Saturday, November 12, 2011

On Stage with Weird Al in Hollywood

Tonight R2 got to participate in the last stop of Weird Yankovic's Apocalypse tour, at the Pantages Theater in Hollywood, CA.

I actually hadn't planned to do this show, but with the tiniest last-minute arm twisting ("Wanna go?"), I was there. The call time was 6:00pm for the 8:00pm show, although we were to go on around 10:00pm for the encore. I picked up fellow R2 Builder William Miyamoto on the way up to Hollywood, as William was to be on stage as a stormtrooper, and was our main point of contact for the evening.

Once all the characters had arrived, we ran through a rehearsal on stage. It's a reasonably big theater, and has staged many famous musicals throughout the years. I test-drove R2 over the mats that covered the cables. A little bumpy, but nothing he couldn't handle.

More rehearsals and pictures in the dressing room, where we were treated to a pizza dinner.

We were invited to watch the first half of the show from the balcony seats, which was really nice. It was a neat to look down on the stage, and realize in a little over an hour we'd be back down there performing. In the meantime, R2 was parked to the side of the stage, waiting patiently to go on.

Around 8:45pm we headed back to the dressing room and the characters got dressed. Then, it was one final rehearsal session before going back upstairs to the stage. For those that haven't seen the routine, Al starts singing "The Saga Begins," to the tune of "Bye Bye Miss American Pie." The characters stand at attention during the initial slow verses, and then start bobbing their heads as the pace picks up. Soon, they are dancing semi-wildly. They are not supposed to be in sync with each other, so it's not as bad as it looks.

Since I didn't have to worry about changing into costume, I was able to hang out at stage-left, and sneak a picture or two of the performance from a distance. Here, keyboardist Rubén Valtierra wears a beehive on his head while playing "I Perform this Way," a parody of Lady Gaga's song, "I was Born this Way."

Finally, the show "ended," the crowd cheered, Al changed costumes for something like the 20th time, and he came back out to do the encore. As the music started, the Star Wars characters took the stage, with R2 trailing at the back. As the pace picked up, we all started to jam. With my hands full with the transmitter, I was only able to take one picture. Scaffolding mostly obscures R2 in the picture, but he's there, along with the other characters.

Darrin Forsythe, our Darth Vader for the evening, uploaded this video of the performance.

Shortly thereafter the show ended, and all the characters except R2 went out to the lobby to take pictures with the fans. R2 stayed backstage due to the complexity of getting him from the backstage area to the lobby, and the somewhat mobbed conditions.

Princess Leia's real-life father has a star on the Walk of Fame right in front of the theater.

After we were done with the fans, we went back to the dressing room area and ambushed actor/Robot Chicken co-creator Seth Green. He was ready with his 501st challenge coin.

The characters changed out of costume, and a little while later Al came out, signed autographs, and posed for the group picture. (I live vicariously through R2.)

And that was a wrap. It was another fun concert, I hope I get to participate again in the future.

The full photo set (yes, there's more!) is here.

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