Poodle Hats

San Diego County Fair
Del Mar, CA
June 19, 2003

San Diego County Fair

When The Poodle Hat Tour was first scheduled, there were four California dates in a row -- Del Mar, Kelseyville, Santa Clara, and San Luis Obispo (SLO). This was perfect for me because it meant I could go back to California, which I had been wanting to do since January. I was last out there in January for the taping of the "Set In Skin" show on VH1. That was a rushed trip, and this time I would be able to relax, and split my time between seeing Al shows and seeing some sights and people I missed the last time. It also would give me the opportunity to see the Al-related tourist sights of Cal Poly SLO, Al's college.

Eventually the Santa Clara show was rescheduled to a later date, and it was kind of a relief. Ticket prices were more expensive this tour and there was a lot of driving, not to mention the cost of plane tickets, hotels, food, and other entertainment that I would have to factor in. Plus it also now meant I could spend a day in San Fransisco.

When I was out in California, I would be staying and touring with Vikki, and after touring was over, visiting and staying wih my cousin Jay. I flew in on June 18, and Vikki picked me up at the airport. We ran some errands, then I got to meet her family and our other touring buddy, her son Jordan. Vikki's family was extremely nice and generous, and it was kind of nice to be pampered while I was out there. So, a big thanks to Vikki and her family for a wonderful time, and thanks for everything.

Our plan on the day of the show was for Vikki and I to meet Beth, go to Seaworld together, and then all three of us to the "Weird Al" Yankovic concert. Vikki's family would be going to the concert seperately and we'd pick up Jordan after the show and leave for Kelseyville immediately after the show.

We got a late start on Seaworld but it worked out well because Beth was running late too. We met Beth at the front gate, and went in. We got some lunch, went to see the sharks, and the Shamu show, and then headed to the newest attraction, the 4-D movie, "R.L. Stine's Haunted Lighthouse."

Overall the movie was cheesy and the effects were kind of childish, but considering it was based off of a children's book, I don't think I was the target audience, so I didn't expect too much going in. I think little kids would really enjoy it. In case you don't know, Al has a brief cameo in this movie as a pirate waiter. I can't tell you anymore without ruining the surprise, but Al's part was really cute and funny. Two other actors I really enjoy, Christopher Lloyd and Michael McKean, were in the movie too.

After the movie, we went to the dolphins and watched the penguins for a bit then had to leave to make the fair. The fair was large, but we didn't get to see any of it. As we walked towards the fair entrance, a huge vinyl banner greeted us. As part of ticket price, dinner was included. We were hungry and anxious to eat so we went straight to dinner. Dinner was served up in the grandstands. At dinner we were seated near Carlotta, Cinnamon, Megan, and her parents so we went over and talked to them while we were waiting to be served. I had steak for dinner and a big cookie for dessert. During dinner, the band was doing soundcheck, and while we couldn't see the stage from where we were sitting, we could hear quite well. We could see a huge screen that would show clips from upcoming performers that would be at the fair, including Al.

After dinner, we went down to our seats. The seats we had were excellent, second row, right in the center. The stage was high, and we were far enough back to see the whole band. Though it was hard to see Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz on drums and Rubén Valtierra on keyboard at times. Cid, Kevin, and Cinnamon were sitting to the right of us. Carlotta was sitting behind us. Vikki sat on my right, and Beth on my left. I'm not sure where Megan ended up sitting. Cid had made poodle hats for everyone, but had given them all out by the time we got there.

Beth and I went to go get some merchandise. The merchandise was off to the left of the stage. They had lots of new stuff there. There was a blue polo shirt with an embroidered poodle on the breast and logo on the arm, a grey band shirt, black and grey album cover shirts, blue and black baseball caps, a black knit cap, a woman's pullover, a black "Couch Potato" shirt, a backpack, and some leftover shirts from the Orange County Fair.

I picked my stuff just in time because as I was arriving back to my seat, "Fun Zone" started playing. There were some new video clips for the flipping channels video clips, and it ended with various talk show hosts introducing Al. Rubén played some keyboard music, and Al came out with the same outfit he wore of the Craig Kilborn show and performed "Couch Potato." I think this was a great way to start the show off. Al's performance really rocked the place.

