Tonight was road trip time from Belfast to Dublin, because tonight was a special night in the 3 arena. Tonight was when the one and only mighty Tenacious D, Jack and Kyle, were landed to launch their European Post-Apocalypto Tour.
It was an uneventful drive down and going via the toll roads its basically a very easy drive straight down to the 3 Arena. Even with the bitingly cold wind whipping round the queue was already well formed well ahead of opening time. Once we were in it was plain to see that tonight was a special night for Tenacious D fans from across the island as the floor and seated areas were filling up quickly. The buzz in the 3 Arena was very loud indeed.
Then the lights went down and the rumbling sounds of thunder and lightning booms from the stage. A quick stunned silence spread throughout the arena before a roar went up as two guys walked onto stage and picked up their acoustic guitars. Its important to point out this was not Jack and Kyle, it is in fact Wynchester. The support act and touring with Tenacious D. Fronted by Kyle Gass Band vocalist Mike Bray and Tenacious D electric guitarist John Konesky. The band released their self-titled debut album – Wynchester in 2018.
With a “Hello Dublin” they launch into their title track from their EP “Spreading The Gospel Of Good Times”. Immediately they stamp how incredible they are with their brand of powerful booming country rock. The audience is stunned at what they are witnessing but soon rallied as they got into the catchy rhythm pouring of the stage. Once they finished to a rapturous applause the interaction was just as good with a “What’s going on Dublin?” and the joking begins. It’s a perfect start, not only was the opening song a sledgehammer of pure excellence in masterful vocals, lyrics and acoustic guitar but the guys are chilled, down to earth and ready to chat and have a bit of fun.
The two tag team chatting back and forth with each other “Everyone ready for the D? we love those guys as they taught us a lot. Taught us about Satan, about Sasquatch, Keilbasa Sausage and Ronnie James Dio!” to the last a roar of approval filled the air. And with that they performed a fantastic countrified rock version of “Rainbows In The Dark” before then heading into their own “Two Man Job”
Introducing the next song as a new one “South of the Border” was just perfectly rocking out until there seemed to be a problem with the mic cable. One of the roadies ran out to fix it during this impromptu intermission to which the crowd in true Irish response sang out their lungs with “Olay, Olay, Olay, Olay”. Once it was finxed and as they started back up, they praised the audience for the magic powers of their chanting.
On they went with the drinking song “Ridge Runner” which seemed to be in tribute of the perfect Guinness before dropping a wonderful cover of “Easy Like A Sunday Morning”. They finished off with “High Desert Rambler”
And so the intermission for the set change. Down went the lights and on came an animated show on a screen in front. And Lo! From the stage came the entrance theme of Post-Apocalypto to herald the saviours of rock!
To a massive deafening roar, the dynamic Duo of Jack and Kyle strode into the light and started playing their absolute hearts out kicking off with “Hope”. It was a little jarring to begin with as between the band and the audience was the screen. But it was quickly forgotten as everyone there began to slip into a trance of a fully immersive show as the Tenacious D performed their new album with added D as the slideshow and story telling from Jack and Kyle taking the jam packed arena on an epic journey of post-apocalyptic psychedelic proportions.
Interspersed between “Making Love”, “Take Us Into Space” and “Fuck Yo-Yo Ma” the animation pulled the story onwards into the type of madness only Jack and Kyle can create. On went the musical odyssey with “Daddy Ding Dong”, “Robot” and “Colors” until the end began to speed up with “JB JR Rap”, “Woman Time” and “Save The World”. Everyone was entranced as the story played out in front of them roaring with applause and pure joy all topped off with hilarious rude, crude and lewd jokes involving penises, vaginas, bums, a terminator that kills, sucks dick and fully kitted out to pleasure man or woman. The sheer lunacy of the plot line, the animation, the intermixing of Tenacious D performing live and the energy was a perfect storm of a piece of performance art of epic proportions.
And so the first half (yes! First half) of the gig came to close with the “Post-Apocalypto reprise”
The screen disappears and in an almost jump scare moment Jack and Kyle strode unexpectedly to the fore of the stage as Jack calls out “Thank you Dublin. We missed you. You’re looking good and even better than we remember”. The crowd were going apoplectic with joy. “That was our album Post-Apocalyto. Now its time for our greatest hits!” The roar of approval was deafening.
Then they launched into “Rize of the Fenix” and “Low Hangin’ Fruit”. The absolutely packed almost fanatical D fans went insane jumping, rocking and singing along. Up came the infamous “Sax-a-Boom” as the trance beats dropped like a hammer dropped from a 30 floor high building as Jack kept stopping in disappointment. “no, no. This isn’t dancing.” Each time they started up again and then stop to cajole more dancing from the audience until both the floor and the balconies ‘be trippin’ out’. The security staff were freaking out with all the balcony dancers letting go. It was a beautiful childish moment taunting the poor guys just trying to do their job.
It settled (if you can call it that) back down a bit with “Roadie” before the ineviable moment when Jack and Kyle argue on stage in a moment of wonderful theatrics as Kyle loudly declares “I quit” and walks off stage to roars of “awwwww” from the arena. Jack follows only to be heard saying “He’s gone? What? Cancel the show? NO!! I need the money……for cocaine. What? This mic still on??” before he rushed back out and without a word the audience knew what was coming next with “Dude (I Totally Miss You)” and then “Friendship”.
The crowd were on a complete joyous high as “Kickapoo”, “Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)” and “The Metal” were played with utter perfection. While Jack’s incredible vocals were pitch perfectly loud, so too the crowd fought back singing each and every word back.
“Dio” landed with just as much force before “Wonderboy” took everyone to a new level of experience. The sheer joy in people’s hearts showed clearly how much Tenacious D are beloved, how rapturous it felt to have Jack and Kyle physically grace the 3 Arena and how superb a performance was happening there in that moment.
Could it go any higher?? Well, yes. Yes, it could as the universally lauded song “Tribute” became a fully participation moment. The floor went mad with a mass of bodies heaving in time, lungs being pushed to hard and vocal chords pushed to their very limits as everyone was determined to become one with Tenacious D in that moment of ecstasy.
They finished their set with “Double Team” before thanking everyone. The applause was thunderous, it shook through everyone there. snippets of “Panama” by Van Halen and “Blackbird” (RocketSauce) by The Beatles
And yet there was one last burst of musicality that night as Jack, Kyle and the band came back on to perform a cover of Thin Lizzy’s “Jailbreak” before finishing with
“Fuck Her Gently”.
The final applause of appreciation was capped with a full standing ovation from the balconies. And thus the tale was spun, the band and audience were spent and the lights came up.
The whole show is something unique to behold, as a Tenacious D show should be. Wynchester were more than impressive and would be well worth seeing as headliners themselves. They rocked everyone’s socks off with relaxed, skilled and professional guitar mastery. Flawless, even when the set had its own hiccups. Tenacious D were transcendent, resplendent and 100% awesome.
The first half was a weird musical Monty Python journey that just landed every song perfectly, even with the five minutes screwup from the slideshow. It was an accident, but the way they turned the whole thing round with usual comedic aplomb it could be something to watch out for.
The second half of greatest hits was like a dream state for anyone who has ever heard of Tenacious D. each song and tune rammed home with passion and genuine energy. It was impossible for anyone there not to be moved or stand still. No one was leaving without a massive grin on their face as if they had the greatest and chillest trip with the Sasquatch in the world.
It is a show that you could watch night after night without ever getting bored. You really, really, really need to see Tenacious D live. That is all.
Review by Ivor Whitten
Photography by Darren Mcveigh