On August 27th, I got to do one of the coolest things: help as handler for the Weird Al concert! At every tour stop, Al likes to have Stormtroopers and Darth Vader on stage during “The Saga Begins.” He reaches out to the local garrison for the 501st Legion and they put a call out for troopers. Since I don’t have a Stormtrooper costume (but I’m a 501st Legion member), I could help as handler. I figured that was the next best thing aside from being onstage.
He played at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds’ Grandstand, and we were really lucky to have cooler weather (August in Minnesota can be brutal) so nobody got too overheated. The only issue is that it was an incredibly windy day – so much that the concert was delayed a while.
We arrived pretty early because everyone had to learn the choreography. A member of Al’s crew gave the troopers a run-down of the routine, and then they basically ran through the choreography a bunch of times out of costume (while me and the other “Dance Moms” handlers observed).
After grabbing a bite to eat and wandering around the fair a bit, we helped the troopers suit up (in a dark semi trailer – it was a challenge) and we waited for the cue for them to go onstage. Once they were onstage, the “Dance Moms” all stood off to the right to watch, and it was really surreal. The troopers did great!
Afterward, we got to meet Al! He was really nice. We took pictures but it was dark and windy by the trailers so our pictures didn’t turn out the greatest. That’s okay – at least we got to meet him!