The last thing you’d expect to see at a 21st century concert is thousands of people actually looking up, but at Jack White’s Saturday gig, that’s exactly what happened.
At the new Space by Echo Arena, which has almost twice the standing capacity of the Echo Arena, Jack White performed for nearly 7,000 eager fans. The audience varied from seasoned fans in their 50s to indie teens. As per White’s request, all phones were locked away in a Yonder pouch, to ensure a “100% human experience”. Despite the initial inconvenience of not being able to check the time or mindlessly peruse twitter while waiting, having no phone during the concert was one of the reasons this gig was so great. Aside from the obviously brilliant music, everyone was forced to watch the gig with their own eyes instead of through a screen and able to enjoy their favourite songs without worrying about filming the chorus to post on snapchat. The lack of the devices managed to give the massive concert the same feel as a close, personal gig, and allow everyone to connect through their love of White’s music.
White kicked off the gig by walking onto stage to blaring rock music and flashing blue and white lights, fitting with his aesthetic, whilst pumping up the crowd. The band then launched into ‘Over and Over and Over’ from his newest album Boarding House River, which maintained the audiences’ energy with its recognisable riffs and refrain. Amazingly, there was never a silent moment, with the band constantly playing extended versions of the songs, showing off the impressive instrumentals. Just when the initial excitement of being at the gig began to wear off, White launched in the the classic ‘Hotel Yorba’, which, despite its acoustic, bluegrass sound, was the song the crowd most loved and had the best response to. The entire crowd was dancing and singing along, and White was even getting involved, dancing along. ‘Hotel Yorba’ was the only song White introduced, stating “Elvis had his Heartbreak Hotel…. This is Hotel Yorba’, and it was evident the song had a place in his heart
White continued with high energy favourites like ‘That Bat Black Licorice’ and ‘High Ball Stepper’ before slowing down to play crowd favourites like ‘Love Interruption’ and ‘Blunderbuss’. White also played more White Stripes’ classics like ‘Black Math’ and ‘You’ve Got Her in Your Pocket’ during which White even got a bit emotional. At one point he took a five second breather before signalling to his drummer, Carla Azar, to initiate the final cords of ‘Black Math’.
The years of musical talent on the stage could not be missed. White looked completely at ease on the stage, whilst simultaneously showing his expertise at intricate guitar solos and even busting out a bit of piano. Additionally, I’ve never seen a band enjoy playing a gig so much. The entire time drummer, Azar, and bassist, Dominic Davis, joked and messed about, with White often joining in during the musical interludes.
White closed the main set with the White Stripes song ‘I’m Slowly Turning into You’. However, the gig couldn’t end without the classics being played.
The band and White returned to the stage a few moments later, after much screaming from the crowd, to play an encore, which had to to be one of the highlights of the show. White spoke again briefly saying that he played this song for the first time in Liverpool years ago, before beginning the encore with The Raconteurs hit ‘Steady as She Goes’. He played the popular ‘Connected by Love’ from Boarding House Reach and ‘Lazaretto’ from the 2014 album of that name before seamlessly transitioning into the crowd favourite ‘Seven Nation Army’. The crowd went absolutely mad, singing the bass line all the way through, and White stated that he ‘didn’t want this to end’.
Whether you’re a fan of The White Stripes, The Raconteurs, or his solo music, a Jack White gig is not one to miss. With a sound covering everything from true classic rock, to bluegrass, to rap rock and back, White’s gigs truly show his diversity and talent.
White has just finished up a stint of tours across Europe and has gigs coming up in Canada and the US.