Third Man’s Renaissance Man brought big hits and deep faves to an electrifying performance in Brooklyn
The first time I ever saw Jack White in concert was exactly 20 years ago this month, when I was lucky enough to finagle my way into the White Stripes show at Bowery Ballroom back on April 8, 2002.
There’s a video of the whole show out there on YouTube that I suggest you hunt down, because seeing Jack and Meg on that night was almost like catching Pink Floyd at the UFO Club or Talking Heads at CBGB right before both bands became too big for such small venues. Jack had some kind of head cold, but he killed it nonetheless, even covering Bob Dylan’s “Lovesick Blues” off his 1997 masterwork Time Out Of Mind on that night.
Since then, the White Stripes have become a fond memory, one that was revisited throughout the course of Jack’s triumphant return to the New York area this past Thursday night at the Barclays Center in the heart of Brooklyn’s Park Slope district as part of his Supply Chain Issues Tour.
And to be quite honest, I’m glad to have waited 20 years before seeing White in concert again, because we got to see quite arguably the finest version of Jack on stage in his quarter century as a recording artist. The Jack White of 2022 has nothing left to prove, having established himself as a successful rock star through his achievements with not only solo and with the White Stripes but The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather as well; not to mention the runaway accomplishments of his multifaceted music emporium in Nashville under the Third Man brand.
This version of Jack was pure atom smashing in a yogurt jar onstage, playing his guitar like a note-perfect Jimmy Page hopped up on sugarcubes as he tore through such classic fare as “Black Math,” “Sixteen Saltines” and the majority of the material from his stellar new album Fear of the Dawn. And this band he’s got with him, comprised of three longtime collaborators drummer Daru Jones, bassist Dominic John Davis and keyboardist Quincy McCrary, is without question the best squad of players he’s been flanked by yet.
Their ability to switch up from chaos to clean at Jack’s whim is a sign that he’s found his band for life, and I look forward to seeing them live again the next time they come around.
White also covered a deep U2 favorite in the Achtung Baby closing ballad “Love Is Blindness” in addition to offering fans a preview of Fear of the Dawn’s calmer companion disc Entering Heaven Alive in the country-rock tinged “Love Is Selfish” and the Macca-esque “Queen of the Bees.”
But perhaps the coolest part of this Brooklyn show after the 20 year stretch is hearing Jack and his band perform “Seven Nation Army”–having become such a staple at baseball games, soccer stadiums and American football fields over the last two decades. To see that strange crowd of happy faces signing to main riff back to White was Freddie Mercury-esque in his command, even though he talks about as fast as the Micro Machines guy between songs.
Jack White is one of a select number of artists who’ve come of age in the 2000s and belongs in the same company as the classic rock giants he is taking over for as they retire from arena touring. Long may he reign.
SETLIST: Jack White @ Barclays Center 4/21/2022 (via Setlist.fm)
Taking Me Back
Fear of the Dawn
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (The White Stripes)
I Think I Smell a Rat (The White Stripes)
You Don’t Understand Me (The Raconteurs)
Love Is Blindness (U2 cover)
High Ball Stepper
Black Math (The White Stripes)
The Same Boy You’ve Always Known (The White Stripes)
Love Is Selfish
Queen of the Bees
Cannon (The White Stripes) (>)
Give Me Back My Wig (Hound Dog Taylor cover)
Catch Hell Blues (The White Stripes) (> Cannon reprise)
What’s the Trick?
I’m Slowly Turning Into You (The White Stripes)
Icky Thump (The White Stripes)
I Cut Like a Buffalo (The Dead Weather)
Steady, as She Goes (The Raconteurs)
Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes)
VIDEO: Jack White performs “What’s The Trick?” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert