Wildwoods Convention Center
August 6, 2007
I initially didn't intend to attend this concert. The last time I was in Wildwood was in 1996, and the Convention Center had the look, feel, and acoustics of a high school gymnasium. It was easily the worst sounding "Weird Al" Yankovic concert that I had ever been to, and it was bad enough to make me swear to never go back there again. On top of that, it was a Monday night and Wildwood is practically the farthest point in New Jersey from me.
I started having second thoughts when I was told that the Convention Center had been rebuilt recently in a different location, and was much more modern and acoustically better. I was still undecided, but the combination of there being a second row seat still available, home state loyalty, and curiosity about the new venue, I finally gave in and decided to go. After 70 previous concerts, this would be the first one that I was attending alone.
The weather looked cloudy and rainy, so I scrapped my original plans to spend the day on the beach, and instead left around 2:30 after feeding Kiko and taking care of Jackie's plants while she was away at her father's for the week. I made really good time and arrived in Wildwood at about 5:15. The sun was out, but there were signs that it had been raining, so I made the right choice not to go earlier.
I walked from the Convention Center to the end of the boardwalk, stopping every once in a while to take in some sights. Little had changed since 1996. After I got back from my walk, I noticed that the buses had arrived. They were parked way in the back, almost out of view of the boardwalk. They had to drive under the boardwalk to get there. It would be impossible to get to them after the show.
I found a place to sit down and eat, and then walked out on the really long beach to put my feet and legs in the ocean for a couple minutes. The sun was starting to set, so I made my way into the Convention Center.
As soon as I got in, I immediately ran into Jeremy. It was nice to see a familiar face. We chatted for a little bit, then I found my seat. It was second row, off to the side. At my seat, I chatted with a guy and his son who had come from Long Island to see the concert.
"Polkarama!" had a lot of bubbles. The streamers for "Canadian Idiot" went off and flew about halfway up through audience section seated on the floor.
Al thought he was a pretty good judge of the audience and new we wanted to hear a song comprised of a random strings of palindromes and he aimed to please us.
The stage was very wide, and they had curtains up on both side to help concentrate everything in the center better. Al worked the whole stage from right to left during "It's All About The Pentiums." They did a nice job with the juxtaposition of darkness and strobe lights once again.
"You're Pitiful" had the red accordion shirt, and Atlantic Records Sucks shirt. The only difference from previous shows was that the Spongebob shirt was tucked into Al's pants. There was a ton of laughter during the performance.
The stage was high enough off the floor that it required two rows of boxes to act as stairs for "Wanna B Ur Lovr." The top row pretty much ran along the entire length of the stage, and off to side was another box for Al to step on. However, he didn't notice this box and stepped off the front of the top row of boxes and fell into the front row. I was afraid he had hurt his ankle because of the way he landed, but he walked normal as he made his way down one aisle, across the back, and up the other aisle then back on stage.
Jim West wore the hood on his sweatshirt up along with Al during "Couch Potato." He took it off for "Do I Creep You Out." Steve Jay gave Al a big a smile as he transformed into Taylor Hicks. The stagehand held the harmonica to the microphone for an extra long time during "Ode To A Superhero." He also shook the harmonica and checked his watch. Steve spent the majority of "Trapped In The Drive-Thru" on Rubén Valtierra's keyboard riser. After "Gump", Al gave a noticeable nod to Jim.
New Jersey was emphasized for "I'll Sue Ya." He yelled the line and people cheered. Money fell from the middle of the audience. For whatever reason, the lighting track that contained the money machine was mounted about halfway back over the audience. I'm not quite clear why, because there was plenty of room above the stage for it.
The audience was clapping along during "The Saga Begins." The Yoda Chant took a lot of people sitting around me by surprise, as I could hear them asking each other what it was. Wildwood is a big vacation spot. Overall the crowd appeared to be mostly casual fans on vacation, who chose to see the concert because it coincided with their vacation plans, rather than people who specifically came to Wildwood just to see the concert.
"Smells Like Nirvana" was very energetic. Jim put his guitar up against a speaker to get feedback, and Steve threw his bass in the air. Nobody waved their arms during "Amish Paradise" until Al prompted them to, but the song got a lot of cheers.
During "White & Nerdy," it appeared that Al ran over some wires, or something else on the stage, while on the Segway. About halfway through the song, the video clips went to single screen mode instead of the full three screen mode they had been being shown in.
People moved up front and stood by the stage for the encore. Jim did a really pathetic solo during "Albuquerque." Al incorrectly surmised that the audience wasn't interested in hearing another amusing anecdote and instead probably wanted to go home. Since he lost his place in the song, he started all over again from the beginning. During the "pitiful meaningless existence" lyric, Al leaned down to someone standing near the stage and sang it directly to them.
Jeremy and I made an attempt to see if anyone in the band was outside. Finding no one, we made our way back to the cars, met Jeremy's mother, chatted for a little bit, and exchanged some newspaper and flyers we had collected that day. After that, I headed straight home.
You can click on the highlighted words above and below to see more concert photos.