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Still weird after all these years

“Weird Al” Yankovic marched into the Britt Festivals grounds Wednesday night with a live video feed of him emerging from his bus and singing “Tacky,” his parody of Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” projected on the big video screen at the rear of the stage.

A near-capacity crowd clapped, laughed and sang as Yankovic turned in two hours of classics and numbers from his most-recent album “Mandatory Fun,” aided by his crack band, frequent costume changes and lots of video.

George S. Kaufman said, “Satire is what closes on Saturday night,” but he never met "Weird Al." It’s been 34 years since Yankovic performed “Another One Rides the Bus” on Tom Snyder’s TV show with drummer Jon “Bermuda” Schwartz banging away on Al’s accordion case.

There are way too many memorable moments in a "Weird Al" show to try to list. But Yankovic thrusting an accordion in the air and screaming like a metal maniac, “Are you ready to POLKA?” was one of the first. “Fat,” Yakovic’s riff on Michael Jackson’s “Bad,” came early in the show.

There was “First World Problems,” a send-up of Pixies-inspired music (“... there’s a pixel out in the corner of my laptop screen.”). “Foil,” based on Lorde’s “The Royals,” sent up cooking shows and prompted concertgoers to fashion aluminum foil hats. “Party in the CIA” winked at Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the USA” while lampooning serious gummint guys in shades.

“Smells Like Nirvana” had Yankovic in a Kurt Cobain wig with a rubber-neck guitar, while “Wanna Be Your Lover,” one of the show’s high points, offered up a lounge lizard with the world’s worst pick-up lines, for which the singer plunged into the audience. An unplugged medley found the singer doing “Eat It” (Michael Jackson’s “Beat It”) and “Like a Surgeon” (Madonna’s “Like a Virgin”).

Yankovic grew up in Lynnwood, Calif., which provided the setting for his album “Straight Outta Lynnwood,” with the hilarious “White and Nerdy,” a parody of the hip-hop “Ridin’ " by Chamillionaire. In a rarity for the music industry, the band that’s backed Yankovic all these years is still together, Schwartz on drums, Steve Jan on bass, Jim West on guitars, along with newcomer keyboardist Ruben Valtierra, who’s only been been with the band since 1991.

The clever “Word Crimes,” from 2014’s “Mandatory Fun,” was a take-off on Robin Thicke’s controversial 2013 hit “Blurred Lines,” complete with dancing punctuation marks on the screen mocking people who, for example, don’t know the difference between “less” and “fewer.”

The show culminated in “Amish Paradise,” a very funny take-off on Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise.”

To the degree that Yankovic is a satirist — as opposed to a parodist or a teaser — his satire is of the softest sort. He’s family-friendly, with no interest in sex, drugs, violence and the rest of the R-rated stuff, and his crowd reflects that.

In a typical "Weird Al" parody (maybe half his output), he’s not actually lampooning the artist who did the original recording. Rather, he creates an entire, alternative, humorous world, lyrically and visually, while keeping the backing music is as close as possible to the original song.

It’s a spectacular show — dazzling, funny, and somehow uplifting. Deadline prevented a reviewer from being there to see if Yankovic & Co. ended the show with their usual “Star Wars” material, but I think the force was with them.

Reach freelance writer Bill Varble at varble.bill@gmail.com.

Still weird after all these years