We got back from the Calgary Comic and Entertainment Expo yesterday and I’m all jittery with leftover excitement. I’d gone primarily to see Kirby Krackle (for those just tuning in my husband Scott plays bass in the band) when they opened for Weird Al. Look, I tried to play it cool but this was a big, exciting, “if only I could tell my 15-year-old self” type deal. And it was indeed amazing and fun and I’m so grateful I got to be there for it.
After we arrived in Calgary I was given I Guest Pass to the expo and a Backstage Pass to the concert, neither of which I was expecting. I resisted my urge to jump around and squeal.
The band got a peek at the arena the day before when things were still be setting up. Three thousand some seats. No pressure.
The afternoon of the show was load in, including piles of rented equipment. The behind the scenes halls of convention centers are very sexy, as you can see.
The theater was more dramatically lit than the day before.
Weird Al’s equipment had already been set up and I fell in love with this drum. Hello cutie.
First Weird Al’s band did a quick monitor level check, along with dramatic lighting. Either they have a band member that does a really great Weird Al singing imitation or they have a Weird Al voice modulator (for harmonies?) but at some point a Weird Al sounding voice (not a recording) was tested and I wanna know how they did it.
Next came Kirby Krackle’s sound check, still with some dramatic lighting. They had smoke machines running before we arrived and I tried to get video of how cool it looked being pumped into such a huge room while they ran through various lighting cues but I completely failed.
During sound check they went through and set the sound level for each band member’s instrument and microphone. During Scott’s turn Weird Al came over to greet the band. (You can see his elbow in the photo above, just behind Scott’s knee. I promise!) So Scott didn’t get to say hello, which was a bummer. I was on the wrong side of the stage to grab a good photo of the moment. But we hear from close and trusted sources that he was a nice guy.
My husband wielding his huge instrument. Hey there.
We did a panorama of the theater with Kyle and Scott appearing at both ends. It’s possibly funnier when you’re scrolling the picture on the iPhone.
The band’s green room was really posh. Ok, not really. It was the locker room for a hockey team. The away team. It smelled like the inside of rental hockey skates and was all cement and wooden benches. It was awesome, actually, because the band ran through an acoustic version of Grandma’s House and really made the echo-y surfaces work.
I make fun but I should also say that the expo took really great care. There was nothing that wasn’t provided backstage (including private space) and everybody was professional and great at their jobs and happy. Calgary you’re great.
I attempted to keep a low profile while blatantly abusing my backstage privileges. Behind the stage was a curtained off area that contained piles of costume changes and from the right angle you could spy Weird Al’s jacket for Eat It! I wonder how many versions of this have been made over the years? Or is this the same one? Is it real leather? Pleather? I was too timid to run up the ramp and touch it. Also, I’m very certain that I would have been stopped and then kicked out. Maybe.
This was innocently sitting stage right. I walked past it a dozen times before I realized that oh my god this is Weird Al Yankovic’s accordion!!! I wish there was some haze-and-halo filter I could have put on this photo. I didn’t touch the accordion. I should have. Just to say I did. Also because nobody was looking and I totally could have gotten away with it. (“I touched Weird Al’s accordion” sounds misleading though, no? Funny, yes.)
Kirby Krackle took the stage to a swell of cheering. Which was amazing and made me smile. I have shaky video of the moment that contains a loud off camera “thank you” (from a volunteer photographer that I’d just helped sorta kinda sneak into a semi-backstage photo vantage point) and a whispered “you’re welcome” as the camera wobbles. I regret nothing but maybe it’s time to invest in a good video recorder and some big headphones?
(Photo taken while sitting slightly backstage, the screens were projected from behind so I could see a clear but mirrored image.)
On either side of the stage were big screens that showed the live footage as it aired by flipon.tv. You can (for free!) view the entire Kirby Krackle performance. I am listening to the show while I type this. It sounded better in person, but then again it’s hard to capture the awesome. Right around 17:35 I believe you can catch a glimpse of Kyle’s younger brother sneaking onto stage to capture iPhone video from behind the drums.
At a few points Kyle (the bright blur in the middle of the photo) jumped down off stage to run through the seats. The first time he did it he nearly gave me a fit because I thought he was going to jump all the way down. Happily he knew better than I and used a row of big speakers as a giant step. I heard later that Kyle had been caught examining his route down during sound check and had been given a stern “no” by a stage manager. Rule breaker!
The lighting and sound guys were quick. During Ring Capacity they threw up green lights.
Shortly after I took this photo the band ended their set and as I was turning back a guy (who had no idea I was connected to the band) bounded past and said to me “that was great!” Indeed it was, mystery man.
We watched most of the Weird Al concert from the arena seats that were behind the big screens. We’d situated ourselves in the shadows far back from the stage and early on a manager came over and indicated that we all needed to move closer to the stage. Turns out during Weird Al’s show all of the band members have a costume change for each song (the time is covered by Al TV clips, which are hilarious). From where we were sitting we possibly could have seen rushed clothing changes. They were a very good looking band but, yeah, I would have made sure we all moved too.
I live in Seattle so I had to include this picture of the wig that Weird Al wears during Smells Like Nirvana, his drummer was wears a wig of amazing dreadlocks. I’d seen the girls with pom-poms who are onstage during this song practicing backstage, they had a room with a window and as I passed by I thought one was waving frantically so I glanced over. It was awkward. I hope they don’t think I was peeking. Oops. In any case, Scott and I later saw them doing a full cheerleaders-with-pom-poms rehearsal in the hallway. I think they were dancers hired just for that show and if so they learned the routine the few hours before they went on. Bravo gals!