Tenacious D

support Sasquatch
author MBC date 12/02/15 venue Falconer Salen, Copenhagen, DEN

When comedy/rock act Tenacious D took the stage at Falconer Salen in Copenhagen on Thursday, masked metal titans Slipknot were playing at the same time, in the same city and nearby to boot at the much larger Forum venue. This of course happens to be a coincidence, but the irony of the situation becomes clear, if one takes into account the events that happened merely days before these two performances. As we posted on our website as well as Facebook, Tenacious D won the award for Best Metal Performance for their cover of Ronnie James Dio’s “The Last In Line” this week at the annual Grammy Awards. Also nominated in this category were metal heavyweights Anthrax, Mastodon, Motorhead and of course Slipknot. In a situation terribly similar to the notorious incident of Jethro Tull beating Metallica at the 1989 Grammys, the favourite to win the award struck out to the very obscure nominee. The Academy’s reasoning behind The D being nominated in a Best Metal category, let alone winning it, with such stiff competition baffles the mind. One might even say that they were in fact the least deserving, considering that they, well, are not a metal band?! Nevertheless, on this Thursday night, Copenhagen music fans could either choose the masked metal mastery of Slipknot or the acoustic comedic rock of Tenacious D, and while AP went to Forum, I went to Falconer Salen to check out The D.

Full photo galleries available at Lykke Nielsen

The concert was sold out and the venue was already packed to the gills upon my arrival. Similar to the band’s last show in Copenhagen at Tap 1, the warm-up act was a man dressed in a sasquatch costume standing in the middle of the stage playing rock/blues songs and momentarily beating a drum with a bone. It went on for about half an hour and was exactly as stupid as it sounds. Tenacious D connoisseurs will recognise the sasquatch character as a major part of the band’s career all the way back to their brilliant HBO series (1997-2000). Still, no grade will be given to this “performance”, as it was utterly redundant and clearly served no purpose except maybe giving the audience time to drink more beer before the show.

Tenacious D

About 35 minutes later The D finally took the stage in grandiose fashion to the sound of Ennio Morricone’s “The Trio” from the Sergio Leone film “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly” (1966), perhaps spoofing how Metallica will enter a stage to Morricone’s “Ecstasy Of Gold” from the same film. As Morricone’s beautiful music played, the two short, stocky men entered the stage each with an acoustic guitar and serious frowns upon their faces to a massive ovation from the crowd. The bald headed lead guitarist Kyle Gass, dressed in a oversized t-shirt and sweatpants and lead vocalist Jack Black, sporting wild, unkempt hair and beard and what appeared to be a pyjamas with images of white tigers, showed from the get go what one can expect from a Tenacious D show.

The duo is unique in the sense that they master the art of being and looking funny and silly, while presenting themselves in a pretentious, theatrical way and having the musical skills to back it up. Whereas their concert in Tap 1 featured a backing band, this time it was the acoustic version of The D on stage, with only occasional moments of back-up vocals from the Sasquatch as well as the Roadie, which is another recognisable character from the band’s universe. With the much better acoustics at Falconer Salen and this stripped-down version of the band, the audience would have a more intimate and ultimately greater experience with Tenacious D tonight. There were no big robots on stage or giant banners behind the band, just two guys with guitars and microphones, which in essence really is the charm and appeal of the act.

The show started with a bang with a slightly prolonged version of “Tribute”, one of the band’s perhaps most recognisable songs, which naturally resulted in a massive roar from the packed venue. The crowd sang the song so loudly that it was actually difficult to hear Black’s vocals. After this followed more crowd favourites “POD” and “Rize Of The Fenix”. The show consisted of a great mix of material from the band’s career including highlights such as “Kielbasa”, “History” and “Dio”, the band’s tribute to the late great Ronnie James. Dio even made a spiritual appearance as well on “Kickapoo” with Black singing the part from his amazing cameo in the movie “The Pick of Destiny”. However, they did not play their Grammy Award winning Dio cover, and the only reference made to the Grammys was in fact Black stating to Gass during a flute solo: “That’s how you win Grammys”. About halfway through the show we were treated to the obligatory quarrel and atonement on stage with the songs “Karate”, “Dude (I Totally Miss You)”, “Kyle Quit The Band” and of course “Friendship”. Although obviously formulaic, when the two throw this little skit into the show, it always makes for a great moment.

Near the end of the show, they played an incredible prolonged version of “Double Team” that featured Black doing an excerpt from Black Sabbath’s “War Pigs”, demonstrating how his vocals fit really well with old-school heavy metal. In moments such as these, Jack Black shows what an amazing singer he actually is, and how he could be doing tremendously well singing in a “real” rock/metal band, much like Kyle Gass has the chops to be a lead guitarist for other bands. Again, this is exactly why this duo works so well and probably the reason why they have become such a massive success, despite pretty much doing the same shtick again and again. They combine their skills for comedy, theatricality and music into a unique mix of universal appeal. On Thursday, The D witnessed once again that they have a lot of fans in Denmark, with crowd favourite “FHG” perhaps getting the biggest response of the night.

For about 1 hour and 40 minutes Tenacious D entertained the overtly enthusiastic Danish crowd. The people who had seen the band live before, or those familiar with their “Complete Masterworks” DVD’s, already knew about several of the things that were going to happen during the show. However, when the material works this well, it becomes a pleasant reminder and a testament to the greatness and uniqueness of The D.

8

Setlist:

  • 1. The Trio (Ennio Morricone)
  • 2. Tribute
  • 3. POD
  • 4. Rize Of The Fenix
  • 5. Low Hangin' Fruit
  • 6. Señorita
  • 7. Throw Down
  • 8. Kickapoo
  • 9. Karate
  • 10. Dude (I Totally Miss You)
  • 11. Kyle Quit The Band
  • 12. Friendship
  • 13. Kielbasa
  • 14. History
  • 15. Rock And Roll (Led Zeppelin cover)
  • 16. Rock Is Dead
  • 17. Saxoboom solo
  • 18. Roadie
  • 19. The Ballad Of Hollywood Jack And The Rage Kage
  • 20. Wonderboy
  • 21. To Be The Best
  • 22. Double Team (with "War Pigs" excerpt)
  • 23. FHG
  • 24. Dio
  • 26. Flute solo
  • 27. Classico
  • 28. Baby
  • 29. Beatles cover

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