Jack White did more than just headline a sold out Roseland on Monday, May 21. It was like the return of a triumphant king but with White, he never left. From loud guitars to an obsessive devotion to detail, White defined what a modern rock show should be.
White’s legacy is more than enough to get you excited for his first solo tour but White simply wont rest, not on his laurels or his fan’s willingness to accept whatever White wants to do. The curtailed riffs and abbreviated yelps that punctuated the thunderous opener of “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.”
More of the review including a full gallery and setlist after the jump
White brought his all-male band on stage, Los Buzzardos on Monday, and it was the embodiment of a blues jam. White’s all-female backing band, The Peacocks, joined him on Tuesday. Rarely was there silence between songs thanks to splashy little drum and piano segues or ragtime jangling intros.
While the highlight for many fans were the The White Stripes songs he played, as well as songs from The Dead Weather and The Raconteurs, White made them uniquely his own for the tour. “Cut Like a Buffalo” had this calm swagger to it, a mutated riff on dancehall music. Covering all of this musical territory, of course White managed to include a cover of Hank Williams’ “You Know That I Know.”
Ultimately, the star of the show was White. His solo effort thrived in concert and songs off of Blunderbuss were more than worthy and far from overshadowed by the hits of White’s past. It’s the attention to detail and the sense that there is a larger production to the wailing squalls of guitar and clipped lyric delivery by White.
The attention to detail is what separates White from his peers. There are many record crate diggers and aficionados of all things blues but few do it like White. Songs are frayed and mutated but still richly drenched, and proudly so, in tradition.
Finer touches like the three white columns above White that rotate from smooth to ruffled to add an additional lighting texture just add to the overall quality of the show and White’s natural showman instincts.
For some, seeing White play a few White Stripes songs was enough to justify spending good money for a ticket, if you could get it, and the rest of the set was just an added bonus. At Roseland, this was not the case and fans clamored for new and old material alike. When certain tracks from Blunderbuss were played, fans roared along with White, just as engaged and singing along with White.
As White led the audience through his career, it was also an American music history lesson as well. Exploring all the different musical terrains with White was what made the night so special.
With Jack White, the old saying that it is all about the journey is especially apt, even when the night ends with “Seven Nation Army.” Seeing White’s diverse career unfold at Roseland Ballroom was a reminder of how unique White is as a modern musician and it will be interesting to see what new, and unexpected, paths White in the next stages of his career.
- The review is of Monday’s show while the photos are from Tuesday’s show.
- Alabama Shakes are a great live act and a perfect opener for Jack White. Plenty of energy and the crowd loved them.
- There is plenty of difference between Jack White accompanied by Los Buzzardos or The Peacocks, aesthetically and musically. I liked the rockier blend of music that Los Buzzardos provided but would have loved to hear “Hardest Button to Button,” “Love Interruption” or “Carolina Drama” that White played with The Peacocks.