“This is not an arena show, this is a club show, just me and you. We got no screens, no lasers- you with us?”
Blue light floods the O2 stage, and Jack White is in the centre of it all, addressing each audience member personally. That’s what it feels like, at least. The show started with an explosive rendition of the White Stripes classic Fell in Love with a Girl, and we are now just a few songs in, but the crowd is already going nuts. We have been asked not to use our cell phones during the show, and with everyone in the front rows complying, the atmosphere is slowly settling in, backed by the entrancing instrumental High Ball Stepper.
As a musician that constantly reinvents his sound, Jack White has never been better. Anyone who’s been to a show on the Lazaretto tour can confirm that this is the best era in his career so far. I wanted to experience this much-praised show first hand, and as an audience member I got so much more than I expected. I was right there in the front row and I can tell you for a fact that in about 2 hours, White and his band managed to spin the crowd into the cosmos.
White is a showman, but he values the importance of the more traditional process of creating music – playing real instruments – and that’s always been a defining characteristic of his work. His handpicked band holds a defiant stance against this digitized age, and I think this is what makes the shows so special. Musically, they are flawless and perfectly in sync with him and each other. Lazaretto has a very Nashville sound, with Lillie Mae Rische’s fiddle often taking centre stage but never overshadowing the rest of the instruments. White himself plays like a madman, abusing his guitar in a masterful way that echoes his raw, early White Stripes sound.
The 26 song strong career-spanning setlist included songs from White’s time with the White Stripes and the Raconteurs. Highlights included a dedication to the memory of the late Ikey Owens, the incredible Three Women that saw White leaving his guitar and sitting at the piano for a few minutes of sheer musical madness, and the classic call and response of Steady As She Goes. Finally, the much-anticipated Seven Nation Army worked the audience into a frenzy, proving to be the perfect finale to a perfect night.
Drenched in blue light and sweat, White thanks us for the last time before exiting the stage.
“You’ve been incredible, and I’ve been Jack White.”