By Jacob Zinn
“The D is back! The D is back!” the Vancouver crowd chanted Sunday night.
Comedy metallers Tenacious D – comprised of Jack Black and Kyle Gass – rocked the PNE Amphitheatre, an unusual venue given the exhibition’s nearby access to the PNE Forum, the Agrodome and the Pacific Coliseum.
But the 3,000 or so concert-goers didn’t fuss over the makeshift outdoor stage, the aged bleachers and the rickety wooden stairs.
The D opened with “Rize of the Fenix”, the title track of their new album, followed by the disc’s next three tracks, “Low Hangin’ Fruit”, “Señorita” and “Deth Starr”. Fans at the barricade clearly listened to the new album on repeat, singing word-for-word with the new D classics.
JB and KG performed with a giant, inflatable, winged, veiny, phallic fenix looming over them, never mentioning the bird’s striking resemblance to male genitalia.
After a roadie gently dabbed off Black’s forehead with a towel, the duo started their ode to the road crew, “Roadie”, and segued into the party-starting “Throw Down”.
“You guys are awesome,” said Black to cheers. “I’m saying best crowd of the tour, easy.”
JB lit up the crowd with a brief saxaboom solo – he sure made the plastic keys of that children’s toy sing – and led that into “Kielbasa”, reaching back to the band’s 2001 self-titled debut.
As the sun set over the North Shore mountains, Jables sang the lyrics, “A long-ass fuckin’ time ago in a town called Kickapoo,” marking the first song off their sophomore record, 2006’s The Pick of Destiny.
Fans sang word-for-filthy-word, waving their hand-painted D posters and copies of the Jack Black-voiced video game, Brütal Legend. Cleary, they could relate as though their own fathers were anti-rockers who looked like Meat Loaf.
Onstage, Black blamed Gass for a lukewarm performance, prompting Rage Kage to quit, raise two middle fingers and moon his bare ass in JB’s direction. The fans, upset, started chanting “Kage” to give him support and hopefully bring him back.
“No amount of chanting ‘Kage’ will bring him back,” said Black. “He’s gone forever.”
The band was broken up for about 90 seconds until Black’s solo pre-bromance ballad, “Dude (I Totally Miss You)”, won Gass over.
They continued with songs from their debut record, including “Kyle Quit the Band”, “Friendship” and their dedication to the most powerful form of rock ‘n’ roll, “The Metal”. JB didn’t have as hearty of a laugh at the expense of the genres that tried to kill the metal.
The band burned through “Sasquatch”, “Papagenu (He’s My Sassafrass)”, and “Wonderboy”. However, long-time backing guitarist John Konesky became possessed by the Devil and the D had to fight him through “Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)”.
The D rocked so hard that KG broke a string, but not even Satan himself could get an old-fashioned moshpit started.
Following the song that slayed the Devil, Tenacious D performed their tribute to that song, “Tribute.” As the set wound down, they performed “Double Team” and a medley of songs by The Who, mimicking Pete Townshend’s trademark windmill.
“You can’t deny that we’ve rocked you extremely hard tonight,” said JB. “I daresay you’ve achieved multiple eargasms.”
The band left the stage momentarily as the fenix deflated, then peered through the bird’s wings and emerged for the encore, kicking off with “Dio” in memory of the late Ronnie James Dio.
“This one is for the ladies, but I’m singing it to the dudes on the behest of the ladies,” explained Black as the two of them performed “Fuck Her Gently” sans the backing band.
Overall, JB didn’t ham it up as much onstage and the exclusion of “Master Exploder” was a downer. But The D’s fans are as tenacious as the band, making Sunday’s show that much more energetic.
The D has rocked for a long, long time, and it’s much too early to pass the torch.
About the Author: Jacob Zinn is a fourth-year journalism student at Kwantlen Polytechnic University and a concert reviewer for The Runner. He prefers the hardest of rock and the heaviest of metal, and he is more metal than you. Website | Twitter