Orange County Fair
Costa Mesa, CA
July 18, 2007
The original plan was for me to get up early in the morning and go to work with Vikki. Jay would pick me up and we'd hang out a bit at his place before going to the fair. Since I wasn't feeling great, I slept in at Vikki's and just relaxed the whole day. Jay and Kathy came by to pick me up at around 4:00 and we left for the fair.
Kathy treated us to dinner at the Rainforest Cafe in a mall near the fair. We left the mall a couple of minutes after 7:00 and got stuck in a long line of traffic waiting to get into the parking lots at the fair. Every entrance to the parking lots were closed, and we ended up being sent from one place to another, until we finally parked at the Costa Mesa High School.
Vikki got stuck in the same traffic as we did, and we ran into each other in the parking lot. Jordan and Jack were with her. She had forgotten her tickets at home, and was very worried about convincing the ticket office to reprint the tickets and let her in, since the tickets weren't purchased under her name. I gave her some money in case she needed to buy new tickets.
To make it more interesting, the entrance we used to get into the fair was the furthest possible entrance from the stage "Weird Al" Yankovic was playing on. Jay, Kathy, and I arrived as the Jessica Simpson interview video clip was starting. I wasn't too worried about missing the first couple songs, since I had seen them many times before, but it was Jay and Kathy's first show, so I was bummed for them, especially since Kathy really likes the polkas.
We settled in quickly, and I went over and said hello to Melissa and introduced myself to Richard. I went back to my seat when "It's All About The Pentiums" started. Jim West was shaking his guitar trying to get some extra sounds out of it during parts of the song.
It really wasn't until "You're Pitiful" that I could see Al was feeling better than he had been the previous night. His voice cracked a few times, but he looked and sounded much better. The shirt sequence included the red accordion, and Atlantic Records Sucks t-shirt. Al slowly took off his pants and shoes, and Steve Jay kind of looked over at him and smirked.
The people sitting directly behind me screamed at the top of their lungs when "Wanna B Ur Lovr" started. I thought I would go deaf. Al went up to a person in the front row and got directly in her face. He then went down the aisle on the other side, before returning up front, and climbed over two rows of empty seats and stood on a empty chair. He sang, "I wanna be your beef burrito. Am I making this perfectly clear?" to Kathy.
Vikki, Jack, and Jordan arrived and sat in their front row seats right as the medley started. I found out later that they wouldn't honor the forgotten tickets, but luckily Vikki had run into Al's manager, Jay Levey, outside of the assigned seating area, explained the situation to him, and he let them into the assigned seating area so they could get to their seats.
During the medley, the stage manager took a rag out of his pocket and polished the harmonica during "Ode To A Superhero." Al stared down Steve Jay again during "I'll Sue Ya." Very few dollar bills fell, and they didn't land near us at all.
I knew we were in for a big treat when, right before "The Saga Begins," several stormtroopers and Darth Vader walked out onto the stage! As the song started, they lined up behind Al, Jim, and Steve, filling the whole width of the stage, and stood at attention. Steve had to gently push one of the stormtroopers out of the way to get to his bass guitar. When the music picked up, the stormtroopers and Darth Vader started to dance! It was one of the funniest things I had seen. After the song was over, it took a little while for them to clear the stage, and Rubén Valtierra had to play an extra verse of the Imperial March to buy some extra time. Al nodded a thank you to them as they left the stage.
During the Yoda Chant, I glanced over at the woman sign language translator, and she just gave up and shrugged her shoulders. Apparently the audience was collectively having trouble singing "Yoda" because Al screamed at the audience to "Do it right!" At the end of "Yoda," Steve sniffed Al's accordion, and Al raised the accordion over his head.
The cheerleaders for "Smells Like Nirvana" were good, and Al playfully forgot the lyrics to the next verse at the appropriate spot in the song. He just stood on stage and stared off into the audience. Jordan got the Nirvana cup.
For "Amish Paradise," everybody waved their arms and sang along as loud as Al. "White & Nerdy" also got loud cheers as Al came out on the Segway. Jim and Steve's vocals were loud enough to hear, and they were both very animated during the song.
"Albuquerque" had the usual improvisations, a little more so then the previous night, perhaps because Al was feeling better. Steve went over to Jim's side of the stage and hung out for a long while.
After the show, Tonya gave me some super cool rare items for my collection including a cup from a show in Houston so rare that I wonder if Jon "Bermuda" Schwartz has even seen it. Everybody hung out under the bleachers hoping Al would come out. Al never came out, but Darth Vader did, so I got my picture taken with him. I thought I had lost my camera, and Tonya offered to help me look for it, but it was in a plastic bag I was holding the whole time. Sure, it's funny now.
Eventually security kicked us out and everybody waited by the gate. Vikki gave me a copy of a book about the Midway aircraft carrier, and I got my picture taken with Jack, who was one of the stars of "White & Nerdy" video. He specifically wore the same shirt he wore in the video just for me.
After some more goofy pictures, Melissa, Jay, Kathy and I went off to find Richard, and work out details of how we'd get my luggage from Jay's car to Melissa's. Melissa was parked very close, so she drove us to Costa Mesa High School. At that point, I thought it would be the last time I saw Jay and Kathy this trip, so I said goodbye to them. Luckily, I was able to see them two more times before I'd go home!
You can click on the highlighted words above and below to see more concert photos.
Darth Vader and me photo courtesy of Kevin Cable.