What do you call it when Axl Rose, Rod Stewart, Gary Oldman and Conan O'Brien converge in downtown Los Angeles on a Monday night? A Jack White show.
From the minute he and his all-female backing band The Peacocks hit the stage at 10 last night — opening with the White Stripes' “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” — the crowd was into it. But it was during the third song, “Sixteen Saltines”, the most recent single off White's new debut solo record Blunderbuss, that the gig truly took off. White blazed, bluesed and rocked through 20 songs in just over an hour and a half.
Though a third of the set was comprised of songs from Blunderbuss, White drew widely and deeply from all his musical incarnations, including The Raconteurs' “Top Yourself,” The Dead Weather's “Blue Blood Blues,” the White Stripes' “Hotel Yorba,” and “Two Against One” a song from the album Rome, producer Danger Mouse's collaboration with Italian composer Daniele Luppi, which features White's vocals.
With an audience that sang along to every song and filled in silences with screams, it was an atmosphere filled with an almost palpable reverence for the man, though White didn't talk to the audience until introducing the seventh song in the set (“Weep Themselves To Sleep” off Blunderbuss).
During the seven song encore, however, White did become chatty, asking the crowd, “Does it feel okay, L.A.? You guys got nothing to complain about out here, right?” He introduced each of his backing musicians with a fond earnestness, and expressed his affinity for the venue itself. “I love this place so much,” he said. “I hope it's as nice out there as it is onstage.”
White performed a couple of cover songs at the end of the night, singing Hank Williams' “You Know That I Know” and, a propos of closing down the evening, Leadbelly's “Goodnight Irene.”
Other notable tunes were the first single off Blunderbuss, “Love Interruption” during which back up singer and tambourine player Ruby Amanfu joined White center stage, and the White Stripes' tunes “My Doorbell” — which sparked the crowd into borderline madness — and “Ball and Biscuit,” which was so intense, bluesy and raunchy that when it ended even White's manager Ian Montone (who was watching the show from the balcony) shook his head and said, “Whoa!”
Personal Bias: I would loved to have seen Gary Oldman on the piano.
The Crowd: Rock stars, hipsters, music lovers.
Notebook Dump: Overheard in the crowd. “Why pretend to be something you're not?”
Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground (White Stripes)
Hotel Yorba (White Stripes)
Top Yourself (The Raconteurs)
Weep Themselves To Sleep
I'm Slowly Turning Into You (White Stripes)
Blue Blood Blues (The Dead Weather)
We're Going To Be Friends (White Stripes)
Take Me With You When You Go
Ball and Biscuit (White Stripes)
Freedom at 21
My Doorbell (White Stripes)
You Know That I Know (Hank Williams)
Two Against One (Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi featuring Jack White)
Carolina Drama (The Raconteurs)
Seven Nation Army w/Suzy Lee intro (White Stripes)
Goodnight Irene (Leadbelly)