REVIEW: Tenacious D’s show is part rock opera, part off-Broadway play

Tenacious D

The Riv // Chicago, IL // November 14, 2018

The apocalypse ruined the planet, but the D are protecting our future!

Jack Black and Kyle Gass are like your high school friends who stuck around the old neighborhood while you went off to college. Years later, you come back to visit your parents and head down to the local bar in the evening. The bar is nothing special, but it gives you a great sense of nostalgia. And, sure enough, Jack and Kyle are there, playing on the 7-foot makeshift stage at the end of the room. It’s like you never left home.

Take this feeling and multiply it by 100 and that’s the feeling you get at a Tenacious D show. The comedy rock duo released their fourth album, Post-Apocalypto, just two weeks before their shows at The Riv, both of which sold out quickly. The album is a companion to an animated show the duo created for YouTube in response to Trump being elected president. To this effect, Tenacious D played the album in its entirety while behind a screen that projected snippets of the cartoon. The animation is crude, limited, and looks like a kid drew it; it’s perfect.

While the band jammed out to Post-Apocalypto, dozens of fans were left feeling more than disappointed, as it was clear the show was oversold. It’s not clear if the venue sold too many tickets, or the promoters counted a total for both nights rather than each individual night. Either way, tons of people slowly wandered the upper balcony, desperate to find anywhere to sit, while others simply gave up and drank in the lobby. Tenacious D would have been much better suited for the Aragon Ballroom across the street, but the venue was booked.

Despite this oversight, the band played on. For the second half of the night, Jack Black and Kyle Gass broke out the big hits like “Tribute”, “Beelzeboss”, and “Wonderboy”. They stepped out from behind the screen and really interacted with the audience. While Post-Apocalypto is a fun album, the stage show accompanying the album felt a little stiff. The duo is at their best when they can play off of each other. Many people in the front row had waited outside for hours to get their coveted spot, and they certainly weren’t disappointed.

Tenacious D