Live: Tenacious D(estroy) Illinois State University's Red Bird Arena





The last time I sucked on Tenacious D it was when they greeted 25,000 + at the 2001 Y-100 FEZtival in Philly. I said it then and I will say it again, even though the mindset behind the D is that of a late '70s, comedic folk rock arena band, their fans and desired venue are found in the smoky clubs and on college campuses. Last night I made the three hour tour, the three hour tour, to Illinois State University's Red Bird Arena, a venue filled to the brim with smoked out college kids who were first turned on to the D thanks to Mr. Show, Napster, and other streaming underground mediums. Following in the footsteps of Cheech and Chong, the high energy power of Tenacious D shook the rafters of the stadium, as the D's message to the students rang loud and clear - "quit your fucking day job".

As they ripped into their chilling rendition of the "Flash Gordon" theme song, every student who had been waiting for this moment since the Autumn release of Tenacious D's self-titled album, knew that this night would be special. KG looked as though he had just come from a workout, draped in cut off shirts, sweatpants and headbands, while Jack continued his promise to never shave or brush his hair. "Wonderboy" crept in next and sounded just as amazing as it was when it was recorded on the record (and the live show doesn't offer a full band, holmes). "Land of the Lost", followed by a funky monkey version of the "Fat Albert Theme" were just what the crowd needed to get into the groove.


In between songs JB and KG enjoyed themselves as they battled each other to the death via a set-long acoustic guitar challenge (KG won of course). At one point Jack mentioned how KG looked like Jennifer Beals from Flashdance, since the Cage resembled the dance instructor of a late '80s aerobics class. Jack began to sing the "Maniac" song as KG ripped into the famous manic dance.

"Tribute" continued the set with highly animated storytelling about the famous demon in the song, performed by the cartoonish Jack Black. JB was all over the stage last night, hopping and popping, making the crowd laugh before, during and after each song, as he vented from time to time with his uplifting rants. The "tribute" of which the duo sing about in the "Best Song" came into play during then end, as flashbacks of Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" came to mind as the band quietly said goodbye to the song.

The band's road manager and sometimes comedic accomplice brought out what appeared to be called a "Sax-A-Boom" on a royal pillow. JB played the Fisher Price instrument for a couple of seconds, before the Cage ripped into another burst of dance steps that would make Fred Astaire glad that he is still dead.

"Cosmic Shame" was next, which does not appear on the album, but all the kids seemed to know the long winded rant / song which featured JB's human beat box / Bobby McFerrin tribute noises throughout.

"The Road", "F Her Gently" and "Rock Your Socks " helped escort the pair of aces off the stage and onto the top of the new generation of comedic rock mountain of which they rule with an iron Cleveland Steamer.

Their well crafted songs, highly (and we do mean highly) entertaining improv, and raw talent are insane and at times incomprehensible, seeing as somewhere beneath all of the fame, fortune, and popularity that Tenacious D were created as a joke. I guess the joke's on us and I am proud to say that I will continue to laugh and be entertained by the World's Greatest Rock Band Ever - Tenacious D.

Source: Jason Anfinsen

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Live: Tenacious D(estroy) Illinois State University's Red Bird Arena