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Tenacious D: The Complete Master Works 2(2008)
No synopsis for Tenacious D: The Complete Master Works 2.
For more about Tenacious D: The Complete Master Works 2 and the Tenacious D: The Complete Master Works 2 Blu-ray release, see the Tenacious D: The Complete Master Works 2 Blu-ray Review
Tenacious D: The Complete Master Works 2 Blu-ray Review
This is not the greatest collection in the world. This is just a tribute.
Reviewed by Casey Broadwater, August 10, 2009
Apparently their 2003 DVD release of The Complete Masterworks wasn't complete enough, and so the D are back—on Blu-ray this time—with a second volume of absurdist rock comedy to add to their wicked, childish, and occasionally hilarious oeuvre. While the first volume of Masterworks was exhaustive—containing a complete concert, the entirety of the band's six- episode HBO series, three short films, three TV appearances, two documentaries, and five music videos—this second release is somewhat slimmer content-wise. The bulk of the experience is a one and a half hour concert at Seattle's beautiful Paramount theatre and a one hour documentary that chronicles the ups and downs of The D's post-Pick of Destiny world tour. While not nearly as complete as their first collection, Masterworks 2 is the band's first appearance in HD, and will likely satiate fans who are patiently awaiting Tenacious D's third album.
Acoustic-metal-rock opera-comedy isn't exactly a crowded genre, and Tenacious D have made a name for themselves by ironically embracing heavy metal clichés and then playing them for laughs. You get a feeling that Jack Black and Kyle Gass, who formed the band back in 1994, have a genuine love of Dio, Iron Maiden, and Judas Priest, but that they're also able to see the dragons, faux mythologies, and mediaeval ponderings of metal for what they are—juvenile fantasies of greatness musically wrapped in testosterone and rebellion. In essence, that's the band's shtick. They're pretending to be two stunted adults who are pretending to be totally awesome rock gods. And in some post-modern, meta-rock sense, they are. At the same time, the puerile, scatological and sex-obsessed nature of the band's humor—even if it's purely ironic—is hardly new, and the jokes are too single-minded and shock-centric to have any legs. Novelty rock is a tough gig, and other music-comedy acts, like The Flight of the Conchords or even Britain's The Mighty Boosh, have combated listener fatigue by diversifying both musically and topically. Still, Tenacious D have a loyal legion of fans, and even if you don't dig the humor, it's hard not to be impressed by Jack Black's manic, operatic energy and Kyle Gass' legitimately rocking guitar skills.
In support of their film Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny, the duo went on a massive world tour, playing dates in the U.S., Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and New Zealand. To amp up the volume and really bring a sense of bigness to their traveling show, The D decided to incorporate, for the first time, a full backing band, even working the new members' sudden inclusion into the loose "plot" of the conceptual concert. The show begins with Kyle and Jack waking up on a ratty couch in a ratty apartment set, where they play a few songs by themselves —much like the Tenacious D of old. When an electrical malfunction kills the two—sending them to hell—they meet the Anti-Christ (John Konesky) shedding on a double-necked guitar, Charlie Chaplain (John Spiker), who is apparently a mean bass player, and Colonel Sanders (Brooks Wackerman), a phenomenal drummer who went to hell for murdering billions of chickens. They form an extended band and rock their way through the underworld, encountering "The Metal," experimenting with mushrooms, and having a final, climatic showdown with Satan himself (J.R. Reed), who prances about on stage in a red velvet tux, like a flamboyantly demonic Oscar Wilde.
Using footage from gigs in Seattle on the 16th and 17th of February, 2007, the concert presented in The Complete Masterworks 2 is loud, more sonically interesting than The D's previous shows, and unbelievably sweaty. Jack Black is like an overenthusiastic puppy with a squeaky chew toy and his wild-eyed antics don't stop for a minute. He grins maniacally, bellows with a contrived, heavy metal passion, and rolls about on stage with endless amounts of energy. Kyle Gass plays straight man to Black's buffoon, and his guitar virtuosity is the backbone of the show. It should be said that the new members fill out the once-spartan acoustic sound wonderfully—the Anti-Christ makes his six-string hum with fuzzed-out riffs, Charlie Chaplain is no kid on the bass, laying down thick, rock-solid lines, and the Colonel beats the skins with unwavering precision, 666 spelled out across his three bass drums. A few of the over-long, between-song skits may have some crying out for less talk and more rock, but Tenacious D fans who couldn't make it to one of the concerts will definitely enjoy the show.
