Tenacious D @ Sydney Opera House
Reviewed on Saturday May 11
It was a confused atmosphere before Saturday’s gig. Punters in their least-ripped band shirts appeared nervous. A half-naked guy wearing devil horns and painted head-to-toe in red stared quizzically at an extensive wine list. The long tresses of interspersed metalheads (some in suit jackets) were unusually well-brushed. A puzzling picture indeed, until you consider that the headline act was Tenacious D, playing at the Sydney Opera House.
The spectrum of genre and medium covered by the evening’s choice of acts was vast, but couldn’t have been more perfect. Comedian Damien Power took to the stage first, unleashing a barrage of stich-inducing political, social and philosophical anecdotes. With award nominations for ‘Best Comedy’ and ‘Best Newcomer’ up his sleeve, Damien’s bio claims that he is known simply as ‘The Destroyer’ among comedy circles, after one audience member laughed so hard during a show that “she literally died.” I don’t know if that was quite the case at the Sydney Opera House, but he certainly had the Loudest Dude Ever behind me shrieking with glee.
I imagine it’s fairly easy to win over a crowd of rock dudes when you sprint onstage, dressed in a bigfoot suit, shredding out ‘Eruption’ on a wireless electric guitar – as Sasquatch did with ease. One-man band Sasquatch functioned perfectly as a main support, hyping up the crowd with classic rock covers and brilliant original material. Without question, and yeti-themed love songs aside, the highlight here was Sasquatch’s incredible, flawless rock voice.
“What are we DOING here?!” asked an incredulous Jack Black, cementing the nervous, band-shirted sentiment from earlier in the evening. The almighty Tenacious D had exploded on stage to the loudest, most drunken roar ever heard under the iconic sails, and upbeat second song ‘Low Hangin’ Fruit’ had left them sweaty and breathless. “This is the Sydney Opera House. Bands like us don’t play here! Oh, that’s right – THERE ARE NO FUCKING BANDS LIKE US.”
It’s true, there aren’t. As JB and partner in crime Kyle Gass launched into a high-energy set comprised of tracks from new album Rize of the Fenix as well as plenty of classics including ‘Double Team’, ‘Cosmic Shame’, ‘Kickapoo’ (with Kyle as Meat Loaf and Sasquatch as Dio), and the odd Led Zeppelin track (‘Rock and Roll’) or Beatles medley (‘You Never Give Me Your Money’/’The End’); as Kyle traditionally quit the band and re-emerged to join Black in a touching rendition of ‘Dude (I Totally Miss You)’; and as a nearly sold-out crowd joined together in a loud and off-key sing-along of final encore ‘Fuck Her Gently’, punters simultaneously laughed until their sides hurt and marvelled at the skill of these unbelievable songwriters.
Multiple standing ovations (only one prompted) were surely well-deserved throughout this stellar evening of entertainment. The D may be getting on a bit in age, but their energy, rock spirit and stage show is unfaltering.
BY SHERIDAN MORLEY