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Musings of An Annoying Fangirl

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Wild Ramblings About Weird Al


weirdemmaline

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THIS IS PROBABLY KINDA INCOHERENT AND HARD TO FOLLOW. I promise you I am trying to make sense.

So I’m slightly inebriated and I have less than 48 hours separating me from my eleventh Weird Al concert across my almost-17 years of being a fan. Somehow I’ve decided that this means I am going to ramble at y’all here on the fj about how much I fucking love “Weird Al” Yankovic. I mean, it’s pretty apparent just from the Al-related tattoos I have (there are four so far with more to come), but I’m a HUGE Weird Al fan. His music is incredibly important to me. He is incredibly important to me. This is honestly a collection of a bunch of ramblings I’ve done across the internet but really unless you follow me on like eight different platforms you probably haven’t heard most of this. (I mean, I do remember a blog post where I sort of talked about Al and my mom and all the important sentimental gooeyness of all that but REALLY I barely touched on any of what I could talk about so yeah.)

It all started when I was about to turn eleven years old. No, actually, I suppose it started when I was about three years old. See, to really get to what drew me to Al in the first place, we have to go back to about 1990-1991, when my mom first started showing me the Ewok Adventure movie (I don’t know which one) and a couple of other weird Star Wars branded kid things that I don’t really remember. Once I was old enough, she got me hooked on Return of the Jedi (the original VHS version), and then the rest of the trilogy.

I was an incredibly huge Star Wars nerd as a small child and that continues to this very day.

But ANYWAY. Come 1999, I’m about to turn eleven years old, and my literal favorite movie of all time (*Kanye voice* of all time) came out. Star Wars: Episode One: The Phantom Menace.

I am not kidding when I tell you that I still have the original cut of this movie memorized from beginning to end with perfect timing. I can still recite it, word for word, in my head when I get bored. Why, you might ask?

Because over the summer of 1999 I went to see Star Wars: Episode One FIFTEEN TIMES in theaters.

That’s right.

15.

Once it came out on VHS, I watched it probably 100 more times that first month.

I had that shit completely memorized by the time I started fifth grade.

ANYWAY. It’s pretty obvious that I was more than just a little obsessed, right? Like, I had the Star Wars: Episode One PS1 game and I collected the trading cards and the collectible card game (until a couple of twats on the afterschool activity bus stole and destroyed ALL of them. One of them later went on to overdose on heroin. FUN FACT.) and I played with my mom’s figurines CONSTANTLY (she collected the action figures all through the prequel releases, I’ve still got the vast majority of those figurines right now. I still play with them. I love them. Thank you, Hasbro, for existing.) so NATURALLY, it didn’t take much coaxing to get me to listen to Weird Al that first time.

All mom had to do was yell at me to turn on the TV in her bedroom, where I was doing my homework, and tell me to switch it to VH1 because some guy was going to do a song about Star Wars.

What I ended up watching that night was this music video special that included the video for The Saga Begins (still one of my favorite songs) and then the Behind the Music (the original one, which I suppose means that Al was just starting to date Suzanne about that point, I think?) and I fell utterly in love.

Almost-eleven-year-old me was utterly enamored of this goofy man with curly hair and loud shirts and an accordion. I don’t remember begging my mom for his CDs at first because I wasn’t really a musically inclined child up until then. It was my eleventh birthday when I finally got the gift that would change my life.

Like okay yeah I’m a bit inebriated and probably exaggerating a little bit but I’m not kidding when I say that my life was changed when I got up early on October 14th, 1999, and opened up a boom box and two CDs. Weird Al’s Running With Scissors and The Backstreet Boys’ Millennium. (I think it was a week before my birthday that I went to my first concert ever, too. My best friend at the time (still a dear friend today) Nicole and her mother brought me to see The Backstreet Boys. We were in like the eighth row. It was pretty amazing even though I couldn’t really see because I was short and everyone in front of me was standing.)

I listened to the whole of Running With Scissors before having to run to catch my bus to school. After school that day I think I damn near wore both those CDs out because I listened to them over and over while running back and forth from my room to the living room to excitedly recite random lyrics from RWS at my mom.

I was so excited to finally have music that I could enjoy. I had three CDs at that point (the other was an instrumental CD with movie themes I’d won at a baby shower) and I listened to them all a LOT, but none quite so much as Running With Scissors.

It wouldn’t be until the next year that I would get to go see my first Weird Al concert. In early April of 2000, my mom and dad surprised me with tickets for the Weird Al concert at the MN State Fair later that year. In late August (or possibly early September, I think it was late August though) Dad and I went to the State Fair, had a kick ass day, and then went to see Al at the grandstand. Dad bought me my first ever piece of concert merch: The Weird Al Live! VHS. I still have it. Al signed it last year. It’s got a spot of pride in my room where I can see it all the time.

We were seated waaaaaaaay the fuck up in the stands. I’m talking like row 27 of the upper level. It was high. Al and the guys were ants. But did eleven-year-old me give a shit?

No. No I did not. Because I was getting to live out my huge life-long (well, a few months-long at least) dream of getting to see my favorite comedic musician live in concert. I didn’t care if he was teeny tiny from where we were sitting. I was just thrilled to be there.

And that has honestly carried on throughout every time I’ve gone to see one of his concerts. And I mean, at this point the majority of the concerts of his that I’ve seen have been in row 14 or closer, but I’ve still had concerts where I’ve sat waaaaaay the fuck in the back and really? Al and the band put on such an amazing show that it doesn’t really matter where the hell you’re seated in the venue, you’re going to have an AMAZING time.