From "Couch Potato," Al put on a Hawaiian shirt and went right into "Angry White Boy Polka" complete with an accompanying video and bubbles during the end. Next, Al stopped to talk to the audience and said this was the first show of The Poodle Hat Tour, or as he likes to call it, soundcheck. The band then launched into "Party At The Leper Colony." It was pretty neat to see this song live, though I'm still mixed on whether I like the live version or album version better. Next was "Your Horoscope For Today." There was some video clips that played during each horoscope sign, but the jury is still out whether I like this one live too.

The next song was perhaps the best song of the night, "A Complicated Song." Al picked up a cell phone and excused himself and said he needs to make a call. He then attempted to order a pizza and the music started playing. Very clever. Based on the singing and facial expressions Al made during the song, this was the best performance of the night. I really liked this song on the album, and I like it even more after seeing it live.

Next was the Avril Lavigne interview video clip, and then Al came out in an oversized white suit and performed "Dog Eat Dog." The white suit on this is great, and the part where Al and Jim West and Steve Jay are walking up the corporate ladder is my favorite part. There was a stage hand that needed to come out into the audience to move the white spotlight, and I thought that was funny. It was nice to see this song performed again. The last time I saw it live was on The Off The Deep End Tour.

Next was the Wheel Of Fish, "Bob," and 60% Chance of Rain video clips and then "It's All About The Pentiums." Nothing really changed about this performance from last tour except that the silver suit is new. Al played to our section a few times. There were some more video clips, including Sexxiest Video, firehose, Al conducting an orhestra, and The Simpsons.

Then Al came out in a '70s disco outfit, a bright white suit, pink shirt, black tie with white circles on it, and performed "Wanna B Ur Lovr." He walked around with the greatest cheesy pickup line face. He picked on one girl in the front row for a few lines. The performance was great. I like this song even more than I already did after seeing it live.

There were some more video clips, including River, Justin Timberlake interview, and Celebrity Deathmatch. Then Al performed "Trash Day." This song still does nothing for me. I would have been fine not seeing it. Al and the band were in basketball jerseys each of which had the number 4 on the back.

There were some more video clips, including Dirt, Futurama, NBA Comic Relief Bloopers, David Letterman, Conan O'Brien, King Of The Hill and The Naked Gun, followed by a performance of "Melanie," which also did nothing for me. I could have gone without seeing this one as well.

For the introduction of "One More Minute" he recycled an old gag from The Bad Hair Tour and cut his arm with a large knife. "One More Minute" is one of my favorite songs to see live, and Al's to perform live, because Al gets to interact with the audience. Since the stage was so high, Al had to climb down the steel scaffolding to get to the ground. Everyone in the audience collectively gasped because it was very slippery because it had been lightly misting rain ever since the show started. Fortunately Al didn't slip climbing down the scaffolding or climbing back up again.

After that was the Plots 'R Us video clip and "Money For Nothing / Beverley Hillbillies." Nothing different about this, except, again, a new jacket. The medley consisted of "Jerry Springer," "Jurassic Park," Free Delivery," "eBay," "Theme From Rocky XIII," "Ode To A Superhero," "Lasagna," "Pretty Fly For A Rabbi," "My Bologna," "Gump," and "Eat it." I was a little dissapointed that there were no new concert only songs included and I was surprised to see "Jurassic Park" back in the medley as well. I wish "eBay" had been a full song. I was glad "Theme From Rocky XIII" was back in the medley, it's one of Al's most underrated parodies.

After the medley, other than video clips, the rest of the show was identical to the ending of shows from Touring With Scissors. There was the interview clip with Celine Dion, followed by "Smells Like Nirvana," followed by the Eminem interview clip and "Amish Paradise." The MTV unplugged video clips were next, and that lead int "Fat."

Rubén came back with Chopsticks for his first keyboard solo, and the only unusual thing about "The Saga Begins" was that as Al was standing up from sitting on the stool, his Jedi cloak brushed against the stool and knocked it over. Al just kicked the stool aside.

Rubén's second keyboard solo was the baseball clapping gag that he does, and "Yoda" ended with the same chant as last tour. At the end of the show, as Al was waving goodbye to the audience, Al looked in my direction, and gave a little nod.

We met up with Vikki's family and picked up Jordan. We hung around for a little bit after the show, but we really weren't planning on staying because we knew we had a long drive ahead of us to Kelseyville the next day and we wanted to get a good jump on it. We made it as far as Anaheim that night, which saved us from having to wake up at a totally unreasonable hour.

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