Guns n' Roses/ Tenacious D Split Review
Some of my favorite metal groups release split albums with 4-5 songs from each of the two groups participating, so I thought I would try it with my dual MSG reviews of Guns n' Roses and The D.
First up, the Guns show on Nov.10th was phenomenal, much better and tighter than the 5/12 show @ the Hammerstein Ballroom. They played a great mix of old and new material, including most of Appetite for Destruction, the crucial Lies song "Patience", and a number of unreleased gems from the upcoming album, the mythic Chinese Democracy, which, incredibly, finally has a release date of March 6th, 2007. Axl was in excellent voice, although there were definitely technical issues with the vocal mix, which is pretty inexcusable at this level (although it happened at the Maiden show as well - Bruce Dickenson was pretty much inaudible for a quarter of the show) . The staging, pyrotechnics (which were loud and, even from 100 feet away, hot) and set were all top notch, and the crowd and energy were through the roof, as you would expect at the Garden. I brought my director friend, Jonny Blitstein, and he was suitably impressed as well. All in all, a great show.
On to the D. This show surprised me a lot; I knew Jack Black was amusing, but I did not appreciate what a legitimately good guitar player he actually is, along with his partner in crime, the nimble fingered Kyle Gass. Their chemistry is hilarious and the show was wittily constructed. The lights come up on JB and KG asleep on the couch under blankets. They peek over the covers to find they are playing MSG, and get out of bed straight into a raucous opening "Kielbasa" which had the Garden nerd/fratboy crowd singing along heartily (me too, much to my stunning wife's slight embarassment). Other gems followed - notably "Wonderboy", the hilariously profane "F@#$ Me Gently", and the anthem "Lee", which then prompted the titular character himself to enter the small apartment set that doubled as the mainstage. After some truly absurd banter, Lee accidentally electrocutes KG and JB, and the pair descends to Hell, a much larger stage featuring red stalactites and smoking pools of sulphur. To say that the show was incredibly silly would be an understatement; it was patently absurd in a hilarious, knowingly cheesy way. Once in Hell, our two heroes form a band, duel with the Devil, participate in a car chase, and find their way back to Earth, just in time to finish with a rousing medley of songs from the Who's classic Tommy record. Funnier and better, musically speaking, than I had expected.