Jack White and his cohorts launched another rock show of all time. Reviews and photos at Local Spins.
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Seeing Jack White these days comes close to time travel.
After entering the venue, your phone is locked into a closed Yondr pouch and kept on your person. It can only be opened at the telephone booths outside the main plaza.
There are no cameras, no recording devices, and phones are not allowed. It feels strange at first.
How far do you get in your pocket to document fiery guitar solos but then realize you can’t. Or text your boyfriend to see when he’ll be back with drinks, but then remember he’s facing the wilderness alone, at every whim from the party chaos.
But after these feelings subside, they are already liberating. The least thing to worry about in the evening. And a bit like time travel.
Some smiling lighters appear at the right moments. Fans are excused from the inevitable experience of an audience member who forgets to turn on the flash, takes a blind photo, and then quickly lowers his arm to obscure the light.
I usually take notes on my phone all night long during concert reviews. For Jack White at Van Andel Square in Grand Rapids Sunday night—the third night of White’s tour and the band’s US tour—I found myself scribbling crazily on a string of cocktail napkins with a purple borrowed pen.
Editorial Olivia Jane, Detroit singer and guitarist White, proposed and then got married on stage just two days ago in Detroit, and got my first frantic scribble.
She opened the show with a four-piece ensemble that kicked off a high-energy opening set with a retro and ultra Detroit vibe.
As soon as the dust settled, the stage fell under a light mist and shades of blue: blue lights, blue projections and luxurious blue borders at the height of the stage.
White ran into the arena and picked up a blue guitar. Breaking out on “Take me Back”—the opening track from “Fear of the Dawn,” released Friday—White rips through solo passes with easy charm, bolstered by a trio of equally prominent bandmates: bassist, music director and lifelong friend Dominic John Davis, drummer Darrow Jones and keyboardist Quincy McCree.
She recalled Night 23 songs filled with the spontaneity and rage of rock music.
Rocky fireballs and a fitting end
A highlight was 2012’s Love Interception, which featured a rock-and-roll transformation from the recorded version. It’s as if the once figure has grown out his hair, rips his jeans at the knees and raises the volume up to two.
“Lazaretto” was a fireball of fuzz and distortion. White constantly moving and swinging around the stage, White kept the energy flowing and the guitarist rolling.
During the song, White is sliced like a bartender at Olive Garden insisting on free cheese, but over a bed of rock ‘n’ roll beats with a side of soul.
The last shot on the band’s main set boasted the now prophetic line, “Find yourself a girl, and settle down,” the opening line to The Raconteurs’ song “Steady, As She Goes,” which White played in Detroit when he proposed to Jean. At Grand Rapids, the fan-satisfying classic track has been delivered with a fresh, dynamic twist.
What followed to emerge were Three Jewels of White Stripes (plus “Sixteen Saltines” and “That Black Bat Licorice”) that featured the familiar ending: a slow-burning lively overture that led to distinctive drum beats and a well-known rhythmic dance between guitar and deep bass. Fans tied every word.
Is there a more appropriate way to wrap up a show on an arena than with one of the most plaza-played songs by the artist who penned it?
Cue 2003’s “Seven Nation Army,” the white-striped anthem for the ages, is being chanted through loudspeakers in stadiums around the world.
The last song rocked the scene with guitar-heavy vocals and the kind of ruthless drumming that makes you wonder if Jones made an earlier deal with the devil backstage.
Photo gallery: Jack White at Van Andel Arena
Photos by David James Swanson (via Jack White)