TVD Live: Jack White at New Daisy Theater, 3/13

Considering all the gray area involved in the wide world of modern hard rock, Jack White is still the shining example of the heroic legacy of rock ’n’ roll from years past. 

On stage, his quarter smile and raunchy ax work command the audience with an enlightened ease under a pseudo-indifferent guise.   Easily winning attention and demanding his due, White worked the crowd like a seasoned NBA vet works any given court.

With well over a dozen years of live performances, White’s showmanship as a seasoned talent is wielded handily.  His performance at the New Daisy Theater last Tuesday was a prime example. The troubadour pulled out all of the stops, hitting every corner of his catalog, from The Dead Weather’s “Cut Like a Buffalo” to The Raconteurs “Steady as She Goes.”

Of course, The White Stripes material was not neglected, as White played over half a dozen of their songs, even choosing to open his set with the White Blood Cells classic “Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground.” Although his own solo material played second fiddle to the work he built his legacy on, and the audience might not have been able to sing along to the unfamiliar material, they never lost a beat and kept the groove by dancing to the unknown songs mixed in between familiar favorites.

The evening had few lulls as the band kept the momentum going through minimal transitions between songs.  While the drummer would slowly fade out on the cymbal work of one track, the guitarist might pick up on the opening notes of the riff of the next.  The energy was off the charts, and even the White Stripes’ country crooner “Hotel Yorba” was livened up by upping the tempo and giving the track a sense of bouncy movement absent from the album version.

Musicianship was prominent during the late night. Jack White’s backing band was a seasoned talent that ably supported its ring leader—but make no mistake, this was clearly the “Jack White Show.” It was impossible to ignore his stage presence and eerily spot-on musicianship, as song after song was soaked in gritty guitar solos and siren-esque vocals from the 21st century rock monster.

Highlights were preferential, but a six-piece “Steady as She Goes” was hard to be beat.  White’s extended solo atop a powerful backing beat and tasty guitar tones wasn’t just noticeable; its overt extension on a beloved pop hit added the perfect kick of rock ’n’ roll to the already loveable radio single.

Having watched over an hour and a half of one of the few still-standing rock icons, it’s hard to say it was a good show—because it wasn’t.  It was amazing. Jack White’s tour de force performance was so much more than a show, but was also one of the more perfect examples of music’s ability to gather an odd assortment of people not based on class, creed, or the like, but on musical preference.  That Jack White is an unassumingly star participant in a movement of art for art’s sake isn’t just admirable; it’s goddamn inspiring.

To find out more information about upcoming tour dates for Jack White, check out his website, which features his recent tracks and insight into his upcoming release. 

Photos by Jo McCaughey

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