“I’ve never done an acoustic set by myself,” Dave Grohl announced as he took the stage of Hollywood’s Henry Fonda Theater last night for a show to benefit the campaign of Democratic presidential hopeful John Kerry. “The rest of my band is at the Hollywood Bowl seeing Rush,” he joked and then played a snippet of Rush’s “Fly by Night” before adding, “I don’t know that song.”
Grohl, like Tenacious D and Liz Phair, who both also performed, was in fine spirits at the $150-per-ticket fundraiser (there was also a $500 a head VIP ticket), which turned into a celebration of the announcement earlier that day that Kerry had picked North Carolina Senator John Edwards as his running mate.
“Awesome,” Jack Black said before the show of the choice. “I love that. It gives us the best chance to win.”
An estimated 1,000 attendees, including such celebrities as David Spade, Eliza Dushku, Jason Biggs, Lance Bass, William H. Macy, Colin Hanks, Jessica Biel and Lisa Loeb, raised $200,000 for the campaign. For their efforts, they were treated to a trio of impressive performances.
Liz Phair led off with a thirty-minute set that included such recent fare as “Extraordinary,” “Why Can’t I?” and “Rock Me,” as well as older tunes like “Polyester Bride” and “Supernova.” Though Phair worried that she was the only “not funny one” on the bill, she drew laughter with her impersonation of Britney Spears in Fahrenheit 9/11.
After a question and answer session with the Kerry daughters, Alex and Vanessa, hosted by Mr. Show‘s Bob Odenkirk, Grohl came out for his thirty-minute set. Following a strong version of “Out of the Black,” he introduced “Tired of You” by saying, “This song is a total fucking bummer, but most acoustic songs are.” He proved that not to be the case though with crowd-pleasing renditions of “Learn to Fly” and “My Hero,” before closing with a particularly raucous “Times Like These.”
Before the show, Black promised that Tenacious D would “bring it” for the audience, even if it was a presidential fundraiser, and he didn’t lie. Black and Kyle Gass opened their hour-long set with a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Good Times, Bad Times” and later played a snippet of Dio’s “Holy Diver.” The duo mixed in a break-dancing assistant, a live vignette in which a Sasquatch and Spider-Man took on Bush and Cheney with Michael Moore filming (impersonators all). Grohl — or “Dr. G,” as they dubbed him — took over on drums to join the growing ensemble, which also included a string quartet. Tenacious D closed the set with “Tribute,” their self-proclaimed “greatest song in the world,” vowing to help rid the country of George W. Bush, or as Black described him, “the worst fucking president in the history of time.”