After getting through the prying eyes and loving hands of the security guards at the Shrine last night, one noticed Jack White's rolling record store selling rare 45s, the Third Man Records truck, on the other side of the iron barred fence. Bright daffodil yellow, it was blaring oldies from the speakers on the roof. Most striking was the pretty lady in a yellow dress, which matched the truck.
Most bands have to beg their fans to visit their merch booth at the end of a night. But last night fans were desperately trying to acquire records (not t-shirts, not posters, not buttons, but records) before the show had even started. Perhaps the kind of person who goes to a Jack White show is the kind of person who collects rare 45s, but even so the music industry should take note.
Inside the golden walls of the Shrine, the air hummed with the sounds of people shaking off their work week personas, fighting for a drink, and flirting with their dates. This was a fancy pants rock show with seats, chandeliers and people ordering wine. Floor seats were $90 a pop, people were dressed up and the fans were middle aged hipsters and young people who are doing well for themselves. (Aziz Ansari, we saw you.)
At 9:15 sharp Jack White took the stage with his all male band the Buzzards. (On this tour he has one male band and one female band, the latter known as The Peacocks.) These musicians hail from all over the country and were sharply dressed in black and white. The band was arranged in a semi-circle on stage around White, clad in all black.
The set was a testament to White's complete catalog, equal parts White Stripes and his new solo record Blunderbuss, with a few songs from Dead Weather and the Raconteurs sprinkled in. It was a set of tenderness and rage and betrayal. The crowd was into all of it. Each guitar solo was followed by whoops of joy; in half an hour the temperature had risen enough to overpower the air conditioning, and people started stripping off their outer layers of clothing.
It was just a shame that the sound couldn't keep up with the ferocity on stage....
For one reason or another, the microphone would fade in and out of the first few numbers and some instruments didn't come in at all. You could see the band playing them on stage and could only hear them faintly in the back. The only two instruments that were consistently reliable were White's guitar -- which at times was cranked up to a level that can only be described as shrill -- and the drums played by Daru Jones, who did a magnificent job of keeping everyone in line. But if the sound bothered White, he didn't show it, and the crowd didn't care much. White could have been playing out of tune and warbling through a tin can and they would have dug it.
Personal bias: I own all of the White Stripes albums.
Random notebook dump: Oh look! Someone is videotaping the guy asking him not to videotape things.
Overheard in the crowd: "Do you think this counts as the baby's first show?" a man asked his pregnant wife.
Set list below
Black Math (The White Stripes)
Hotel Yorba (The White Stripes)
Top Yourself (The Raconteurs)
The Same Boy You've Always Known (The White Stripes)
I Guess I Should Go To Sleep
I'm Slowly Turning Into You (The White Stripes)
We Are Going To Be Friends (The White Stripes)
You Know That I Know (Jack White and Hank Williams)
Dead Leaves and The Dirty Ground (The White Stripes)
The Hardest Button to Button (The White Stripes)
Freedom at 21
Cut Like A Buffalo (Dead Weather)
Steady As She Goes (The Raconteurs)
Goodnight Irene (Lead Belly cover)