Time Warner Cable Amphitheater at Tower City, Taste of Cleveland
September 3, 2010
We got up early and left the house by 7:00 a.m. The ride was pretty smooth, though we hit some strong rain right at the Ohio border. The rain washed away Jackie's temporary license plate, but apparently the multiple police officers we passed didn't notice or care.
We got to the hotel in nearby Independence earlier than I thought, and I took a long nap. Then, showered and went to a steak house across from the hotel. The food was good, but we were severely under-dressed for that place.
We headed out to Cleveland with what should have been plenty of time. We passed the Rock 'n Roll Hall Of Fame, and Progressive Field no problem, but once we got near the venue, every road leading to it was closed. It was frustrating that we could see the venue, but not get to it. So after following multiple misleading detour signs, we finally ended up on some abandoned side street and ran across a cop directing traffic, who had no idea how to get to the amphitheater other than it was in that general direction.
Once we finally found parking, no one in the staff knew where the will call widow was. Turns out their will call was some lady in the parking lot with a clipboard who would give us general admission tickets to get us into the venue where the real will call window was hidden somewhere inside. So, as you can imagine, I was very frustrated by the time I sat down literally one minute before "Fun Zone" started.
It's amazing what a "Weird Al" Yankovic concert will do to change your mood around. We were sitting in the second row, right in front of the speakers. Nancy was sitting in front of us. Alison and her friend were sitting behind us. The stage was very high and it was hard to see the entire video screens and Ruben Valtierra was beyond our sight. As soon as the video clips started, the people sitting next to me got up and left because the sound was way too loud for them.
Sitting so close to the speakers I heard some sound effects in "Polka Face" that I hadn't heard before. The alternating songs were "You Make Me" and "Good Old Days." One of the cheerleaders in "Smells Like Nirvana" had tattooed arms, which added nicely to the effect. Al intentionally forgot the next verse and I couldn't hear over the speakers if the audience sang along. Steve Jay threw his bass guitar very high in the air at the end of the song.
Al came out late for "Skipper Dan" and Jim West had his back to the audience until Al got on stage. He started singing mid-sentence on the words "drama teacher." During the Jessica Simpson interview, I was watching the security guard, who turned around and laughed at the clip, then had a smile on his face, peeking occasionally, as future video clips played.
"You're Pitiful" had the I Love Bacon, and Atlantic Records Still Sucks t-shirts. Then, one of my new favorite gags, the unnecessarily long introduction for "Let Me Be Your Hog" followed by the super short introduction for "Canadian Idiot." At this point the concert regulars got the first of several surprises when the Justin Timberlake interview clip played.
Al went deep into the audience for "Wanna B Ur Lovr" and sang to at least one female security guard on the way back to the stage. Another surprise as "I'm In Love With The Skipper" was cut from the medley. During "Bedrock Anthem" Steve was kneeling on stage, and Al came over and placed his leg on Steve's shoulder. Steve barely flinched, like this is normal behavior. Then Steve got back at Al during "Gump" where Steve did a silly dance as Al turned towards him in the song.
The Keith Richards interview was revived for after the medley, and the Michael Stipe interview was changed to include the cell phones part after "Craigslist." After "White & Nerdy" the "Dirt And You" video was played. At this point, I should mention that clips that were cut that I can remember from the last time I saw him were the Snoop Dogg interview, Avril Lavigne interview, Tim & Eric clip, Craig Ferguson, Squid Hat, Yo Gabba Gabba, Spice Girls, Twitter, and maybe a few others. I might be off on a few, but previous changes to the clips have been minor, like cutting a clip here or there, or shortening a clip as needed, and this show, it was a bunch of major changes, clearly different then all other dates so far, so something was up.
During "Fat," Al punched Santa and then chased him off stage. And Steve played the bass guitar with his teeth during the jam, then held the guitar straight out upside down and played it.
There were two stormtroopers, and two biker scouts for "The Saga Begins." The dance routine was slightly changed and more animated. At the end of "Yoda," Steve put his bass behind his head, and Al put his accordion behind his head.
After the show, Greg and I traded cards, and he was handing out complimentary bumper stickers in celebration of finally finishing his Make The Rock Hall "Weird" documentary. The after show people were herded from one point to another several times and i got to see Mike and a few other people I hadn't seen yet. They finally sat us in a outdoor tent by the river's edge and told us to wait for Al.
We chatted with Fred for a while, and I got an autograph from Jim, and then in line to meet Al. There was no rush at all, and I asked Al about the changes and he they were for the U.K. tour. He said he cut "I'm In Love With The Skipper" because the U.K. wasn't familiar with Gilligan, and the video clips were replaced because, since it was the first time they are playing U.K., all the video clips were new to them, so he could bring back some clips that were overplayed in the U.S. or the U.S. was tired of seeing. My impression was that the video clip changes were more his personal preference than a cultural thing, though I'm sure that factored in a bit too.
I got an autograph from Al and we chatted a bit more, then I talked with Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz for a bit about end of the tour preparations that he had to do, and wished him a happy 30th anniversary with Al.
Said goodbye to Jeremy, Jared, Anna, Alison, and her friend at the buses. Al's bus pulled out while we were saying goodbye. The driver looked as lost as we were coming in because he passed by again, and we later saw the bus on streets of Cleveland. Hope they found their way out in time for tomorrow's show!