The White StripesVoodoo Music Festival
November 02, 2003
I came away with a smile on my face. They play good rock. It's indisputable. Actually, a lot of people wouldn't have argued if you said they were the best rock band in the world. So, it would have been pretty hard for them to screw up their closing set on the final day of Voodoo Fest 2003. People kept telling me how good their show was at the Municipal Auditorium earlier in the year. I was jealous of all of them. That's where I really wanted to see them--in a closed, showcase atmosphere. That's why the theatre show was gonna haunt my opinion of their festival show, no matter how well they played.
There I was with all the fans--packt like sardines in a tin can out on the field. A lot of young-uns left after A Perfect Circle played. That was quite alright. Jack and Meg White created no fanfare as they walked onstage. They barely said a word throughout the whole show to the audience. They did their deed and were done. No frills. Fine. The show had its great moments. Can I tell you they were the tightest thing I ever heard? No, but the feeling of that thumping blues floating through the night air felt nice. Soothing. There was enough fuzz and open ride cymbal bashing, testosterone and rock posturing(this was a good thing). Some time before the show, I had seen some article where Jack made the list of best guitarists ever, so I thought I'd judge for myself. I wasn't disappointed. It's one thing to hear it on record. It's another thing to see him manhandle his guitar and put it through so many different effects pedals and genres. With quality and passion.
Jack and Meg also took things down to a sentimental level. Jack's acoustic performance of Dolly Parton's "Jolene" tore me up a little bit. His voice. Man. Something else. Same thing for "I Want to be the Boy That Warms Your Mother's Heart." It was just him and his piano battling the silence before the drums came in. The slide guitar solo in that song? How do you not appreciate that? And then, man, Meg came out from behind the drumset to sing "In the Cold, Cold Night." She had such a great voice, and I would have gone anywhere with her. Captivating.
Sometimes, Jack faced the audience and sang, but the best was when he stood at the mic right in front of Meg's set and sang directly to her. All that energy flowing between them in such a tight space. A very intimate and fun thing to watch.
The White Stripes cover a number of songs on their albums, and live was no different. "John The Revelator" was a traditional done by everyone from Son House to the Dirty Dozen Brass Band. They did pieces of "Death Letter" and "Grinnin' in Your Face," both also by Son House. Then, they did a little bit of Luther Dixon's "Boys," which was covered by The Beatles. "Jack The Ripper" was another cover, and they ended the whole thing with some of Jimmy Webb's "Wichita Lineman." Afraid to show their influences?
Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground
I Think I Smell A Rat
Cannon > John The Revelator
I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart
Death Letter> Grinnin In Your Face
In The Cold, Cold Night
The Hardest Button To Button
Wasting My Time
Girl, You Have No Faith In Medicine > Boys
Jack The Ripper
Ball & Biscuit
St. James Infirmary Blues
Fell In Love With A Girl
Seven Nation Army > Wichita Lineman