Jack White @ WaMu Theater 08.14.12

August 13, 2012

Opening with "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground", Jack looks like the legend he is, solely front lit with an enormous shadow mimicking his every move upon the backdrop . The sort of way you dream of seeing your first rock show. Your hero on the stage presented larger than life. The third man logo stands bold as the curtain drops. Jack also hasn't forgotten, the last time he was in town it was all boys backing him, now the ladies take... Well not quite center stage, but certainly fill out the rest. 

In all honesty I don't think I could name you more than 10 songs the guy's written between the 64 bands he's in. But it doesn't take a genius to figure out that he's doing himself a bit of a disservice by hiring out an army of stage musicians to fill out the sound. People want the rock. The best parts of the show come from when they just crank up his guitar and he drowns out everything in a sea of feedback, pick slides, and endless waves of shredded notes. It's an odd juxtaposition as most of these sounds were never meant for a room this size. Put this guy in a 300 cap club and anything he does brings the place to their knees. He has to work a bit harder here... But maybe I'm just being picky as the whole crowd plays up a call and response of "woo's". 

Also you kinda gotta wonder, are the Dead Weather guys pissed he's playing these songs? I mean, 90% of the reason people go to those shows is to see Jack, right? Am I being crazy? Don't take this as a negative review at all, though. The man delivers on every promise he makes with his records, eight tons of Tennessee coming through those massive speakers. With a guitar tone that pierces earplugs and leaves you begging for a little more punishment.

The set flows with ease, weaving through his brief but busy career, highlights almost always coming in the form of WS tunes ("The Hardest Button To Button" was a nice surprise),  "Steady As She Goes" is also a surprising highlight as Jack breaks his silence to encourage the crowd to sing along (he's spoken only once previous to this to introduce the band). Duff McKagan walks by me basically ruling out that he's backstage waiting to play bass (as he tends to do with just about every band these days) but Jack White doesn't need anyone but himself to captivate this crowd, anyway. No matter how many times you hear it, 3000 people singing along to the same thing is damn impressive.

Perhaps the only true misstep of the night is closing with the lullaby like "Goodnight Irene" after the massive arena anthem that is "Seven Nation Army". The crowd slowly streams out as Jack strums along on his acoustic. Nearly 2 hours of noise and not a face left unmelted (seriously, if you thought he was good at Sasquatch, there was infinitely more jamming/soloing/guitarring at this show). Was it the White Stripes circa 2003? No. But it was never meant to be that anyway.  As we search harder and harder for our new age icons, Jack continues to do what he does best, and that is cement that you don't need to try to be definitive, when you actually are.