Words by Audra Tracy | Photo via David James Swanson
Disclaimer: This extremely biased review was written by a borderline-obsessed Jack White fan. Apologies to those seeking objective reporting – you’ve come to the wrong place.
Jack White was all riled up on Friday night. His band, The Raconteurs, had a sold-out show at Hammerstein Ballroom, the second of three New York gigs on their September tour schedule.
It was just another stop on their national tour in support of the new album, Help Us Stranger, but something was different on Friday night. It felt like anything could happen, and fans were all ears (and cellphone free!) as the band tested the strength of the four walls of the Manhattan Center.
Though they were in town plugging Help Us Stranger, you would never guess it during the first half hour of the set. The Raconteurs ripped through four back-catalog tunes and a searing, face-melting cover of The Stooges’ ‘I Wanna Be Your Dog’ before even playing a single note of the new record.
Sure, White has the star power, but lead vocalist/lyricist Brendan Benson proved his rightful place on stage during ‘Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying)’ and ‘Only Child’, two slow jams that gave New Yorkers a chance to catch their collective breath. Benson is the yin to White’s yang – the cool, calm, collected sidekick to White’s frenetic, unpredictable madman.
The hits kept coming, and during the opening build-up of ‘Broken Boy Soldier’, White raced off stage for a moment, only to reappear with Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, who added some fuzz to the already quite heavy mix. A few verses of Albert King’s ‘Born Under A Bad Sign’ led into ‘Sunday Driver’ before the set closed out with an intensely cathartic ‘Blue Veins’ – a tune that found the Seventh Son in all his guitar shredding glory.
Fans scrambled to pick their jaws off the floor, but the band wasn’t through just yet.
Laughing in the face of Hammerstein’s 11:00 curfew, The Raconteurs returned on stage to perform an eight song encore that included radio hits ‘Salute Your Solution’ and ‘Steady As She Goes’ . Clocking in at two hours and ten minutes, the show was a reckless, remarkable tribute to rock and roll, and one of the band’s longest sets of the tour so far.
A good concert gives you the chills for a moment. A great concert keeps your head ringing for a day or two. This show is going down in fucking history.
Consolers Of The Lonely
You Don’t Understand Me
I Wanna Be Your Dog -The Stooges cover
Don’t Bother Me
Somedays (I Don’t Feel Like Trying)
Broken Boy Soldier
Louie Louie (The Kingsmen cover) – followed by a reprise of Broken Boy Soldier
Hey Gyp (Dig the Slowness) – Donovan cover
Now That You’re Gone
Thoughts And Prayers
Salute Your Solution
Help Me Stranger
Steady As She Goes
TheWaster.com | NYC