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Tenacious D Battle the Devil to Wrap Up Outside Lands Fest

August 31, 2009 8:55 AM ET

Beastie Boys replacement headliner Jack Black of mock rockers Tenacious D sent his love to the ill Adam Yauch Sunday night during a chilly set that closed out the final day of San Francisco's Outside Lands in Golden Gate Park. "Adam, I love you, you're the greatest," said the charismatic Black, dripping with sweat from their 100-minute, skit-filled performance, which included a duel with the Devil. "Get well, my brother."

Outside Lands in photos: Pearl Jam, Dave Matthews Band, the Dead Weather and more.

The D — who said San Francisco hosted one of their first gigs as a band almost a decade ago — played to a few thousand stalwart fans braving 50-something degree evening lows and the misty ocean air. Drawing from their 2001 and 2006 albums Tenacious D and The Pick of Destiny, the band opened at 7:40 p.m. with "Kielbasa," drawing big crowd whoops. Another album opener, "Kickapoo," followed, leading into Tenacious D's first skit.

"I turned 40 years old this week, and I feel like I'm in the body of a 10 year old," said Black, who began doing gymnastics. A stunt double performed several back handsprings and Kyle Gass denigrated such fakery. Black exploded, forcing Kyle to quit the band onstage. "Dude (I Totally Missed You)" brought Gass back for "Friendship."

Though the band lip synced to "Master Exploder" lyrics "I do not need / a microphone / my voice is fuckin' / powerful!" Black displayed surprising range and theatricality, and audience members rubbed sore jaws from smiling at the endless antics. The mirthful D deftly handled "Tribute" — the first single off their 2001 platinum debut — before dueling with the Devil, to whom they renounced allegiance.

"The devil fucking sucks. Fuck the devil. Jesus is awesome. The devil can suck my dick," spat Black, who didn't skimp on the expletives Sunday, later stating, "I wish I could fuck all of you. I can't. That's unreasonable. But I can try."

An early encore brought the band back for "Fuck Her Gently," proudly sung by both the men and women left in attendance, thus concluding day three of the second annual music and arts festival in Golden Gate Park.

In the crowd at Outside Lands: fan photos.

Almost 100 bands drew in excess of 100,000, said Outside Lands organizer Rick Farman, co-founder of Bonnaroo presenters Superfly, who co-presented Outside Lands with Berkeley's independent Another Planet Entertainment.

The loss of main headliner Beastie Boys at the last minute put the organizers in uncharted territory. "My first thought was, 'My heart goes out to him,' " said Farman. "But yeah, we've never had a headline-level act drop out like that."

Some fans were expectedly upset Tenacious D replaced the Beasties, and even Sunday performer M.I.A. took to Twitter last week, alluding that she would have backed out of opening for the D it weren't for the threat of lawsuit. "When I went online the next day, though, there were as many people who were stoked to hear we had Tenacious D," said Farman. "Jack Black doesn't tour very much and we were very happy he stepped up." Indeed, in the spirit of the date, Tenacious D souvenir T-shirts depicted Beastie Boys' Check Your Head album cover with Black and Gass photoshopped in. The title read Check Your Headliner.

Though Sunday sales slackened, the healthy turnout was a testament to the resilience of music consumers amid the downturn, Farman said. The event leveraged San Francisco's food, wine, technology and activism cultures to give festival-goers a one-of-a-kind, world-class experience. More than 100 local restaurants and wineries doled out low-cost delights like black truffle aoli with fries, and organic smores to go with the wine tastings. A first for the tech giant, YouTube Webcasted the festival and drew hundreds of thousands of viewers. Free water bottle refills, bike valet and ample municipal buses kept fans hydrated and happy.

Outside Lands will be back next year, says Farman. "We're in it for the long term. We're thinking in terms of decades."

More Outside Lands:
M.I.A., Modest Mouse, The Dead Weather Heat Up Outside Lands
Dave Matthews Band Grab Fergie, Robert Randolph at Outside Lands
Mars Volta and Mastodon Pummel Outside Lands
Pearl Jam Ignite San Francisco as Outside Lands Festival Kicks Off
Incubus, The National, Silversun Pickups Launch Outside Lands

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