Jack White, Live and in Person at the Ryman Auditorium

all photos courtesy of http://www.jackwhiteiii.com

Once upon a time in the summer of 2003, I held a ticket to see the White Stripes at the Ryman in my sweaty palm… until Jack broke his hand in a car wreck, cancelled the show, never made it up, nor played a proper Stripes show in Nashville again…and well, we all know the rest of the sad story.

Fast forward to now… Jack White is on his own, touring (with two separate bands!) in support of his new album Blunderbuss.  I took a sneak peak at a few setlists and knew beforehand that there were tracks sprinkled in from the White Stripes, the Raconteurs, and the Dead Weather along with a few Blunderbuss tracks, of course.

At promptly 8:45, Jack strolled out onto the stage in a baby blue suit and a black dress shirt, straight to the microphone and ready to get down to business.  Accompanied by an all-female backing band (in lieu of his all-male band from the night before), Jack burst into “Missing Piecies” and the coulda-woulda-shoulda been White Stripes hit “Sixteen Saltines”.  I have not bothered to research any of his back-up band members, but the dark-haired drummer located conveniently closest to Jack mercilessly beat the drumset with primal spunk throughout the night, with Jack frequently gravitating and seemingly feeding off the huge beats.

With very little banter, Jack and the girls charged on through – eventually breaking out the White Stripes favorites “Black Math” and a playful and lighthearted rendition of “You’re Pretty Good Looking for a Girl”.  One of my favorite moments throughout the night was an ode-to-honky-tonk in the chapel of country music with Hank Williams’ “You Know That I Know”.  Continually mixing up the setlist selection, Jack broke out the Dead Weather track “Blue Blood Blues” and the Raconteurs’ “Steady as She Goes”.

Setting down the axe, Jack moved over to piano for a soulfully strutting version of “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground”, with back-up singer Ruby of Sam and Ruby fame (shown below – yeah! go Nashville!) lovely echoing the refrain of  “for a while so you’re not alone…” behind Jack.

To top things off, Jack performed my all time favorite White Stripes track “Ball and Biscuit” to end the show, sending me home a very happy camper… even if I didn’t get to hear “Carolina Drama”.  Aside from Jack’s incredible showmanship, his band was in lock-step the entire time, teetering on the edge of precision and letting all hell break loose at just the right moments (see: “The Hardest Button to Button”).

Now – I have got to say that the “absolutely no pictures, even on your phone – you will get kicked out” policy was incredibly wonderful.  For the entire night I didn’t see one glowing screen in front of me, just a church full of people grooving and moving to the sounds of one of the best showman in music today.  Needless to say, if you are a fan of Jack White or any of his past and present projects – do NOT miss this tour if he comes to your town.  In lieu of picture taking, it was announced http://www.jackwhiteiii.com would be posting many pictures for the audience to view – so many thanks to them for a sufficient documentation of the show.

The full setlist…

  1. Missing Pieces
  2. Sixteen Saltines
  3. Black Math
    (The White Stripes)
  4. Love Interruption
  5. Weep Themselves to Sleep
  6. Top Yourself
    (The Raconteurs)
  7. Hypocritical Kiss
  8. You’re Pretty Good Looking (For A Girl)
    (The White Stripes)
  9. Blue Blood Blues
    (The Dead Weather)
  10. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
    (The White Stripes)
  11. I Guess I Should Go to Sleep
  12. You Know That I Know
    (Hank Williams)
  13. Hotel Yorba
    (The White Stripes)
  14. I’m Finding It Harder to Be a Gentleman
    (The White Stripes)
  15. Steady, As She Goes
    (The Raconteurs)
  16. I’m Slowly Turning Into You
    (The White Stripes)
  17. Freedom At 21
  18. The Hardest Button to Button
    (The White Stripes)
  19. Ball and Biscuit
    (The White Stripes)

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Categories: Concert Reviews

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