Jack White took the stage at Red Rocks by storm on Wednesday- a rainy Hump day- pacing back and forth in his pinstriped suit like a black panther in a cage. His signature shredding erupted through the dreary evening weather, blasting the absolutely packed amphitheater with that raw and raging energy that pulses through White’s (blue) veins. With his neck-length side burns illuminated under the ghastly blue lighting scheme (“Tonight it’s blue rocks, people!”), White and the band really rocked the joint.
It’s impressive that White could find bandmates who also possess such a fury for slamming on their instrument to match his own explosive rock-star riffs. Jack White and the band assaulted the audience with music, literally screaming both new and familiar lyrics into the microphone.
New songs off of Lazaretto were met with cheers from the head banging crowd, especially during piano centric Three Women, which White played just as the persistent drizzle petered off and the clouds cleared. Stage hands were crawling around their knees, drying up puddles that were accumulating dangerously close to the amps and equipment throughout the night with towels. “Lordy, lordy, lordy Lord!” Other songs off the new album, the catchy Just One Drink and harmonious and fiddle fueled Temporary Ground filled in between the harder tracks.
My favorite song of the night was a beautiful rendition of Blunderbuss, nearly bringing tears to my eyes through the raindrops streaming down my already soaked face.
When most bands play their new material at live shows, it’s often met with ambivalence from the crowd. When people don’t know the lyrics, they feel inclined to take a bathroom break or make a beer run. Not with Jack White. His new stuff is just as good as the last new stuff, which is just as good as the old stuff, which is just as good as the really old stuff. Not only does he always look suave as hell in his monochromatic outfits, but Jack White has an affinity for making utterly bad ass rock and roll music.
They opened with a howling and haunting High Ball Stepper, taking the plunge straight into the deep end. The band played some White Stripes classics such as a raunchy Dead Leaves on the Dirty Ground, a sweet and slow rendition of We Are Going to Be Friends, a nostalgic sounding The Same Boy You’ve Always Known, and a matter-of-fact Ball and Biscuit, “oh well, oh well.” There was a predictable singalong to Hotel Yorba. The seven song encore kicked off with Icky Thump and ended with a Seven Nation Army finale, with a bass-heavy Steady As She Goes smashed in the middle.
The last time I saw Jack White play Red Rocks two years ago, I was blown away by his over all stage presence and cool tenacity. Yet again, I left Red Rocks in awe of the Jack White, as an artist and a performer. White takes the definition of rock and roll and injects it with a unique intensity, creating music that is unlike anything else that exists.