That Tenacious D thing

When my friend David first mentioned going to see Tenacious D on the start of their WORLD tour (always sounds cool to say that the world tour is starting in your country even though Ireland is a logical place for most American bands to start a European leg) I was fairly high on the idea. Their first album is rather enjoyable after all. “Tribute“, “Wonderboy“, “Friendship”, “Kielbasa” and, er, “Fuck her Gently” are all pretty cool songs.

Add in some humorous spoken-tracks like “One Note Song” (“I told you to do the bendy once in a while!”), “Inward Singing” (“Rock singers are only rocking you half the time! The other time there the the breathing in! But not anymore baby! Not with inward singing!”) and the hilarious “Drive Thru” and the platinum album is a pleasure to listen to.

So with that in mind I thought going to see “The D”‘s self-indulgent brand of comedy-rock with a few thousand hardy souls would be a bit of fun.

Arriving at the warehouse known as the RDS Simmonscourt I suddenly realised that I was about 10 years too old for it. The place was pretty jammed – maybe around 6000 or so, varying from teenagers to 30-somethings. The guys and gals I was with fancied beers but since it was Sunday night I had already had my fill of a couple of Miller.

The lights went down and we made our way from the beer hangar to the main concrete standing area, sidling our way towards the stage. The set up was not great – a large partition at the side of the stage blocked our view of Kyle Gass so we could only see Jack Black for most of the show.

The format of the show was odd. For the first half an hour they played acoustically with a few comedy pieces thrown in. The stage area was small – supposedly Kyle’s living room – and it was all a bit underwhelming. Then Jack announces that as good as the show is “it could be better”. He whipped out an electric guitar and said “let’s go electric!”. Cue some flashing lights and a fake electrical shock that claims the life of The D. The stage goes black and the large screen behind them plays a pre-recorded video of them arriving in hell (although Jack reasons that it could be heaven: “maybe heaven is red and hot – who really knows?”)

They meet a long-haired, bearded, fully-robed guitar-playing dude who identifies himself as “The Anti-Christ” when Jack suggests he is Jesus Christ (“Yeah, I get that all the time,” he says, sighing). The Anti-Christ agrees to join his band and a minute later they find their rhythm section when Colonel Sanders and Charlie Chaplin (who says he is in hell because he is gay) agree to play drums and bass respectively.

The screen falls to reveal a large stage behind and the lights flash, the guitars roar and we’re off – The D are ROCKING!

But frankly it still felt a bit flat. Kyle and Jack are entertaining and their occasional banter helped turn this in to a rock-opera of minor proportions. But we’re not talking Queen or The Who here – a lot of the songs were middling rockers with little to redeem them in terms of melody. It got tired very quickly.

There’s no doubt that not seeing their movie or buying the soundtrack album probably led to me missing the “jokes” but I’ve been to gigs before where the material has been strong enough to carry an act whom I didn’t know.

David did say to me that I shouldn’t be looking at it from the point of view of the music and he’s right to a degree – but if you’re not entertained, you’re not entertained.

Things picked up for the encore. “Fuck her Gently” was sung word-for-word by the high pitched audience (“You don’t always have to fuck her hard/In fact sometimes that’s not right to do”) and “Tribute” re-enforced its position as “the greatest song in the world”. They finished off with a Who medley which was enjoyable.

The crowd seemed to be entertained but I think I was a bit out of place there. I don’t think there will be a next time – Jack should stick to the day job – but if there is, I’ll pass.

Rating: ** 1/2

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