The Saga Begins

Dammit.  After at least 15 years of making Opening Day, those damn cardiologists BROKE MY STREAK.  Fuckers, saving my life like that.  So, reset the counter and start over.  Side benefit; counting from DEATHDAY, I am now one year old.  Wife Sublime says I didn’t actually die, but she was on the other side of the machines that go ‘bing’.


I worked, but we still went down for lunch.  I was able to make a site visit near my house right around lunch, picked up WS, and then got down for the Gig.  First meal: gyros & kebab.  NOM NOM NOM.  then some beer, and looking for noise; but oddly enough, Zorg the mush-beast made Opening Day for the first time since before he evanesced, and we spent much time at the Rebel Stage watching local musicians with nothing to lose.  LOVED IT.

But eventually, as all things do, we had to move on.  So of course, we went south and caught a couple of songs from Kris Kristofferson who was doing it Revue-Style, with his daughter and a couple of Merle Haggard’s kids.  It was good, but I was concerned about the availability at the far north stage, so we went there for the end of The Fatty Acids, and to wait for a long-haired, accordion playing architect misfit with a penchant for singing other people’s songs with food.

I first saw Weird Al on these same grounds, on a night when the thunderstorms were so severe that they shut down every other stage; but the stage he was at was nestled under a freeway overpass, so lightning was not a hazard; as I understand, he was told he didn’t have to play, but all he did was point out at us sodden wretches huddling under beer canopies.  He went on late, but hit the stage and before a note was played, he shouted out at us “you people are fucking INSANE!”  And then played a lovely show, and I will tell you that we had a lovely drenched time.

This night was not such.  It was cool and pleasant and the crowd was much more moderate than I had feared.

I find Weird Al to be a remarkable artist.  He actually graduated with an architecture degree (kinship!) but before he actually did any practice, he sent tapes to Dr. Demento and was invited onto the show; while there, he went into the toilet room with his accordion and a drummer who was there, Jon ‘Bermuda’ Schwarz who played the empty accordion case.  They recorded “Another One Rides The Bus”.

I always remark on the ace musicianship of Al’s band. It will be noted that Jon ‘Bermuda’ Schwarz is still the drummer, and most of the rest of the band are the same guys he picked up to play his songs live, when he started doing that. But, here’s the thing; listen to one of his albums.  All of those songs, that sound exactly like the originals, are played by all those guys.  Rap, punk, pop, rock, classic, New Wave, whatever it takes, they do it and do it well.  It is notable that Al gets the approval of the artists before doing a parody, and if he did them poorly, I bet far fewer would say yes.  Also notably, when he wanted to do a parody of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” he called Kurt Cobain on the set of SNL, asking for permission.  Cobain shyly said “OK….umm, is it going to be about food?” and Al said “no, it’s about how your lyrics are unintelligible”  “OK, great.”  Also, it has been reported that cobain felt that having a Weird Al song was much more indicative of making it big than was playing on SNL.

On top of all that, he and his band do a set based around costume changes that would make Bette Midler or Cher say ‘hold on now’. Interspersed with videos that reveal Al as an incredibly gifted comedian and comic actor.  Damn, I am kind of glad I don’t have to compete with this fucker on the architecture playing field, it just wouldn’t be fair.

So yeah, was it a great performance?  You tell me. Other than the fact he opened by saying “Milwaukee, I probably don’t even need to ask you but DO YOU WANT SOME POLKAS??!?!?!” and after that, it was nothing but fucking net.

And we saw the whole thing with the city as a backdrop, including the new 633 Building and the under-construction NML headquarters building….

Whooooo.  We got home late, and we were probably overserved; after all, we had been Home for 10 hours.  Friends and drink and food and music and I am still fucking alive.


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