Since that initial concert, I’ve been to three more of Al’s concerts in Minnesota (two at the State Fair and one at Mystic Lake) but the other six I’ve seen of his have been out of state. Which is something I never, NEVER considered that I’d be able to do (or willing to do, or that that was even something one could do) until 2013. And now I travel across state lines for concerts like it’s nothing. Up until my last concert, I could drive 10-15 hours in a day like a pro.

Last road trip was something else though. I didn’t want to be on the road. I was so over the whole driving East thing. I wanted to go west even though my concert was in Ohio. I just didn’t want to be driving anymore.

The one I remember the best is probably the one I went to with two friends in Joliet, Illinois. It was the last tour (not the Mandatory World Tour but the Alpocalypse Tour I think?) and it was one of the last shows of the tour (I think there was still like another week or two of shows after it but it was getting close to the end) and it was two days before my birthday and HONESTLY I don’t remember a whole lot from that weekend because a LOT of it was lost to sleep deprivation driving down there and back (15 hours from north Minneapolis to fucking Chicago. 15 HOURS. I HADN’T SLEPT SINCE THE DAY BEFORE. I yelled “fucking burger king” at my GPS and miraculously it worked after three hours of not wanting to work. That trip was goddamn magical).

Oh man. For someone who, at the time, didn’t have a whole lot of experience driving in any kind of “big” city in the first place (big meaning even Minneapolis/St Paul-sized cities, which are both decidedly puny in comparison to such behemoths as Albuquerque or fucking NYC *shudder*) THAT WAS NOT A FUN BIT OF DRIVING. We ended up circling downtown for HOURS that first day in town. We were there I think Friday-Saturday-Sunday and we left Sunday morning? And we got there Friday morning? I think? Anyway, we circled downtown for hours because we had to find something to do (also food) and we eventually ended up at the natural history museum. I took so many stupid photos because I was desperately sleep deprived and literally EVERYTHING had to be documented on my phone camera, okay? It was fucking important.

(I just realized I’m saying fuck a lot in this and I apologize to those with gentler sensibilities, I just happen to use it as a comma and I swear I’m trying to not do it quite as much as normal. Also pun not intended just now.)

But anyway we ended up going to some random ass hotel near the south of town (and I drove on my first toll road and I HATED IT) and both my bestie and I ended up getting subways and then going to bed for like…. 15 hours. I mean, we got up somewhere in the middle of that to look at shit online or watch TV, but we were TIRED so…

Eventually we got up, got ready, and went and picked up our friend and drove out to the venue. While we waited by the venue for the doors to open, we sat by a fountain. In the fountain was this dead fish that was arranged really artistically with this little pink flower. We took Instagram pictures because naturally, that’s what you do, right?

When we were taking those pictures, this kid rolls up on a skateboard, goes “that fish is still there? Damn, it’s been there like a week!” *paraphrasing like woah!* and then rolls off. We laughed.

I bought my first Weird Al shirt at that concert. It’s hard to believe it was only then that I bought my first Weird Al shirt. Almost half of my shirts now are Weird Al merch.

Me and the friend that had driven down from MN were in the second row, the other friend was in the front row, and we all had a fun ass time. It was amazeballs. One of my favorite songs of his (and a song that saved my life at one point—story for another time as this is already getting long as hell) was still in the set list at the time. (CNR for those wondering.) It was amazing to get to see that one performed live the two times I did.

After the show we all waited by the bus and ended up getting to say hi and get something signed and get a picture with Al.

That was the first time I got a hug from Al.

I mean OK the first time I met him I kinda got a side-hug from Al (not a very Duggar-y one though LOL) but this one I managed to squeak out “hi al can I- can I have a hug?” and he was just like *shrug* SURE! And I swear that man is made of unicorns and happiness. His hugs are the best hugs.

That was my… fifth? Concert. I’m pretty sure.

Oh my god that means the other five I’ve been to have been in the last two years WHAT.

It was also the second time I met him (the first time was at a book signing in Roseville, MN). And I reeeeeally wanted to run off screaming into the night when it was my turn (I went first out of our little group and I still remember how hard my heart was pounding as I approached the front of the line. Now it’s like whatever it’s Tuesday Hi Al how’s it goin)

(Okay it’s not mundane or anything but it’s nowhere near as anxiety inducing to try to talk him anymore.)

…I’ve just realized that I’ve done a meet n greet thing at every concert I’ve attended since except for one. I feel like I’m bragging. I’m sorry I hope it’s not coming off that way. I’m just REALLY excited and I mean if we could somehow get me in a time machine and have me go back in time to just before I went to that first concert with my dad I would probably give eleven-year-old me a heart attack with the knowledge that by age 28 she will have six pictures with “Weird Al” Yankovic- not to mention that he apparently recognizes her and remembers her damned NAME.

That STILL gets me.

Like, yeah, I just randomly get really happy remembering that I’ve gotten to meet Al, but when I think about the fact that there’s been two instances now where he’s addressed me by name….

It’s really something as simple as hearing Al Yankovic say “Hey, Emmaline! It’s so good to see you again!” that can honestly drag me from the lowest of my lows.

The first time it happened I seriously somehow managed to drive home from Laughlin, NV in two days. It was maybe 27 hours on the road spread across two days. I didn’t care. I was just overjoyed that my fucking hero had recognized and remembered my (stupidly complicated for a lot of people) name.

And then it happened again in Ohio and I swear to god I almost screamed.

That is seriously my most precious memory. Well, set of memories. I don’t think I’ve ever fangirled harder than I did immediately after either time that happened.

OKAY THIS IS OVER 2500 WORDS LONG I THINK I’M PRETTY MUCH DONE. I’m just really excited and I needed to kind of rant about it.

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We all need something positive that energizes us, and is a break from routine.  Weird Al is all those things.

Awesome.

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