Too often music venues are run by amateurs. Music lovers with no business experience or people who think it’s an easy way to make a quick buck. The National is an example of what happens when professionals get involved. A well trained staff. Clean floors. Very clean bathrooms – that actually work! Honestly, the only complaint (other than being gouged by Ticketmaster) would be that they need to run a phone line out to the T-shirt vendors table so you can charge that $25 dollar t-shirt or $20 mug. If you haven’t been go to their site and I bet you can find a show you want to see.
Last night found us at The National to see Weird Al Yankovic. We were running a bit late for the show and when we saw the line for will-call M dropped me off so we wouldn’t miss the beginning of the show. Yes, I know. I could’ve printed the tickets off of the Ticketmaster site rather than having them held at will-call. It just doesn’t feel right. I prefer the old-fashioned ticket. As far as missing the beginning of the show – there was no need to rush. A friend had warned us the Weird Al never started on time and he was true to form last night. About 45 minutes late.
The crowd was a little younger than I expected. A lot of teens, tweens, and pre-teens. OK, not an overwhelming number, just more than I expected. Perhaps that was a good thing as the lines at the bar were shorter than other shows we’ve been to their.
Weird Al started the show with a mash parody of hits over the last few years while playing his accordion. Weezer figured prominantly in this mash. I had heard that Weird Al was a bit of a perfectionist. This was obvious in how well timed the show on staged synched with the video playing above the stage. This began to bother me after a bit. They synched too well. I really began to wonder if they were actually playing or lipsynching. Is it live or is it Memorex? Couldn’t really tell.
After the mash he launched into his hits. Every song was completely choreographed, synched with video, and followed by long breaks for costume changes. Actually, if you took out the video filled breaks the hour and a half show probably only had less than 45 minutes of music. Over produced and lacking spontaneity it lacked the joy I had seen in videos of his earlier performances. It was much more Brittany Spears than Dr Demento.
Of course I could just be a bit bitter. We decided to leave a couple of minutes before the end to beat the crowd out the door and missed my favourite song – ‘White & Nerdy’….