Jack White, The New Daisy, Memphis, TN – 3/13
Photo by Jo McCaughey
A buzz rippled throughout the rock world when renowned musician Jack White announced he was releasing his debut solo album. The much anticipated undertaking is entitled “Blunderbuss” and is set to drop on April 24th. Following the demise of his beloved band The White Stripes last year, this was welcomed news. Jack’s illustrious career also includes critically-acclaimed stints as a member in the bands, The Raconteurs and The Dead Weather, among countless collaborations with music royalty. While he seemingly channels music from every genre, he bleeds the blues which fuels his unparalleled sound. So when The New Daisy on historic Beale Street appeared as one of his club dates – one of just a handful of shows – it had all the ingredients of a landmark performance. This sentiment was shared by many as it instantly sold out and quickly became the hottest ticket in recent memory. Seeing one of the last true modern day rock stars up close and personal drove the tickets on the black market to astronomically prices. As everyone lined the timeless street to enter, spirits were equally as high.
Leave it to the eccentric Jack White to tour with two completely different bands. One, entirely female and the other, entirely male. The equally competent bands do not find out who will be posturing with Jack until the day of the show. Shortly after nine it was obvious which of the two was playing, when in true bluesmen fashion, the sharp dressed men took the featureless stage.
Over the course of the evening Jack led his versatile band through a refreshing set of material seemingly touching on all his past endeavors. The White Stripes’ classic “Dead Leaves on the Ground” opened the show to the approval of the packed club. Jack was as animated as ever while the music took on a southern charm. The violin and pedal steel guitar was a welcomed addition to the familiar material. “Sixteen Saltines” off his soon to be released album followed and did little to change the positive vibe. The new numbers were situated perfectly throughout the set, placed amongst songs that were known as well as beloved. Following “I Cut like a Buffalo,” the band played “You Know That I Know” off Jack’s contribution to the Hank Williams project. Four songs in and it was already understood, no song was safe and this was more than a side project. Jack was having a blast on stage, handling a guitar like only he can while the band’s chemistry was concrete. The undiscovered Hank cover sounded hauntingly authentic with this band’s county flavor. Jack’s guitar work was intoxicating as he ripped through “Hotel Yorba” and The Raconteurs’ classic, “Steady As She Goes.” Another highlight was a flawless version of Jack White’s and Dangerous Mouse’s collaboration “Two against One.” This Olympian night came to a close with Jack encouraging the fans to sing along with “Love Interruption” and a smoking “Seven Nation Army”, before closing the show with the fitting Leadbelly cover “Goodnight Irene.” On such a satisfying night it is hard to come up with a complaint, but it would have been nice to hear both of the bands he is touring with have a chance to play. This did little to damper such a perfect night.
Jack White’s latest endeavor shined brighter than the priceless guitars he amazed us with all night. Their bluesy, rockabilly sound was right at home on the street that gave birth to rock and roll. Following such an inspired performance, it is clear southern life is treating this virtuoso well.