decision because the steps had been removed earlier, and there was no pad on the stage for him to fall onto. To get off the stage he sat on the edge of the stage and lowered himself into the audience.
The medley returned back to normal with "I'm In Love With The Skipper" back in the medley. There were no audio or video problems or missed cues this time.
"I'll Sue Ya" had bills, but we were too far away again to get any. The cheerleaders were very energetic during "Smells Like Nirvana." They seem to be finding higher caliber cheerleaders for this tour. At the end of the song, Steve threw his bass into the air very high again.
Al flubbed the lyrics slightly in "Amish Paradise." He said, "They still haven't paid the phone booth in 300 years." Haha. I'm still not sure what that means. I know it's a ton easier to remember everything when you write the words yourself. But I'm very amazed that he doesn't get tongue-tied over lyrics more often than he does. I finally got a nice cell phone picture during the encore. During " Albuquerque," there was the usual improvisations, but also Al fell to the floor and rolled around when he was attaced by weasels.
After the show we met up with Ethan again in the lobby. Michelle, back in her scrubs, and Bev met up with us too. This was most likely their last show for a long time, because Michelle was heading off to basic training in a couple days. Unfortunately her ankle looked worse than it did in Waterbury, CT.
It got very hot in the lobby, so we moved outside. There was a guy playing accordion right near the bus. He was doing cover versions of Al songs and sounded well-practiced. It was a very short wait before Al came out for autographs. As is becoming custom, he did them seated on the steps of the bus. We still had about an hour left before we had to leave to make it back to the parking garage on time. I actually wouldn't have minded being at the front of the line this time, but we were too slow to react (except Ethan), and ended up at the very end.
While we were waiting at the end of the line, Jim and Jon walked by. I called out Jon's name twice to no reaction, and then finally yelled "Bermuda!" and he turned around. He stopped by very briefly to pick up some pictures from Jackie and chat a bit. He mentioned that they had spent the day reworking the way they did the audio cues, so it was now almost impossible for anyone to miss their cue and end up in a situation again like in Glenside, PA.
By that point, Ethan had already finished meeting Al. He had raced to the front of the line because he had S.A.T. tests the next morning, and wanted to get home as quickly as possible so he could be relatively well rested. As more and more time passed, thinking about the garage closing, and the long drive home, I wished I had been quicker and done the same.
The line was moving a little slower than I would have liked, but we still were within a safe timeframe before we had to be back at the parking garage. Bev, Michellem and Jackie went up to Al first, talked to him for a little bit and got pictures. In Glenside, PA, Al jokingly closed the line right before my turn. I decided to combat that from happening again, I'd wear a disguise this time. It must have been very convincing, because as I walked up to Al, he said, "Who is this stranger?"
Al decided to open up to me and share some anecdotes about the crew, the show itself, and how touring for him is an entirely different experience than it is for the other guys in the band. At one point, during one enlightening discussion, Al had mentioned something to me, and I had jokingly replied that he should make Rubén do that instead. Except instead of putting the emphasis on the right syllable in Rubén's name, it came out sounding like Reuben. Immediately, Rubén poked his head around the corner and scolded me! "Reuben is a sandwich!!" I'm glad I was still wearing my disguise, because it was really embarrassing. I immediately apologized to Rubén, but he disappeared as quickly as he came, so I'm not sure if he heard me.
First, I have nothing but respect for Rubén, and I only meant it as a joke, and thought I was in a private conversation with Al. I would have never said something like that had I known he could hear us. And second. I actually know how to pronounce his name correctly, so I'm not sure what possessed me to do so otherwise. I'm pretty sure Rubén got the joke, and he didn't look upset, but just in case, Rubén, in the unlikely event that you were offended, I apologize.
I think one or two other people snuck in after us, but before we had even gotten to the corner, Al had gotten on the bus, and they were ready to roll. Michelle, Bev, Jackie, parked in the same general direction we had, so we chatted for a little bit on the walk over, and with about 10 minutes to spare, got to the parking garage.
The lone guy left working that night had already pulled his car out of the parking garage and shut down as much of the parking garage as he could. He was waiting on us and another car before he could go home. He said he was giving the other car until exactly midnight, then he was locking up and leaving, and they'd be stuck there until Monday. He asked if we came from New Jersey just to see Al, and when we told him we did, he was impressed. He gave us directions back to the highway, and wished us a safe trip home. I don't know if the other car ever made it out that night, but we pretty much pulled out of there only minutes before midnight, so my guess would be no.
You can click on the highlighted words above and below to see more concert photos.