Tenacious D at the Pageant, 7/23/12: Review, Photos and Setlist
July 23, 2012
Tenacious D has the biggest dick in rock and roll. Not that I've seen too many rock band dicks -- I can't think of any offhand, actually -- but still I think it's safe to say Tenacious D's looming twenty foot dick easily towers above them all.
Allow me to explain. Inspired by the cover of the new record Rize of the Fenix, the lone set piece serving as a backdrop for the self-proclaimed "Greatest Band in the World" is a giant inflatable phoenix (or "Fenix") that looks, well, like a gigantic dick -- replete with gigantic balls. The album even comes with a sticker covering the bulk of the offensive piece of male anatomy - suffice it to say that subtlety is not Tenacious D's specialty. Dick jokes and juvenile humor are, however, and the capacity crowd at the Pageant Monday night couldn't get enough of it.
In the run up before the band went on, the shoulder-to-shoulder floor was bursting with enthusiasm. Every time there was any action whatsoever on the stage (roadies setting up equipment, house checking the lights, etc.), the crowd would scream with excitement, chanting "D, D, D, D," virtually foaming at the mouth to see their heroes in action. When the lights went down and the bands intro music started up, the roar was deafening.
Core members Jack Black and Kyle Gass took to the stage slowly, entering from the side in white glowing robes, hoods up. Triumphant, swelling classical music filled the house speakers as one of the band's roadies came out and removed the robes from the duo. As Gass and Black began performing the opening lines of the new album's title track, the backing band took the stage -- guitarist John Konesky, bassist John Spiker and drummer Brooks Wackerman, who also plays in seminal punk band Bad Religion. When the full band kicked in, the lights flashed as that enormous dick I mentioned earlier swelled and took shape, towering behind the band for the rest of the night's festivities.
The band remains as engaging as ever, and Jack Black's vocal range continues to impress -- throughout the night he sang every word to every song, never tiring in spite of his wind-up-toy-on-cocaine-like stage presence. The duo still retains the onstage chemistry they have always had, and oftentimes they faced one another at a distance of only a foot or two while shredding through chords on their acoustic guitars. In between nearly every song they took increasingly exaggerated, synchronized bows, oftentimes after "freeze framing" and remaining completely immobile for a few seconds. The timing in all of their moves was flawless enough to reveal its own choreography but effortless enough to come across as organic.