Saturday, April 28, 2012
Jack White at Webster Hall
There were some tense moments, particularly when the astoundingly disorganized Webster Hall staff thought it would be a good idea to shuffle people into the venue bar to wait out another hour. The once easy to discern front of the line became blurred, and suddenly people who were waiting 5 hours were behind people who just happened to show up minutes ago. Frustrated and angry, the devotees of the front line began a verbal tirade on any new face that appeared. There was one angry older man who began shouting things like "I WILL CLEAR THE ROOM" and "DO NOT BREAK THE LINE!", which, of course moved me to start quoting Lord of the Rings, Gandalf style with "YE SHALL NOT PASS!" and stomping my foot. This, luckily broke the tension, and reminded us all that we are all Jack White fans here, and should be friends.
After hours of waiting, and repeated instructions about NOT taking video or photography, they let us into the main stage area of Webster Hall. Then we waited so more. Then an impressive looking trio of black clad Lydia Dietzs known as the Black Bells came out and performed a charming little set full of pretty sick guitar riffs and rockin' tunes. Hot goth women who can WAIL on their instruments? Sign me up. Then we waited some more. Then they played short films of Jack White and Gary Oldman that only the VIP folk could see and hear. Then all sound cut, and the tension mounted to its ultimate climax of the evening, as the show FINALLY began.
There was an immediate frenzied eruption of sound at the sight of the eccentric man known as Jack White casually walked onto the stage. In his robin egg blue suit, his limp black hair falling in wiry strands across his pale face, flanked by The Peacocks- his band of all female beauty queens who can rock the shit out if their instruments (noticing a pattern here?) a smile creeped up on his face for only for an instant as the first recognizable notes of "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" began to play. The floor began to buckle at the weight of 1000 people stomping and jumping. It was utter chaos, pandemonium, and a hell of a lot of fun. Jack played a fair mix of his newest work from his solo album "Blunderbuss" as well as a healthy mix of White Stripes, Raconteurs, and Dead Weather, along with some covers. It was interesting to hear Stripes covers expanded with a full band behind Jack, but... you couldn't help miss the simplicity of the two-piece unit. Luckily, the nostalgic longing was short lived once I heard the expanded sound of "I'm Slowly Turning Into You" and "Seven Nation Army".
The show was split up into two sets, one set performed with The Peacocks, the second with his band of men, Los Buzzardos. There was even an intermission with a young woman with red hair and a sky blue baby doll dress holding up humorous signs that read "Elvis has left the building, but Jack White hasn't!" and "Jack's home phone number is..." (which I called, and it is indeed the number to Third Man Records). It kept morale up to have the lovely dame there as they switched up the instruments. It also gave way to a second wave of anticipatory tension and another satisfied release as Jack White opened the second set with the explosive track "Sixteen Salines".
His sound has evolved, for sure, and each evolution is inspiring, and has somehow managed to not grow stale, tired, or bored. It is an amazing progression to witness, and I look forward to see where he is heading musically. I feel lucky to have been there, and to have been able to see and hear one of my generation's only true rock stars perform.
The rest, they say, is history... and available to view on YouTube.
Jack White with The Peacocks:
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (The White Stripes song)
Freedom At 21
Hotel Yorba (The White Stripes song)
Two Against One (Rome cover)
Top Yourself (The Raconteurs song)
I'm Slowly Turning Into You (The White Stripes song)
Blue Blood Blues (The Dead Weather song) (With "Screwdriver" Riff Intro)
Take Me With You When You Go
I Cut Like a Buffalo (The Dead Weather song)
Weep Themselves to Sleep
Trash Tongue Talker
You Know That I Know (Hank Williams cover)
We're Going to be Friends (The White Stripes song)
Hello Operator (The White Stripes song)
Carolina Drama (The Raconteurs song)
Catch Hell Blues (Fragment) (The White Stripes song)
Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes song)
Goodnight Irene (Leadbelly cover)