A couple of weeks ago, my wife surprised me with a couple of tickets to the "Weird Al" Yankovic concert at the State Fair. It didn't click, though, that the concert was on the second night of the Fair. I can't remember the last time we went to the Fair this early in its run, but all that changed tonight.
Coming home from work, we got to the old neighborhood around 6:00 PM. Remembering the timing of neighborhood parking, I was not surprised to find no street parking anywhere near the 84th & Greenfield entrance. I was shocked - yes, shocked - to find the new owners of our old house NOT even attempting to park cars. I spent five years training the car-driving, Fair-going public that some of the best lawn parking is on 86th & Orchard. I imagine hundreds of cars going there for parking, and being turned away...
OTOH (that's for my young reader), I am way to cheap to pay for parking, so I spend a few minutes looking for a spot on the side of the road. I wind my way east, and decide to just park by my good friend, I'll call him "Grap", and offer his mom a few bucks to park on her driveway. As I approach, lo and behold there is a street spot available right in front of her house! Score one for the cheapo!
My-Sugar-Na and I walk into the grounds from the east (which we rarely do) and I can't get past the row of trailers that all seem to sell fried cheese. The seventh trailer gets me and I see a sign that says "Colby on a Stick $4".
They had me at Colby,
I am handed my stick of chese (Side note; what I love about Colby is how completely and smoothly it melts. It is not condusive, however, for being sticked) and notice that right next door is Lefty's Milk Barn. Two cherry vanilla milks (and another year of strong bones and teeth) for half a buck and I had the beginnig of a Fine Dining meal... "Drinks and Appetizers" as it were.
Heading down Grandstand Ave and I find the El Jefe stand. Have you ever had the Mexican Corn? An ear of corn on the cobb, dipped in butter, slathered in mayonnaise, coated with Parmesan Cheese, and sprinkled with cayenne pepper and lime juice. And it tastes even better than it sounds. The corn had many of the food groups... My "Entree".
Now, here's what I don't get about dueling pianos... I mean, I get why they do it, but I have no concept of how crowds allow this to continue. The left pianist says "I have $5 to play Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald" and he starts singing. The right pianist extols for a higher amount, gets $6, then plays "Build Me Up Buttercup" until someone from the crowd gives a few more bucks, and then the Edmund starts up. More money, then Buttercup. At the end of this process, the pianists got $55 for Buttercup and only $50 for Edmund. That's over a hundred bucks in tips for songs that we got to hear most of anyway.
By 8:00, though, we were in our seats in the grandstand, awaiting our hero. He worked for almost two hours, and if I had a complaint, well, I have two of them... First (and yet another admission that I am getting old) he played numerous new songs. Not that new stuff is bad, but it is parodying artists like Lady Gaga and such, and I am not familiar with those songs. The other issue is that he played so many of his classic songs (the oldest was My Bologna. That goes back to before I got old) that everyone was singing along with them. I don't necessarily mind the sing alongs at concerts, as they all organically grow into them. But this started right off the bat. (Now, get off my lawn).
But the concert was great, he had three video screens, played many of his hits, and was certainly worth the $25 (which included State Fair admission). I think my favorite song of the night was one which is only a few years old (and nobody was singing along). Called Craigslist, set to the a medley of The Doors songs. But what made it so neat was just how dead on that he was mimicing Val Kilmer, with the 60s era video playing behind him.
He finally ended with the encore double-play of The Saga Begins (to the tune of American Pie) and Yoda (to the tune of Lola... an absolute gem from the Dr. Demento days).
A fine dining dinner and a show... what more could a guy ask for.
Walking out, along the race track, I saw this...
All I could think is that I know that auto racing is boring, but is it that bad that they need sleep strips for the drivers?
I had seen this when I parked my car, but when I got back to Grap's house, it struck me.
What a neat tribute. His mom used one of Grap's shirts to tie together the memory of her son, and the proximity to the Fair. Great job, Mom.