House Of Blues, Orlando, FL • April 2, 2002
I came to get rocked. As anyone who hasn•t been living underground knows, Tenacious D are the undisputed gods of rock. Armed with only acoustic guitars, Jack Black and Kyle Gass put every other band in the world to shame with the awesome power of their rock might. But they carry it off in front of a packed crowd at Downtown Disney®•s House Of Blues® — before the Dreaded Disney Curfew®? I had to find out.
Alas, thanks to the Dreaded Disney Curfew® (which states that all House Of Blues® shows must end by midnight or we’ll all turn into pumpkins — or something), the show started impossibly early, and owing to the long drive from Melbourne (the land that Central Florida forgot), we missed clown-faced rockers Greasepaint. Complimentary buzz was making its way around the HOB® when we arrived, and I•ve heard good things about the band in the past, so I•m certain that they rocked.
But none could rock as does The D, and before long, JB and KG took the stage to prove it. Tearing into a cover of Queen’s “Flash” (the theme from the 1980 blockbuster Flash Gordon), The D held the overful HOB® rapt through a quick run of songs that included their own epic tale “Wonderboy” and covers of the themes from The Land of the Lost and Fat Albert.
Twas then that Jack took note of the massive throng of admirers, noting “we started our tour in Orlando, but it’s much more tight and full this time.” Wishing to give the audience the full benefit of their awesome prowess, JB and KG mounted podiums to stand far above the crowd so that even those stuffed into the back of the HOB® could experience the wonder of The D, Jack not satisfied ’til his own podium stood higher than Kyle’s.
From there the evening was a mix of full-on rock — with original D tunes like “Fuck Her Gently” and the greatest song in the world, “Tribute,” getting the best response from the adoring masses — multimedia audiovisual experience in the form of two short films (hilariously detailing The D’s songwriting efforts — which led to the birth of their very own “butt baby,” who was adopted by an audience member — and their hustle for cash — which ended in a big mess GWAR can only jealously wish they could match), and the best stage patter of any band, ever.
The presence of members of Creed in the audience (or at least, that’s what The D told us) drew the disdain of The D’s adoring fans, for they knew that no wimpy pseudo-Christian rock band could stand up to the awesome evil might of The D (and besides, most discerning Floridians are rather embarrassed that Creed call Florida home). Faring better were “the prince of fucking darkness,” Ozzy Osbourne — who Jack ably imitated while telling the story of being asked to record commercials for The Osbournes while introducing a song from one of those commercials — and his Black Sabbath replacement, The D’s idol, “shrimpomatic” Ronnie James Dio.
After an evening that included a power solo from KG that included covers of “Don’t Fear the Reaper” and “Mr. Brownstone,” Jack’s amazing virtuosity on the “saxoboom,” and even the break-up and reunion of The D, the crowd was still not sated, and expressed their displeasure when The D moved to end the evening. JB acknowledged the fans’ dismay, saying “I know, it’s hard to say goodbye to The D,” but still the band had to leave.
But the crowd’s desperate pleas for more did not go unheralded, as The D reappeared before the adoring throng for “City Hall.” They moved to leave again, but the crowd would have none of it, and The D appeased with covers of REO Speedwagon’s “Keep On Lovin’ You” and a frankly stunning version of The Beatles’ “You Never Give Me Your Money.”
Before the final two songs of the night, JB admonished the crowd, “Don’t pretend you didn’t get rocked hard.” And he was right. The D rocked us hard, and we will never be the same.