Backstage With Weird Al

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Weird Al Yankovic’s new Mandatory World Tour brought him to Florida, where the Tampa Bay Squad of the 501st Legion was once again invited to be on stage with Al during his performance of The Saga Begins, his Star Wars parody song. And, like the last time he came to town, I handled photography and handling duties, and after the show we were able to meet the Weird One himself. This was a very fun event, as I am a big Weird Al fan.

Below: The empty theater before the show starts. Weird Al’s show manager instructs 501st Legion members where they will be standing on stage when they make their appearance, for the last song of the concert

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My buddy Brian, who is our Darth Vader, strikes a pose

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Myself and Adam on stage. The theater is quiet and empty, the calm before the storm

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An hour before the show starts, the theater is dark, the instruments set up, the stage waiting

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Below: The obligatory group photos, minutes before going on stage

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Before heading down to the stage, members practice their moves one final time:

 

Below: On stage with Al to an enthusiastic crowd. I am standing beside the sound board man, a prime spot for good pictures

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Below: the lights go down after the song, and 501st Legion members file off the stage

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Here is a video clip as seen from back stage:

After the concert, fans who have purchased VIP tickets get to meet Weird Al in the VIP area and get his autograph and a picture with him. The line to the VIP room went down the hallway

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Waiting for the Weird One to make his appearance

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Weird Al with some appropriately dressed fans

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I was very impressed with how gracious, patient and kind Al is to his fans, as demonstrated in this clip of a fan singing a bit of Amish Paradise, one of Al’s parody songs. Weird Al is a celebrity who “gets it”, who understands that his success is due to his fans, and you can tell he is genuinely thankful.

 

After the fans have come and gone, Al hangs out with us for a group picture

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Al’s roadie used my camera…unfortunately he could not hold it steady enough. Arrrgh! Oh well…

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