Tenacious D rocks out in the Midwest

The self-proclaimed “Greatest Band in the World”, Tenacious D, rocked out on Sunday to a filled Pinewood Bowl Theater in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Austin J. Yerington, Arts Reporter

It’s hot, it’s sticky, the rain has finally cleared off. I can see the steam from the ground rising around the seating. My best friend and I are waiting for a concert that is not just an almost four-and-a-half-hour drive across Iowa in the making but more than decade. We are waiting for “The Greatest Band in the World,” Tenacious D.

Anticipation grew for the full hour and 45 minutes that we waited for sunset, until Wynchester came out. The two-person opening act played for an hour with a set list that danced the line between a knee-deep country sound and an almost meta acknowledgment of the genre. They mingled with the crowd and pointed out the bizarreness of a country band opening for the famous rock comedy band.

They left after playing two covers and three original songs. It grew quiet. We waited until the clock struck 9 p.m. on the dot.

Once the hour started, the lights dimmed, then suddenly Tenacious D stormed the stage with green orb in hand. Without further ado, Kyle Gass and Jack Black launched into songs from their recent rock-opera album, Post-Apocalypto.

Once the dust settled from the intro, a large structure suddenly rose behind the band. As the band moved into the song “Rize of the Fenix,” a 20-foot tall gray skull made of genitalia stood proudly behind the ensemble. It towered above the band and remained up for the entirety of the concert.

Tenacious D was a band that I had waited years to see. With early memories of listening to the début album way too young with my sister and bonding over knowing all the words to “Wonder Boy” with my now best friend, the band holds a special spot in my heart. As I looked around the filled Pinewood Bowl Amphitheater, it’s clear the group holds a spot in many others’ hearts as well.

With a band that has three full-length albums, an HBO show, and a cult-classic film, Tenacious D has more than enough music to fill up a concert. This performance, the musicians acknowledged that they would work backward through their discography. My belief for this is because of the narrative nature of each of their albums and the incredible popularity of their earlier music compared with their newer material.

After the section of Rize of the Fenix songs, the band started to sing the title song from the 2006 film The Pick of Destiny. The band worked through this track, until suddenly an off-microphone argument broke out between Black and Gass. After it ended, Black started to speak, but Gass cut him off and said, “I’m sorry, but I’m done. I quit.”

Gass walked off stage. The crowd and Black acted heartbroken, but this act happens with every performance. Black then launched into the ballad “Dude (I totally miss you).” The song progressed until suddenly Gass returned and helped finish the final part. They hugged at the end to the sound of cheers. The guitarist was then possessed by Satan, much like the film, and Gass and Black defeated him with the film’s final song “Beelzeboss.”

After they defeated Satan in a rock-off, the friendship of “KG and Jables” only lasted until they reached the next and final portion of the concert, when Gass messed up one of the duo’s in-sync power bows. Another fight ensued, and Gass announced his break from the band again, but it only lasted for half a minute before they took the stage again. Black played the song “Kyle Quit the Band,” which led right into the song “Friendship.”

The final three songs were the band’s famous tracks “Kielbasa,” “Tribute,” and “F**k her Gently.” The final 15 minutes of the performance became a massive sing-along, with the entire audience screaming the lyrics. After the final song was played, and Satan was defeated not just once but twice, only then was the stage cleared by the band’s roadies, and the crowd left the concert with something fun to talk about.

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