Tenacious D

Tenacious D w/ Puddles Pitty Party• June 17, 2022• Sandy Amphitheater

Reviewed by Kevin Rolfe

Photographed by Alisha Gregson

It was one of the more wild nights I’ve seen at Sandy Amphitheater. The mighty Tenacious D made a tour stop in the typically mild-mannered Salt Lake suburb. The powerhouse fusion of Jack Black and Kyle Gass was almost more than Sandy Amp could handle.  I don’t know how often the “D” goes on tour. I don’t know that they come to Utah too often.  The vibe inside Sandy Amp was that of great anticipation. It was a different kind of excitement. There was this feeling like “this Is going to be awesome.” But also, “I wonder just how amazingly weird it’s going to get tonight.” And it got pretty weird.  But the perfect amount.  Tenacious D mixed a cocktail of weird, hilarious, blue, and rock on that stage.  This show may have been funny. But Tenacious D came to rock. And so did theIr fans. 

Puddles Pity Party

Photo Credit: Alisha Gregson

The show began about as perfect as you could expect. Puddles Pity Party, a man (Mike Geier dresses as the clown from the opera, Pagliacci took the stage with a stool a suitcase, and some tissues.  I found myself thinking either ‘this is amazing’ or ‘what is happening’. I loved it. Puddles was so funny. But in a clever way.  I mean he never departed from his serious demeanor. He sang Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On” from Titanic with as much seriousness as if he was singing on the actual Titanic while it was sinking. Don’t worry if that didn’t blow your mind, he mashed it up with Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”.  Who on earth would have ever thought those songs would go together?  The name you’re looking for is Puddles.

Even more impressive was when he sang Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven”.  Now singing that as a clown would have been something. But Puddles Pity Party didn’t stop there. He sang “Stairway “ with the lyrics from the theme to Gillian’s Island.  I mean, What?!  The strangest part was that the lyrics worked so well that a few times I thought ‘Oh he’s gone back to the original lyrics’. Nope. Still Gilligan.  Towards the end of his set, he sang the Styx classic, “Come Sail Away”.  I kept waiting for him to do something different but nope. He sang that one straight through.  Didn’t see that coming. Puddles kept us on our toes, perplexed us, and gave everyone a good time. We were officially ready for Tenacious D!

Tenacious D

All the anticipation, all the excitement, and all of Puddles Pity Party lead us to this moment. The crowd felt it. The stage was clear and the intro music volume increased. And then there they were. Jaybles and Kage. Jack Black and Kyle Gass. Tenacious D!! The instant they were seen the sold-out Sandy Amphitheater erupted.  Gass appeared first followed by Black who was holding a glowing green orb instead of the green crystal mentioned in the song, “JB JR RAP”.  Black told the audience, “You see this here green orb? It’s called the orb of Gilgamesh.  It crashed twelve thousand years ago…” The audience lingering on the patio sprinted back to their seats.  Those already in their seats were losing their minds.  We were off and running! 

I have to admit, I was pretty star-struck. Not a common thing for me. Jack Black is one of my comedy idols and who couldn’t love the great Kyle Gass?  I just couldn’t believe that I was seeing them in person. Jack Black went crazy in typical fashion. Jumping, kicking, and running around. Following the third or fourth song, it was pretty clear he was out of breath. “The altitude is f**king with me. I’m gonna take a quick rock ‘n’ roll sip of water and I will be right back.”  He laid on the ground for about 15 seconds and then hopped up and resumed the rocking. Black also shared his love for Utah saying, “Gorgeous spot you’ve got here. We love your mountains. Gorgeous mountains. You can get lost in them mountains.”

Speaking of rocking, these guys really can rock. Of course, they’re really funny, but they’re no slouches when it comes to melting faces. Jack Black has the vocals, and Kyle Gass can play a mean guitar. Their backup band sounded great and added to the rock ability of the D.  It felt like a proper rock show. Except we laughed a lot and the crowd was pretty random. I loved this crowd. They were so invested. They hung on everything Jack Black or Kyle Gass said. I wish all concert crowds were this involved.

