We went to the Orange County Fair on Saturday afternoon. Most years we end up going to at least one of the Pacific Amphitheater’s summer concert series, which includes fair admission, so we just combine it into one trip. This year it was Melissa Etheridge, and we also had another goal: Al’s Brain.

We started by grabbing some water and (in my case) a chocolate milkshake (because I wanted some ice cream, dangit! and drinkable made it easier), then wandered through the arts and crafts displays, where they showed prize-winning jewelry, crochet, display models, dresses, origami, etc.

Al’s Brain

A giant sand sculpture of a brain and Weird Al's head.Then we made our way to the back of the fair, where they had set up a portable theater for Al’s Brain (in 3-D!). There was a huge sand sculpture out front of “Weird Al” Yankovic holding out a brain in his hand. An animated question mark and exclamation point would occasionally pop out the top of his head, and smoke would pour from his ears.

“Weird Al” has actually had a long association with the Orange County Fair, often doing free concerts on multiple nights during the run. We’ve seen him there at least twice, possibly three times. One year there was a “Weird Al” museum of sorts. This year, he got involved in a short 3-D educational film (comedic, of course) about the brain.

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On the subject of filk, and trying to define it, there’s a whole subset of songs by professional musicians that just rides the edge. (Half of “Weird Al” Yankovic’s repertoire, for instance.) Twice in the last week I’ve heard Led Zeppelin’s “Ramble On,” which is apparently about Aragorn and Arwen from Lord of the Rings. It even makes references to Mordor and Gollum in the lyrics.

I’m not sure I’d ever heard it before, but Train covered it at the concert we went to last Friday (we went for the Wallflowers, who played after the intermission), and I just heard it on the radio this morning.

Talk about timing.

While the stage hands were setting up for the Alanis Morissette concert last night, we noticed a sign on the stage that looked like this:

Caution: Trip Hazard

As far back as we were sitting, we couldn’t read the words, (although “Caution” was obvious, and since it was next to a bundle of cables and showed an off-balance stick figure, the meaning was clear) but it stayed up during the show, and eventually the cameras caught it in the background, and we could read it.

At that point, or possibly after the end of the song, I leaned over to Katie and remarked, “You know, ‘Trip Hazard’ sounds like a good name for a band. Or maybe an action hero.” She replied: “Can you imagine Trip from Enterprise in a superhero costume?”

And there was much laughter.

The Orange County Fair usually has some pretty good concerts lined up. Last year, they were all free with admission, but this year, they opened up a separate venue and kicked up the price. Tonight it was Joan Osborne and Melissa Etheridge, which was a very cool concert. The volume got turned up too high too fast, but each of them put on a good show. I have to say, Melissa Etheridge has the most expressive face I’ve seen on a vocal performer in a while. They had two huge HDTV screens showing whatever the cameraguy of the moment was focusing on, and when it was on her, she could get a round of screaming out of the audience with just one note and an eyebrow. This concert made me sorry I didn’t pick up any more of her CDs during the big Wherehouse closeout a few months ago. Ah well, there are sales ahead….

The title of the post, by the way, is a misheard lyric from “I Wanna Come Over;” the real line is “To hell with the consequence.” We ran into another opportunity for humor during “Bring Me Some Water” when Kelson pointed out that not only did she already have a bottle of water, but someone had put it in a little holder on the mic stand–which was visible on the video screen. Of course, my brain started writing alternate lyrics. (Apologies to all necessary parties, including those of you who don’t know the song.)


Somebody brought you some water
Can’t you see it’s there on your stand
You took it off the stage, right there at the front corner
A minute ago, with your hot little hand

Somebody brought you some water
Think I saw you sippin’ before
The music’s got my mind, and the music’s got my soul
But tonight I think logic, I think logic’s out that door


Side note: They have some damn yummy fruit at the Terri’s Berries booth right by the theater. Must remember this for the Alanis Morissette concert in two weeks.