Las Vegas, NV
May 12, 2015
I was very excited to see the tour dates listed for The Mandatory Tour, and just as excited to see that the first five shows were going to be in Las Vegas. Jackie and I go to Las Vegas at least once or twice a year, so it was pretty much a given we would go. I also had two complimentary nights at MGM Grand on my players card, so we took advantage and cashed those in as well.
We ended up heading down to Planet Hollywood around noon to pick up our tickets. They only had the tickets printed for the first three nights so we had to go back and pick up the others at a later date. After picking them up, I headed to the theater to take some pictures of the new merchandise through the gates. It turns out Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz had the same idea.
Jon was really excited about the tour and that made me more excited. He let us in on a few spoilers to the setlist. He said it was very different from other tours and among the differences were that the polka no longer opened the show and that "Fat" was now in the middle of the setlist. He also teased us about a new project that is happening. He was really excited about that and could only tease us with words like "accordion" and saying they had sourced his material and he hoped it would be ready by Christmas.
After chatting with Jon, we headed out to find lunch and take some pictures by the many posters and other advertising that was around. One thing is that the promoter and casino did not scrimp on advertising. Everywhere you look, there is an advertisement for the shows.
After lunch we walked back to the room to get changed and get ready to meet Jon Katz, Alicia Carney, Amerah Ames, and Shelley Jones for dinner. We met up at the box office and settled on cheeseburgers for dinner. Dinner was fun. We chatted about what changes we expected on the setlist. Some were surprisingly accurate.
We headed into the theater and I stopped by to talk to Melissa and get the latest merchandise. Pretty much all of the shirts are new, and the hat is really nice. They also have a few inexpensive items such as a keychain and buttons.
Jackie and I were sitting in the front row on the aisle. I'm not sure how we scored such good seats as everyone around us had VIP passes. We were also among many friends. Bob Groder sat behind us and Sara Alperin and Helen Ketchum were behind him. We waved to Peggy Riley Philips across the theater.
When "Fun Zone" Started, the place erupted. After some new video clips, a video screen came on showing "Weird Al" Yankovic outside overlooking The Strip. He started singing "Tacky" and the camera followed him all the way into the theater. When he got to me in the audience, he started playing with my beard.
Next, Al put on a hat and did "Lame Claim to Fame" followed by "Now That's What I Call Polka" and more video clips. Up next was "Perform This Way" with new outfits for Jim West, Rubén Valtierra and Al. Jim still had a cheese head, but was wearing gold. Rubén was an evil queen, and Al had on an octopus suit with a lighted light bulb on his head.
Next up was more video clips and "Dare To Be Stupid". then more video clips and "Fat." There were more video clips and Al came out in a blue shirt and tie and performed "First World Problems" then immediately went into "Foil." As he started "Foil" the stage manager rolled out the set to Now I'm Cooking and for the second verse, Al donned a foil hat.
More video clips followed by "Smells Like Nirvana" then more video clips and I was a little surprised to hear "Party In The CIA." It turns out that was the start of the medley which included "It's All About The Pentiums", "Handy", "Bedrock Anthem", "Another One Rides The Bus", "Ode To A Superhero", "Gump", "Inactive", "eBay", and ended with "Canadian Idiot". Noteworthy was that the band stayed in suits the whole time, and for "Inactive" Al rested in a recliner. "Canadian Idiot" had streamers.
More video clips and then Al came out for "Wanna B Ur Lovr" in a new suit and hat. During the next set of video clips, the stage manager started setting up stools in a semicircle with candles surrounding it. There were a lot of clips about "Eat It" and then the band launched into an unplugged medley of "Eat It", "I Lost On Jeopardy", "I Love Rocky Road", and "Like A Surgeon", each in a different unplugged style. For "Like A Surgeon", Jon moved from the semicircle back to his drum set.
After more video clips, Al performed "White & Nerdy" then more video clips and the last new song "Word Crimes". For "Word Crimes", Al was wearing a striped suit and the band was in black shirts with punctuation marks on them. Jim was "@", Steve Jay was "&" , Jon was "!", and Rubén was "?".
More video clips and the show closed with "Amish Paradise". Jim ran off stage to get his guitar and Al started a James Brown routine complete with cape to introduce the band and walk off stage.
In preparation for the encore, the stage was filled with smoke, which ran through the whole encore. It was a nice visual, even if it was hard to see at times as we were enveloped in smoke being in the front row and lower than the stage. For the encore, Al performed "Cell Phones", "The Saga Begins", and "Yoda".
After the show we met up with Helen, and Sara in the theater lobby, and Mrs. Darth Vader took a picture for us. Helen hung around with us for a while. We had plans to go to karaoke with Jon, Amerah, Alicia, and Shelley, but the long wait and East Coast time caught up with us, and we retired to our hotel room instead.