Amish Paradise

American Music Theatre
Lancaster, PA
July 14, 2011

It was a super busy week at work, so I was very glad for the day off. Jackie was in Kentucky for a model horse show so I was on my own for a few days. Mike was joining our little group instead as I got tickets for him because he was on his honeymoon when they went on sale.

I knew immediately as soon as the concert was announced what I would wear. I would dress as the bored tourist from the "Amish Paradise" video, complete with a backwards baseball cap, blue plaid shirt, and bright yellow t-shirt declaring "I *heart* Amish.

I made last minute dinner plans with Adrian, and Anne, and we debated going out for Thai food, but instead settled on Good n Plenty, which is a super delicious Pennsylvania Dutch homestyle restaurant that I always go on my annual trip to Hershey. After a last minute open invitation, which only Mike took me up on, I ran around the house like a constipated weiner dog gathering some supplies and hit the road about 1:15.

As I was entering Good n Plenty into my GPS I realized I had a minor problem, which requires a little backstory. About 10 years ago, before global positioning systems were widely available, I got a GPS unit for Christmas. It was a great machine at the time, top of the line, the best of the best. All of my friends were jealous. The problem is, today, it makes a nice paperweight. You have to preload maps into it, it only holds the equivalent of a couple states at a time, the maps are outdated, they no longer make updates for it, and it takes a good couple of minutes to find the satellites and calculate your journey. I only keep it around for emergencies, and if I can't borrow Dad's brand new GPS for some reason.

Well, this week, Dad's GPS was double-booked, as Jackie had it with her in Kentucky, which is fine because I felt she needed it on her trip more than I did, and I go to Good n Plenty enough times that I knew roughly where it was. Or so I thought. So, to make a long story short, as I get closer to Lancaster, I no longer have detailed maps, I feel like the GPS is leading me in circles, and I don't recognize anything as familiar. I was lost.

So, now not only am I worried I won't get to dinner on time, but more importantly I also have no idea where the venue is, and I have everybody's tickets. But I figure if continue to follow the GPS, I'll eventually recognize something, or get close enough that a local can direct me the rest of the way.

Well as I'm just about ready to pull over and ask for directions, to my huge surprise, I drive right past a big sign that says: "Weird Al" Yankovic Tonight 7:30 pm. It's the theater! Just then Mike texted me to let me know he was almost to the restaurant. I texted him back and asked him to meet me at the theater instead and I would explain when he got there.

American Music Theatre

So Mike picked me up and we headed over the restaurant and waited for Adrian and Anne. Luckily the place is pretty empty so there was no harm in all of us running a little behind schedule. We were seated and a couple of minutes later, we were joined by some folks from Florida.

The food kept coming out, and the Floridians noticed everyone's Weird Al t-shirts and engage us in a conversation about Al. For some reason, they also raved about the milk here, which prompted almost everyone to order a glass. With our bellies full, we started getting silly and did a lot of laughing. Then as the Floridians were leaving, one of them leans to Anne and said, and I quote, "That wasn't you dear, I missed my mouth." which sent us over the edge.

We collected ourselves, took some obligatory group photos outside the restaurant, then headed over the theater. Despite there being an open parking spot right next to mine directly in front of the theater, Mike parked around back.

We headed inside and waited in line for new merchandise. Nancy and Mary and her friend stopped by briefly to say hello, and I got the new t-shirt, water bottle, and hat. They didn't have the t-shirt with the updated tour dates or the tote bag, but Jeremy later said he'd pick them up for me at another show. The merchandise girl gave me a few extra Alpocalypse trading cards, and told me she'd have to think up some more merchandise for next time because I already have everything.

The theater is just as nice inside as it is outside and the sound is great. The stage is large, but for some reason there's only one video screen set up on stage and two up off to the side. There is also no visible security, and there was an announcement everyone was free to take non-flash photography if they wanted. Our seats are fourth row, dead center. Perfect.

I stayed spoiler-free on the new setlist and I'm glad I did. Right from the start, things were different. Instead of the changing channels video clip, the Alpocalypse promo videos opens the show. "Polka Face" is still the opening song, but instead of the sped up live video that usually plays behind Al, the new animated video plays. And it is hilarious. I was laughing so hard, I can't wait to see it again.

Next up was "Frank's 2000" Tv" followed by "TMZ" which was very good live. We were treated to a bass solo by Steve Jay, followed by "You Don't Love Me Anymore" which, once it started, received the second loudest cheers of the night. I had no idea Lancaster related with this song so well. This was one of the better concerts I have seen, they should have taped this one for the DVD.

After "You Don't Love Me Anymore" we were treated to a drum solo repise, where Bermuda took great care to wipe the sweat off his head and put on a sweatband before banging out a couple beats. The setup was longer than the solo.

Next up was "You Make Me." Al had a new shirt and wig for "Smells Like Nirvana" and Jim West was finally outfitted in grunge looking shirt. Al forgot the verse and the cheerleaders were pretty entertaining. Next up was "Skipper Dan" followed by "Party In The CIA" where all the guys were wearing dark suits, dark ties, earpieces, and dark sunglasses.

After some more video clips, Al did "CNR", "Let Me Be Your Hog" and "Canadian Idiot," Some more videos, then "Wanna B Ur Lovr", videos, and a brand new medley, which consisted of "Money For Nothing/Beverley Hillbillies*", "Whatever You Like", "Another Tattoo", "eBay", "I want A New Duck", "Theme To Rocky XIII", "Spam", "My Bologna", "Ode To A Superhero", "Lasagna", and "Eat It". It was a surprise to see some oldies from the 1980s appear.

More videos, then "Amish Paradise" which unsurprisingly got the loudest cheers of the evening. "Craigslist" had Al scold the snotty barista from the coffee shop on Chestnut St. At that point someone in the audience screamed really loudly and without missing a beat, Al said "There she is now."

"Perform This Way" finally got the costume justice it deserves. Al was still wearing the peacock costume, but Steve Jay was dressed as a skeleton with a top hat, Jim West was covered in cheese, including a cheese hat, Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz was dressed as a nun, and Ruben Valtierra was wearing a gold outfit covered with bees, and a beehive for his hat. The costumes really improved the overally performance of the song and energy of the crowd greatly.

Steve was doing some air texting during "White & Nerdy" and the show ended with "Fat". The crowd gave a standing ovation and was very energetic. After a few minutes, Ruben came out and led the audience in a new very entertaining cheer. Out on the stage for "The Saga Begins"" was Boba Fett, a TIE pilot, four stormtroopers, Darth Vader, and a silver Boba Fett character I don't remember from the movies. Noted for it's absense was "Cell Phones" and as usual, the show closed with "Yoda".

After the show I ran into Jeremy, Dave, and Terry, in the lobby and then waited out by the buses. I went to the car to get my smashed guitar from Atlantic City hoping to get the last autograph I need, that of the elusive Jim West. I waited by the buses with Jeremy, Alison, and Debby, but the band was in an obvious hurry as they boarded the buses quickly and without stopping for autographs. Al came out shortly after and boarded the bus and they left quickly.

Adrian, Anne, Mike and Nancy joined our small group and hung around the parking lot for a while making fun of my antiquated GPS, before everyone finally called it a night. Adrian offered to let me follow him back to New Jersey, but I was confident that I could get home fine, so I politely declined. On the way home, not far from the venue, I passed through a tiny town called Paradise. A nice coincidentce to end the evening, an autentic real life Amish Pardise.

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