8. The Road
9. Hell Movie Skit
12. Dude, I Totally Miss You
13. Kyle Quit The Band
15. The Metal
16. Papagenu (He's My Sassafrass)
17. Master Exploder
18. Beelzeboss (The Final Showdown)
19. Double Team
20. Fuck Her Gently
22. Who Medley
Tenacious D: The Complete Master Works 2 Blu-ray, Video Quality
Tenacious D make their first appearance on Blu-ray with a 720p, AVC-encoded transfer that's neither impressive nor disastrous enough to warrant much discussion. While some will nit-pick over the merely 720p presentation, the image is sharp, clear, and well defined. Though it may lack the extra resolution, the transfer shows off everything from Kyle's dripping brow sweat to Jack's scraggly chin stubble with no trouble whatsoever. Black levels are appropriately attuned, presenting a purely realistic picture that never crushes or looks washed out, and the HD video source material is relatively clean and free of noise. Colors are strong—especially the crimson hues of hell and the Devil's suit—but extremely strong tones, like the yellow of Kyle's t-shirt, do look occasionally blown- out. Highlights have a tendency to get hot, and KG's bald dome gleams a little too brightly under the stage lights. When the duo first arrives in hell, it's presented to the audience via projected video, and there's some terrible CGI and green screen work on display. Visually, this isn't the best concert Blu-ray by a long shot, but The Complete Masterworks 2 has a fairly pleasing presentation that will most likely satisfy fans of the band.
Tenacious D: The Complete Master Works 2 Blu-ray, Audio Quality
With a Linear PCM 2.0 track, I'm assuming the concert was recorded directly off of the Paramount's soundboard and mixed for some slight stereo spread. The music, to me at least, never sounded as full as I thought it could, possibly because of a somewhat weak low-end that never really roars. At the beginning of the show, when Kyle and Jack are unaccompanied, the sound is clean enough, but their acoustic guitars are a bit thin and don't have much projection. Obviously, the music rounds out considerably when the band joins in—the Anti-Christ's guitar scuffs and chugs with beefy overdrive, Colonel Sanders' cymbal hits splash with high-end clarity, and Chaplain's bass lines lay down roots—but the music never has as much heft as you'd expect from purported rock gods. The lyrics are at the forefront—what good is the comedy if you can't make out what they're saying—and the vocals are high in the mix, presented fully with just a drop of reverb. While The D rock out just fine in stereo, a full 5.1 mix would have given the concert a bigger, more immersive sound.
Tenacious D: The Complete Master Works 2 Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
D Tour: A Tenacious Documentary (1080i, 1:08:56)
With high hopes for The Pick of Destiny, their first theatrical outing, Tenacious D planned to make a victory lap with their subsequent world tour, riding high off the film's expected success. The movie proved to be a box-office disaster, however, raking in only a meager 8 million dollars— the production and marketing costs were in excess of 50 million—and what was planned as a celebratory stroll across the globe became a long slog through disappointment. D Tour, directed by Jeremy Konner, documents the band as they struggle with the demands of touring, confront jealousies between members, and face up to their critical and financial failure. As you might expect, the documentary is a bit of a downer, interestingly though, as it reveals all of the fears, hopes, and hard work behind the comedy. One of the core conflicts is Kyle Gass' mounting resentment over Jack Black's more established fame. The umbrage comes to a head when the duo is set to appear on Letterman, but only Jack is invited to the interview couch. Black takes a stand, though, refusing to let his friend play second fiddle, so to speak, and threatens to bail out on the show at the last minute. Gass is a talented performer and actor in his own right, and you really begin to feel for him as Black constantly overshadows him in the media. The thing's not all dour, thankfully, and we do get some brief appearances by John C. Reilly, Dave Grohl, and Jeremy Piven, among other, along with plenty of backstage horseplay and green room tomfoolery. Tenacious D fans will definitely want to watch this one.
Time Fixers (SD, 8:47)
This short film features Kyle and Jack as continuum-fixing time travelers who jump back to the 1850s to ensure that president Lincoln gets assassinated by John Wilkes Booth. One wonders if they know that Lincoln was killed in the 1860s. Look out for a brief cameo by Michael Keaton.
John K. Classico Piece (SD, 1:10)
This is a super-short animated music video by Ren and Stimpy artist John Kricfalusi.
TV Performances (SD, 8:19)
Includes performance of "Master Exploder" on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, "Friendship" on the MTV Video Music Awards, and "The Metal" on Saturday Night Live.
Tenacious D: The Complete Master Works 2 Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Tenacious D's brand of infantile humor isn't for everyone—I'm more of a Mighty Boosh guy myself— but for those who dig the D, The Complete Masterworks 2 is a must-have release, even if it's less fully featured than the band's first "complete" collection.
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