There’s nothing better than going into a concert with high expectations and having them met, let alone exceeded. Such was the case with Jack White’s epic performance last night at the Shrine Auditorium near USC.
Backed by an impeccable group of six women, dubbed the Peacocks, White blew through a 20-song set that not only highlighted material from his first “solo” record, Blunderbuss (released earlier this year), but also an array of tunes from The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, The Dead Weather and his work with Danger Mouse. White’s band, featuring keyboards, slide guitar, fiddle, bass, drums and a backing vocalist, added texture to many of the White Stripes numbers in the set, while creating a power that belied their matching frilly light-blue dresswear. At the same time, seeing White truly enjoy performing and bringing a whirlwind of energy to the stage was especially rewarding.While there were many specific highlights, seeing White for just the second time (previously, I saw him kill with The Raconteurs at a KROQ Almost Acoustic Christmas show, where most of the kids dying for Panic! At the Disco wouldn’t have understood great blues/country/rock if it hit them in the face) proved one thing to me: If you don’t like Jack White, you don’t understand the entire concept of rock music, where it comes from and what it can truly be.
Grab the setlist here: Jack White at the Shrine from Setlist.fm
And, for your aural pleasure, feel free to grab my Spotify playlist featuring the studio versions of each main track on the setlist: Jack White Shrine Setlist 8/11/12
Some brief highlights:
- The transition from the first single on Blunderbuss, “Love Interruption” to a scathing version of The Raconteurs’ “Top Yourself.” Spectacular work by White and the band.
- A wonderfully playful version of the Stripes’ “Hotel Yorba” and, just two songs later, a divinely sweet performance of “We’re Gonna Be Friends,” both made more lush – without being saccharine – by the Peacocks.
- The five-song stretch that closed the main part of the set was about as rocking as you’re going to see. The Peacocks’ drummer, Carla Azar (who first gained recognition with L.A.-based Autolux early last decade) was a massive star on this night, constantly waging battle with White’s incredible guitar work.
- Anyone who wants to be a bluesman, rock musician … hell, a musician, period … should be so lucky to see the version of “Ball And Biscuit” that closed the set. While always one of my favorite White songs, last night’s performance was above and beyond.
- The trio of songs in the encore seemed to encompass all of White’s greatness in a 15-minute span.