By Zachary Swickey
LOS ANGELES – Jack White already had two dates booked at LA’s iconic venue The Wiltern for the end of May when he suddenly added a date at the Mayan Theater for April 30.
Hitting the stage in a jet black long-sleeve shirt and black jeans to match, White brought out a group of six females as his new backing band: a wild-looking drummer, a flapper-esque violinist, a stand-up bassist (who was pregnant), a Dutch slide guitarist, a ravishing backup singer who doubled as tambourine master, and finally a cute young woman on keyboards.
White wasted no time diving right into material from his brand-new debut solo effort, Blunderbuss, which is expected to take Billboard’s #1 spot when the charts are revealed tomorrow. Our first taste was the album’s opening track, “Missing Pieces,” which the crowd had clearly already memorized as they sang along to every word. White’s latest single “Sixteen Saltines” was next and it whipped the crowd into a frenzy as they chanted along, “Who’s jealous, who’s jealous, who’s jealous of who?”
Next up was an old-school White Stripes track, “Hotel Yorba,” the first single from their ’01 effort White Blood Cells and their last as a little-known band – “Fell In Love with a Girl” what their next release. White next represented his outfit The Raconteurs with a cover of their tune “Top Yourself.”
Blunderbuss got some more representation as White ripped into “Love Interruption,” which enjoyed one of the more boisterous sing-a-longs of the evening. We were then treated to one of the album’s finest tracks, “Weep Themselves to Sleep,” which sounds like a number out of an Old West saloon (with a bit of grungy guitar added for modern flavor). Next up was “I’m Slowly Turning Into You” from the Stripes’ Icky Thump before White broke into his Dead Weather outfit’s rocking “Blue Blood Blues.”
After playing the title track from Blunderbuss, White returned to the Stripes with the lesser known track “We’re Going to Be Friends.” Another rare White Stripes gem, “Ball and Biscuit” from ‘03’s Elephant, was performed before the band left the stage.
White soon came back onstage with a more than six-song encore. We were treated to new solo track “Freedom at 21” before the crowd went absolutely nuts for the Stripes’ classic “My Doorbell.”
A Jack White show wouldn’t be complete without an amazing Hank Williams cover, which happened to be “You Know that I Know,” this time around. Next up was a pleasant surprise as White broke into “Two Against One,” one of this contributions to “Rome” – a side project collaboration between production genius Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Lupi.
One last special surprise for the evening was hearing White dust off the rarely performed ancient White Stripes track “Suzy Lee” from the group’s self-titled ’99 debut.
It was quite the magical evening to witness a living legend perform in a unique, Mayan-themed club for just over 1,000 people, including Lt. Gordon himself, Gary Oldman, watching from side-stage, having just directed White’s live-streamed concert from NYC last Friday.
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