Tay Zonday added a 20-minute hometown show to his possible 15 minutes of fame.
Even though the lights were dim, the sold-out crowd knew exactly who was taking the stage once he bellowed, "How you doing?"
With the familiar, booming voice that late-night TV host Jimmy Kimmel said could make him "the next Darth Vader," Minneapolis' scrawny YouTube sensation Tay Zonday gave his local coming-out performance in the wee hours of Saturday morning .
While not exactly as momentous as the first time "Purple Rain" was sung at the landmark rock club, Zonday's performance of his bizarre hit "Chocolate Rain" capped an incredible five-month run for the 25-year-old University of Minnesota graduate student.
"This is just another totally unexpected honor," said Zonday, whose real name is Adam Bahner.
The so-called Internet Superhero (or at least that's how his $15 T-shirts billed him) came to the club at the special request of Pittsburgh's underground dance-music hero Gregg Gillis, a k a Girl Talk, the concert's headliner. Gillis is just the latest of many bona-fide music stars to sing Zonday's praises. John Mayer and the drummer from Green Day each even posted their own versions of "Chocolate Rain" on YouTube.com.
Any performer would appreciate the kind of numbers that Zonday's quirky, homemade clip has gotten on the communal video-posting website.
"Chocolate Rain" is due to get its 10-millionth view within days, after five months on the site. It's in the top 40 of YouTube's most-watched music clips of all time, and the top 10 of the most-discussed clips.
Zonday's hometown stage debut -- aside from a couple unknown open-mike appearances -- offered a little more insight into what all this internet fame means.
It apparently doesn't count for much.
"That was painful," said Draeke Weseman, 25, of Minneapolis, echoing a majority of the comments heard after Zonday's five-song set. "It was like a bad 'American Idol' audition tape."
Grant Buntje, 28, was even harsher: "If he had just done 'Chocolate Rain' and left, it might've been amusing. But after that many songs, I wanted to get up there and push him off the stage."
Setting the stage
Zonday only performed for 20 minutes (wisely avoiding any 15-minute jokes), ending with "Chocolate Rain." As with all the night's songs, the seemingly nonsensical and overly academic lyrics flashed across the video screen behind him: "Chocolate rain, dirty secrets of the economy/ Chocolate rain, turns that body into GDP."
Wearing the same rectangular glasses and plain white T-shirt as in his videos, Zonday opened with another of his YouTube hits, "Do the Can't Dance." He proved he truly can't dance, offering a repetitive one-arm circular move that looked like a cross between wax-on/wax-off in "The Karate Kid" and Elaine's gawky gyrating on "Seinfeld."
Zonday proceeded to dance that way all night (onstage again during Girl Talk's set). His other signature move was -- sort of like the dramatic-effect breathing technique in his hit video -- taking a long, drawn-out swig of bottle water between every song.
Bryan Laudick, 26, who drove from Des Moines for the show, was one of the few attendees to give Zonday a break.
"People who say he only has 15 minutes of fame are missing the point," Laudick said. "I think it's great he has even gotten 15 minutes. It's good to see an everyday, average guy get even that amount of fame. "
Girl Talk wiz Gillis also sang Zonday's praises afterward.