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12th June 2024

Tenacious D live in Manchester: The metal bring the fire

Jack Black’s rock-comedy project Tenacious D stopped off in Manchester on their ‘Spicy Meatball’ tour, performing to 20,000 fans at the AO Arena
Tenacious D live in Manchester: The metal bring the fire
Credit: Anna Marsden @ The Mancunion

The AO Arena in Manchester witnessed the return of the Metal on May 8, with Wonderboy and Young Nastyman (Jack Black and Kyle Gass) again joining forces as Tenacious D for The Spicy Meatball Tour.  

Dave Hill was the opening act of the night, delivering 30 minutes of hilarious Manchester-themed pick-up lines and outrageous, face-melting guitar solos. For a band as unique as Tenacious D, he was the perfect support – cycling onto the stage in a purple jumpsuit armed with nothing more than an electric guitar and some nunchucks, his eccentric performance riled the arena up for the main event that followed. 

tenacious d
Credit: Anna Marsden @ The Mancunion

The crowd of 20,000 erupted as the band dramatically entered the stage, with a thunderous rendition of ‘Kickapoo’ setting off a night of the comedic-acoustic heavy metal for which the D are known. Early on, Jack Black announced that he had missed the “fire” and “passion” of Manchester. He wouldn’t have been disappointed in his return to the city, as the crowd sang every lyric back to him and Kyle the entire night.

The set was a rollercoaster, with Jack Black doing an emotional performance of ‘Dude (I Totally Miss You)’ before Satan himself possessed their electric guitar player John Konesky in the lead-up to ‘Beezleboss’. Biffy Pyro (the band’s pyrotechnics engineer) also made a few appearances, only to be admonished by Black for failing to set off the flames at the right time through the night.

The undeniable chemistry and musicianship of Tenacious D made for a hugely entertaining and unforgettable experience. A personal highlight was the entrance of the life-sized robot that seemed to materialise whenever fan-favourite ‘The Metal’ was about to be played.

tenacious d
Credit: Anna Marsden @ The Mancunion

At one point, when Jack Black whipped out his Sax-o-boom, the atmosphere grew tense as Kyle Gass revealed his own Sax-o-boom five times the size. Clearly, Black didn’t take too kindly to being shown up, calling for a private meeting with his partner away from the microphone. Soon after it seemed that Gass had had enough, ‘quitting’ the band and mooning the AO Arena on his way off stage. However, the pair quickly settled their differences and banded together again to play out the rest of the evening, which included a cover of Chris Isaak’s ‘Wicked Game’ accompanied by a slow-motion video of Black and Gass skipping along the beach in their underwear.  

Tenacious D rounded off the evening with a victory lap of various solos performed by all the members of their band and entourage, including a ‘1-2 mic check’ solo from the sound engineer. The encore of ‘Dio’ concluded a set which can only be described as a Tenacious D classic, and one that will leave your ears ringing for a while afterwards.  

tenacious d
Credit: Anna Marsden @ The Mancunion

Black and Gass showcased how they have mastered the fusion of rock and comedy in an evening that will not soon be forgotten by those lucky enough to have been there. The legend of Tenacious D lives on, and the Metal will always be welcome back in Manchester.  

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