Gig Review: Tenacious D / Dave Hill – The Hydro, Glasgow (9th May 2024)

This was set to be a huge gig, and perhaps a surprise given the history of the headliners. I always felt that Tenacious D were a little side project, a joke that grew legs and ended up being a major, arena-headlining monstrosity. Strange how things like that can happen. Anyway, doors were a very early half six, given that the show didn’t start till 8pm but I guess they needed time to ensure they were raking cash in at the merch stalls.

Dave Hill (c) Gavin Lowrey

The support act was Dave Hill (the American comedian, not the guitarist from Slade). He was on for 30 minutes and is a hard one for me to review as, although he got laughs from people around me, he really didn’t hit my funny bone. He was a one-man band of cringy humour, but in fairness the man could play the guitar.

Halfway through his act the drummer (Scott Seiver) and bass player (John Spiker) from Tenacious D came out in support, with Kyle Gass jumping in shortly after with his recorder. Overall uncomfortable humour and rude dad type jokes to music… with nunchucks. Which is probably great if that’s your kind of thing.

However… my 16 year old son who was with me was more positive. He quite liked Dave, found him funny and thought the pick up lines and jokes about Poundland were especially good. Each to their own.

By 8.40 venue was jumping. Both seated and main floor, with a good crowd in for the headline act.

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Tenacious D hit the stage at 9pm and from start to finish we were all taken on a theatrical journey that rocked our asses off. The band was on great form and engaged with the crowd throughout the whole show. Hearing Jack Black talk about things as specific as Paisley and Glasgow Central Station really made him seem quite personable, but I gather he’d spent the day around the town going by some photos we saw on social media. Probably no surprise given his reputation for being a genuinely nice guy.

Tenacious D (c) Gavin Lowrey

This was no “turn up, play songs, walk off” act. Opening with “Kickapoo” which set the tone for the evening with a heavy metal message a tons of swearing, we knew what we were in for. You also don’t get a song much more metal than one which featured Meatloaf and Ronnie James Dio’s own voices on the original recording. Sat one tier up, we could see the crowd going mad and hear them singing along with all the words… and this was just the opener.

Many of their songs are self-referential, or almost spoken-word with backing music and a chorus thrown in. “Wonderboy” was another one I wasn’t familiar with until the show, and was like “Tribute” in that it was story first / song second. By the time they were finished this one, Jack Black was already covered in sweat and we were barely twenty minutes in!

I have so many highlights from the night. Hearing “Tribute” live for the first time will stay with me for a long time. We all know it’s a great song (but not the actual best song ever, oh no), but you honestly haven’t lived until you’ve seen it performed live in front of thousands. The big inflatable Satan. I mean… it’s a big inflatable Satan. What’s not to like?

Seeing Kyle and Jack running along the beach in a white pants and a Mankini is something else I’ve never forget… although I really wish I could! Even remembering their quality cover of “Wicked Game” isn’t going to get rid of those mental scars. Oh and I’d never heard of a “Sax-a-boom” before but it’s going on my Christmas list now!

Tenacious D (c) Gavin Lowrey

The main part of the set ended with a long version of “Double Team” so that all the band had a chance to be introduced and rattle off a solo each. It’s so easy make these things drag on, but the crowd were up for it and each musician got a deserved spot in the limelight. Obviously when the band left the stage, we knew they were going to come back on for one more song. OK, two. No… four more! A very generous encore, which climaxed (sorry) with “Fuck Her Gently”,  huge showers of sparks and jets of flame. Around all the laughter, one thing I noticed was that Jack Black was still nailing every vocal note, high and low. Not bad at all after a ninety minute set.

In our company we had Fergus, he’s 10 years old and it was his first ever gig. He loved it and really really wants to dress up as “The Metal” for Halloween. I’m not sure if this makes us a good or bad influence. I’ll take either.

Overall, a freakin’ great night. Everyone left in high spirits and ready to rock the night away!

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Photos by Gavin Lowrey

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