Once again I had a lucky hand in getting a last-minute ticket for the Tenacious D gig in Vienna, even for less money than I had expected. The venue was the same Jack White played just recently, so it’s no news that the sound quality of Gasometer was rather a questionable one (read the Jack White gig review here).
Due to several reasons I did not manage to see the opening act Sasquatch.
Anyway, I came to see Jack Black and Kyle Gass, the two guys who constitute Tenacious D. They came with nothing but their acoustic guitars in hand, unplugged, and did not have any supportive instruments such as drums, bass or electric guitar. Even though this means very few instrumental possibilities, I think they did quite well.
With Kyle Gass being an acceptable guitar player and Jack Black a truly convincing singer, the crowd did not need much more to be entertained. Anyway, there were some moments in which the guys (mainly Kyle Gass) were clearly out of rhythm, but this is not surprising when playing without a drummer. Gass, however, made up for it by eventually playing three flutes at the same time.
They started the show with the in-your-face title Tribute, something nobody really expected that early. During the two-hour show, Tenacious D served one hit after the next to the hungry audience, who knew all the lyrics by heart. Among their legendary songs like Dude, Kickapoo, Rage Cage and Fuck Her Gently, which was sung by the crowd during a short break from beginning to end, Tenacious D apparently wanted to use the evening to teach the audience some Rock’n’Roll history by covering Led Zeppelin (Rock and Roll), Black Sabbath (War Pigs) and The Beatles (You Never Give Me Your Money, The End). They did this really well, in their own special way.
It was visible throughout the whole gig, however, that the two guys did not really seem to enjoy what they were doing. You could see and feel that performing the show was indeed plain work for them. With predictable sketches and jokes they tried to keep up appearances, but there was no joy in their eyes. This is no surprise, though. They are famous for their humour, the masses know them for it, and therefore expect to see exactly that. And if the crowd does not get what it wants, the consequences for the musicians might be very bad ones. This leaves the artists no real space for experimentation and development. Quite a shame, especially with Jack Black uncompromisingly proving to be such a highly talented musician.