Some highlights for me were “Saxaboom” and “Roadie”.  The boys were in the middle of an impromptu cover of “Rock and Roll” by Led Zeppelin when Jack Blacked stopped everything and said,  “Hold on.  Give me the Saxaboom right now!”  The crowd went nuts and a roadie brought out the amazing Saxaboom and Black played the marvelous instrument until Gass stopped the show and asked a roadie for the Maxaboom.  Which was an even larger version of the Saxaboom.  The audience loved this bit and got so into it as the song went along.  

I think my favorite Tenacious D song is “Roadie”.  The lyrics are so great. 

Because the roadie knows 
What the roadie knows 
And the roadie knows that he wears black clothes
And he hides off in the shadows of the stage

I was laughing so often during the song and I think hearing it live was even better than the recording.  When the song was over Tenacious D brought out all of their roadies to take a bow. As the unsung heroes of tours took their applause from the audience the crowd began chanting “Roadie! Roadie! Roadie”.  There was a moment later in the show when a roadie ran out to adjust a mic stand. When he began to head offstage the chants began again.

Another favorite moment in the show was when Jack Black told Kyle Gass to join him downstage left for a “private conversation”.  He reminded Gass to bring his mic.  Black pointed out something weird about their guitarist.  He suggested that he might be possessed by Satan. The music started and they began spinning in circles as their battle against the great demon of the underworld began.  

Towards the end of the main set, The “D” played crowd favorite, “Tribute”.  This is Tenacious D’s biggest hit and it was a clear favorite by the reaction of everyone at Sandy Amphitheater.  If you’re not familiar, the song takes us on a journey with Tenacious D as they are approached by a “Shiny Demon” and are told to play “The Best Song in the World”.  It’s an amazing tale and the song has some great, great moments.  

Before the band left,  they brought the roadies out for another bow.  They even asked for a “Light Solo”.  This was my first time seeing something like this.  But as the music played, the lights had their own moment.  I loved the idea and hope it catches on.  While the boys were off stage the audience chanted “D! D! D! D!”.  The duo returned along with their band. Jack Black mimed to the crowd “One more? Two More? Three more?” He then indicated that three was it!  

Tenacious D performed a medley of Beatles songs including “You Never Give Me Your Money”, and a medley of songs from The Who including “Pinball Wizard”.  For their final song, they shared that this song was for “Straight folks or whatever kind of fu*k position you prefer.  They then performed the amazing “F**k Her Gently”. This would be my favorite moment of the night.  

I’m a huge fan of awkward moments.  Especially when I’m not at the center of them.  I met an Amphitheater volunteer named, James.  Turns out his mom is also a volunteer.  Turns out James and his mom were standing right next to each other while Tenacious D so tenderly performed “F**k Her Gently”.  Can you imagine?  I mean, can you imagine listening to 

Sometimes you’ve got to squeeze
Sometimes you’ve got to say please
Sometimes you got to say hey
I’m gonna f**k you, softly
I’m gonna screw you gently
I’m gonna hump you, sweetly
I’m gonna ball you discreetly

With your mom???  What was also not lost on me was the amazing castle backdrop with phallic-looking towers.  James seemed to take it in stride which I very much respected.  I would have been mortified.  But that’s the beauty of Tenacious D.  Their lyrics and content are so explicit that you can’t help but laugh at the audacity of this band.  

It was hard to see the guys go, but they gave us everything we hoped for.  I’m not sure when they’ll be back.  Yes, we’ll see them collectively and individually on the screen.  But nothing really compares to seeing Kyle Gass and Jack Black combine their forces in Tenacious D. I honestly didn’t think I would have the opportunity.  So glad they decided to tour, and happier that they decided they needed to stop by Utah. Much success on the rest of the tour Jables and Kage.  Until next time.   

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