Tenacious D @ Pioneer Courthouse Square - Portland, OR

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     The people wanted the D, so the fuckin' D is back. After a couple years of post-pandemic productivity, Jack Black and Kyle Gass are on their first US tour since 2019. Tenacious D's summer tour kicked off at Telluride Bluegrass Festival on the 16th and made its way to Portland's Pioneer Courthouse Square on the night of Juneteenth Father's Day. 
     Puddles the crooning clown started the evening's events with his brand of melancholy karaoke. Clad in his jester best, the near seven-foot harlequin bellowed vibrato into everything from Beegees' "I Started a Joke" to the Pixies' "Where is My Mind?" After finishing with a Johnny Cash/The Who mashup, Puddles cleared the floor for JB and KG, who revealed themselves in the thick of an unearthly green mist, wielding the Crystal of Gilgamesh and ready to unleash face-melting power. 
     In the style of a comedic rock opera, Tenacious D whipped out a setlist of antics and anthems spanning their career catalogue. Supported by a dedicated crew of high caliber backing players, they crushed the hits, including the big bad numbers such as "The Metal" and "Tribute." Between tracks they acted out original skits like Kyle quitting the band, followed by Jack crying about it and promptly transposing his tears into a tune. The D's gargatuan gusto frothed over the stage, through the speakers and into the sold-out square. Jack Black is a robust vocal presence powered by contagious charisma, the polar balance to Kyle's deadpan-fried demeanor and acoustic chops. 
     As captivating and entertaining as the duo can be, one of the most endearing qualities of their show was the special attention and gratitude Tenacious D gave to their production staff. On top of writing and performing a song specifically about the roadie struggle, they thanked everyone individually on their team, even going so far as to give the stage designer a silent "lighting solo." That sense of conscious humor is in spirit of the band's humble, fictional beginnings, born of nothing more than a studio apartment bromance and a persistent open mic grind. Now, with Rage Kage and Jables selling out back-to-back, arena-scale concerts and more merch than Spaceballs, it's probably safe to say their greatest punchline is that they've finally become what they always were ironically: Rock Gods, but that's just a matter of opinion.