“Weird Al is going to be in town next week,” I said to Matt while perusing the entertainment section of the newspaper.
“I know, we’re going,” said Matt.
It wasn’t properly listed on the calendars, so it wasn’t on my radar, but I did dimly recall a text message chain in the colder months of the year making plans to go.
So my first Edgefield concert was Weird Al.
The line was long when we got there.
So long that I got to spend a lot of time contemplating what these structures were. Here’s what a website listing about the Poor Farm says:
By 1914, the Poor Farm was a success on paper. It housed 302 residents and managed a herd of Holstein dairy cows, 100 Duroc hogs (that ate the leftovers from the dining room), 420 Plymouth Rock hens, and 225 chickens. The crops, vegetables, fruit, hay, grain, eggs, and twenty-seven acres of potatoes were shared with the county jail (which provided some trustees to work in the fields), a hospital, and a juvenile home.oregonencyclopedia.org
My first read was that it was maybe a jail, but upon re-reading I see the food was shared with those locations, not that they were located there. So I have no idea.
Update! I emailed the McMenamins Historian and Caitlin Popp wrote back saying:
Caitlin here from the McMenamins History Department! The structure that you were looking at on the Edgefield property was a minimum security jail. It was opened in the 1960s, was still open when McMenamins took over the property and didn’t close until 2006. Currently it is storage as well as artist studios.
So my initial thought was right! Also, how interesting that there was a jail operating for a time when McMenamins was running their hotel.
Back to the concert.
We secured our seats. When you get to the concert after work, you get to sit behind a tree. Also note that that man in the blue shirt is probably on the quest for the Passport. That’s a shirt from Centrailia they give you for getting that stamp. I’ve got the same one.
Waiting for the concert.
There wasn’t an opening act listed, but the 40-piece orchestra played three pieces, which was a nice treat.
We got “Word Crimes” early on.
Also early on, I was thrilled when Weird Al sang “One More Minute” which is from the 1985 album Dare to be Stupid and which, with it’s 50s styling, is my favorite Weird Al song.
The distance, the twilight and the tree got in the way of my usual slightly blurry, ultra-zoomed concert photos. This was my best shot. It was interesting that they had the orchestra, plus the drummer behind a wall, which I assume is for acoustic purposes. Someone has that job!
The crowd was the most multigenerational I’ve seen at a concert—everyone from grandparents to small children. He has been making music long enough to have reached multiple generations and I enjoyed seeing when different people had their peak Weird Al moment. Mine was in 1985, but there were a ton of people there who were all in on Amish Paradise from 1996.
Observation: people just wear whatever to a Weird Al concert. I saw two people in cosplay, and a few in Weird Al t-shirts, but most people looked like, they were wearing whatever they had put on that morning.
Another observation: Weird Al Yankovic can sing! I forget, because mostly he’s brilliant with lyrics and I’m paying attention to that, but this concert highlighted the man’s range.
This was a fun first experience at Edgefield.
One thought on “Weird Al at Edgefield”
I always love it when an unknown calendar event (or forgotten–which happens sometimes for me at our house) comes up that is a delight and doesn’t cause stress. Fun to see Edgefield and learn more about its history.
Sometimes when looking at our current income inequalities and penal structures I wonder if work farms that provide food, employment, and shelter would be a different way to go. Of course there would have to be changes and it wasn’t like they were delightful adventures, but I wonder if a modernized and humane version of them could be beneficial.
There was a former work farm/poor farm in the DC area that had been converted to artist studios and work spaces. We visited it at least once during Christmas present season and it is on the blog somewhere.