Tenacious D (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) returned to form after their usual 6 year break between albums for their fourth effort, “Post Apocalypto”, and brought the tour to The Anthem in DC last night.
Wynchester opened the show. The duo consists of Mike Bray (Kyle Gass Band) and John Konesky (Tenacious D) so their connection makes them an easy choice as opener. The group’s songs are steeped in country with a lots of folky elements. They each play acoustic guitar as Bray plays rhythm guitar and is the primary vocalist while Konesky shreds lead guitar and adds harmonies. The lyrical content and jokes throughout their set lead the crowd to laughter on numerous occasions. Perhaps the strangest moment was when the band proclaimed, “I don’t want to name drop but a guy who goes by L.
Richie gave us this piece of shit and told us to make something out of it.” before launching into a cover of “Easy Like Sunday Morning”. The set ended on another cover, this time “Rainbow in the Dark” by Dio which was dedicated to Tenacious D, their “idols”.
Tenacious D’s show started with a video of the “Post Apocalypto” theme from their new album and YouTube show. Before the band began playing, shortened parts of each episode were displayed on a see through screen and then the band would play songs in between each clip. Though the concept was cool, anyone who had already seen the YouTube show was kind of just waiting for each time the band played. The most dazzling aspect of the set was the props, especially during “Take Us Into Space” and “Fuck Yo-Yo Ma” where Black sang from a space shuttle window suspended in the air while Gass was back on earth.
After playing the reprise of the Post Apocalypto theme, the see through screen was taken away and the band’s gear was moved to the edge of the stage. Jack Black conversated with Kyle Gass saying, “most bands just watch the equipment get moved but we help out by encouraging them” and began a short impromptu song about lugging gear.
Black announced the band would now start a greatest hits set. Dressed in their typical slacker-rock style (jeans, sweat pants and t-shirts) they marched on through the night.
“Rize of the Fenix” was played first and the crowd intensity changed instantly as you could tell the song was a fan favorite. It was a totally different vibe from the new songs, maybe because “Post Apocalypto has only been out since for a few days so some of the crowd didn’t know all the songs.
Two other “Rize of the Fenix” tracks followed and then Black exclaimed the next song was from an album 6 years before that one. The crowd roared and sang along as the band exploded into “Kickapoo” from the band’s “Pick of Destiny”. Gass sang Meat Loaf’s studio vocal part while Black sang Dio’s.
One of the most enjoyable and exciting things about a Tenacious D show is Jack Black’s patented dance moves and signature scat vocals. You can’t leave out the amazing dynamic between JB and KG, either. The whole night is full of sheer comedic entertainment, not to mention the face melting rock.Two more “Pick of Destiny” tracks are played: “Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)” featuring John Konesky on vocals as the devil (in place of Dave Grohl) and “The Metal” solidifying the metal genre’s unbeatable sound that still rocks socks off today.
“Dio” was a personal favorite for me as it’s often overlooked from Tenacious D’s first album and truly shows their ability to write a heartfelt salute to one of their heroes.
“Tribute” may not have ended the set, but it sure dominated the tail end of it. Touted as the first song written by the band, the rock anthem pays homage to so many important bands in its style and is truly one of the greatest and best songs in the world.
After many chants, the band peeked around the edge of stage left as they reappeared in tall uncle sam-like U.S.A. flag hats for the encore. Black fumbled around his guitar before the group found their footing and delivered the first performance of “Wonderboy” this tour. “Wonderboy” is the band’s top song to me as far as what they’re able to achieve; it totally makes you forget the band is mainly a comedic act and has such emotion in the vocals and honesty in the song structure.
Tenacious D ended on the hilarious ballad “Fuck Her Gently” and dedicated the song to all the guys in the audience. The thoughtful advice in the number was the last bit of sexual themes that were spread throughout the show.
I’m so glad that with The Anthem is now open in DC we finally have an act like Tenacious D coming to the area. The venue has filled the void in between mid-size venues and arenas. So many great shows are happening here… be on the lookout and catch Tenacious D if you can;it’s a show of endless fun and rock.