Friday, May 10, 2024

Tenacious D and the Spicy Meatball Tour, Live at Manchester Arena

Tenacious D have come a long way since their creation in 1994, as a joke by two struggling actors, performing in the underground LA comedy scene. 

Flash forward 30 years and the pair are playing sold out Arena shows, including Manchester AO Arena on Wednesday 8th May. The evening saw the legendary pair of Jack Black and Kyle Gass electrified with a seamless fusion of epic prog-metal tunes and uproarious comedy, eliciting belly laughs, head banging and devil horns throughout the night.

The atmosphere was abuzz with Dave Hill setting the stage aglow as he warmed up the crowd. His unique performance showcased a blend of comedic songs and poetry, including a piece centred around ‘Poundland’, all accompanied by lively electric guitar strumming, followed by clever Manchester-themed pickup lines that had the audience roaring with laughter. A crowd favourite being “Are you a Bee Network Bus? Because I’d like to ride you for free”, accompanied by an intense guitar solo. To top it off, Kyle Gass made a memorable appearance, delivering an intense recorder solo that brought the performance to a perfect close.

Taking the stage at 9 o'clock sharp, Tenacious D made their entrance to the tune of 'Overture' from the cult classic 'The Pick of Destiny', greeted by thunderous applause and chants of "D! D! D!". They launched into their opening song 'Kickapoo' with gusto, immediately showcasing Jack Black's trademark hilarity through his expressive facial antics and wild mane of hair.

JB, starts perspiring profusely due to the sheer awesomeness of his performance. With his wild mane, he locks eyes with the audience and exclaims, "I need everyone's full attention for this moment. Does anyone have a scrunchie?". He somehow acquired one and a roadie swiftly appears to tie his hair into a small ponytail, eliciting laughter from the crowd as Jack gazes at them with wild, comedic eyes.

The legendary pair takes the stage for an epic rendition of ‘Rize Of The Fenix’, showcasing their dynamic chemistry with each other and the band. Their seamless interaction and the sheer power of the hard rock anthem elevate the crowd's excitement, igniting chants of "The D! D! The D!"

Following the electrifying performance of ‘Rize Of The Fenix’, Jack and Kyle engage with the audience, jokingly praising the supposed epic pyrotechnics. However, Kyle reveals the truth that there was no pyro, leading to a humorous exchange as they introduce Biff (Biffy Pyro), the pyrotechnics intern. Clad in an exaggerated contraption, Biff admits his confusion about which button to press, sparking a comedic routine reminiscent of a pantomime. With a press of the big red button, epic flames erupt, earning thunderous applause. The question remains: can Biff deliver the same pyrotechnic magic for the rest of the evening? This ongoing joke perfectly showcases Tenacious D's impeccable comedic timing.

Tenacious D delivered some of their most epic tracks prematurely, including ‘Wonderboy’, ‘Video Games’ and of course ‘Tribute’. The audience proudly and passionately sang along in harmony with the band, word for word and with no stumbling. At this point a giant devil statue reminiscent of Dio and their epic dragon statue from the 80s. As they played the song, the statue came alive through lighting as Tenacious D recounted their performance to a shining shiny demon. 

Tenacious D unleashed a series of their most iconic tracks early on, including ‘Wonderboy’, ‘Video Games’, and the timeless ‘Tribute’. The audience enthusiastically joined in, singing along flawlessly with the band. Amidst the fervor, a colossal demon statue reminiscent of Dio and their legendary dragon statue from the 80s loomed over the stage. As they performed, the statue seemed to come to life through clever lighting effects, adding to the spectacle as Tenacious D regaled their performance to a shining, shiny demon.

Just when it seemed they couldn’t surpass the brilliance of ‘Tribute’, a personal favourite unfolded. A peculiar sound engulfed the stage, metal structures shifting and moving as the  physical embodiment of ‘The Metal’ emergedJB and Kage immediately engaged into battle reminiscent of Street Fighter, moving back and forth as they tried to defeat ‘The Metal’ with new wave, grunge and techno…but they failed.

Additional highlights of the evening featured ‘Sax-a-boom’, where Jack Black recreated the Jimmy Fallon moment using a toy saxophone. Kyle joined in with a larger version, accompanying a classic jazz track that overshadowed Jack's performance effortlessly.

Throughout the evening, Tenacious D entertained the audience with comedic sketches interspersed between songs. In one, they serenaded their roadie in a romantic rendition of the track ‘Roadie’. In another, they engaged in an onstage argument, resulting in Kyle storming off the stage, abruptly quitting, while Jack delivered an emotional performance of ‘Dude (I Miss You)’.

An unforgettable highlight was undoubtedly the grandeur of ‘Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)’, featuring touring guitarist John S. Konseky in the role of Beelzeboss. This epic performance showcased Tenacious D's ability to seamlessly blend prog metal mastery with their signature comedic flair, reaffirming their prowess beyond just comedy.

There were so many epic moments throughout Tenacious D’s performance at Manchester AO Arena, blending comedic brilliance with metal mastery to create a captivating experience. Undoubtedly a must-see act for any bucket list, they delivered twists and turns that kept audiences entertained And let’s not forget, Biffy Pyro finally nailed the pyrotechnics at the climax of ‘Fucker Her Gently’, providing the perfect conclusion to an incredible evening. 

Tenacious D and the Spicy Meatball Tour Dates:


1st – Copenhagen, Royal Arena

3rd – Luxembourg, Rockhal

5th – Dublin, 3Arena

7th – Birmingham, Resorts World Arena

8th – Manchester, AO Arena

9th – Glasgow, OVO Hydro

11th – Leeds, First Direct Arena

12th – Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena

13th – Brighton, Brighton Centre

15th – Paris, Accor Arena

Ana Joy King


Image: Ana Joy King

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