Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr The chubby pre-teen boy, clad in a brand-new “Mandatory Fun Tour” hoodie, smiled at me again. “Eight minutes to go,” he said, looking at his iPhone. “This is the hardest part.” “Have you seen ‘Weird Al’ before?” I asked, not one to speak to strangers at concerts, especially all-ages ones that take place at the Oregon Zoo. “No, but I am really excited,” the kid continued. “I just hope I get some good footage.” It’s 2015. I’m 38 years old and I am texting my friends about all the dorky people around me. Do I feel above it? Do I feel disdain when I see the guy in the brown afro wig, wearing a throwback mustache, red Michael Jackson jacket and carrying a “Weird Al” puppet? I am hiding my hip, undercut haircut under a Phillies cap. I am married and have a job. Women have been attracted to me. It hasn’t always been this way. “My brother got a T-shirt and I got this hoodie,” the kid said, apropos of nothing. “We could only buy two tickets for a show, so I got to go. My brother gets to see Foo Fighters.” “Is your mom back there?” I asked, indicating the sea of people seated on the lawn behind us. No one wants to stand in the pit. We have plenty of room. It’s where I want to be. The last time I saw “Weird Al” we showed up late. Like this show, it was completely sold out. I was relegated to a place far from the stage, the venue’s bar jutting into my back. I would be only feet away here in the pit. “Yeah, she’s sitting back there,” the kid said. He looked at his watch again and smiled to himself. It’s 2015. I’m 38 years old. Back in 1985, when Yankovic released his third album, Dare to Be Stupid, I was eight. For my third grade talent show performance, a friend and I lip-synced to “One More Minute.” I wouldn’t be caught dead doing something like that now. Once again, am I above it? Yankovic’s band took the stage. People applauded around me. The music started, kicking off the show with new song “Tacky,” but where was Al? Ah, there he was, on the big screen, singing as he strolled about the zoo, high-fiving stunned fans along the way. A few moments later, he appeared out of the wings and took the stage. The applause was thunderous. The kid who had been chatting me up’s smile grew even larger. Has “Weird Al” finally arrived? In some ways, Yankovic is on the same level of stardom as Madonna, Cyndi Lauper and Michael Jackson. His videos were indelible hooks on heavy MTV rotation. He may be dismissed as a simple parodist, but a nearly four-decade career is a testament otherwise. Just look at the interstitial videos that play while Al and his band change costumes between numbers. The man is a universally loved, and dare I say, respectable star. And while it’s one thing to be clever and make fun parodies, it’s another to be a showman. Yankovic is a consummate one at that. Throughout the two-hour set that encompassed every corner of his career, Yankovic appeared to be throwing every ounce of himself into the performance, no matter if it was the billionth time he dressed in a fat suit and bounced about the stage or performed “Dare to Be Stupid” in yellow radiation suits a la Devo. Yankovic is one of those unlikely stars that happens to appeal to most, no matter how cool. Hell, when I was a kid playing video games was for the losers. As the losers grow up and become the ones running the show, the things we enjoy are suddenly en vogue and okay. Although much of the concert was similar to the performance I saw a few years ago, Yankovic did change enough to keep things fresh for his fans. Some of the videos have been updated, including a hilarious parody of Whiplash. He covered many of his old favorites in an all-acoustic medley that spoofed Eric Clapton’s Unplugged performance, even doing “Eat It” to the tune of “Layla” rather than “Beat It.” There were so many highlights from his Kurt Cobain-aping “Smells like Nirvana” to “Amish Paradise” to riding in on a Segway for “White and Nerdy.” The devoted sang along. I smiled often. “What did you think?” I asked the kid after the show ended with a full-flung Star Wars blow-out featuring “The Saga Begins” and “Yoda.” “That was awesome,” he answered, somewhat stunned, completely in awe. “I really have to pee. I’ve been holding it the entire show.” I offered him a fist-pound and, after showing him to the bathroom, took my leave. “Was that like communicating with your younger self?” my wife asked. I simply smiled.