Jack White – Madison Square Garden Jan. 30, 2015 & “Lazaretto” album review
Hot off the release of a Grammy-nominated album, Jack White is the new golden boy of rock and his recent stint at Madison Square Garden proved that he is the king of live music. Performing a 21-song, 1 hour and 45 minute-show, White fired on all cylinders with an engaging set filled with mind-boggling surprises and an inimitable energy that rung through the arena. The show marked seven months after the release of White’s second solo album, “Lazaretto,” which is White’s most intimate album, revealing sides of a man not seen in previous efforts.
“Lazaretto” consists of 11 songs that express White’s multifaceted personality and taste for eclectic, but excellent styles of music. Highlights include “High Ball Stepper,” an instrumental piece which showcases White’s guitar chops and Lillie Mae’s vocal prowess and “Temporary Ground,” a folk ballad with shared vocals by White and Mae which eventually culminates into a powerful finale. The standout track from “Lazaretto” is “Would You Fight for My Love?,” an epic tale of White’s passion for a woman that includes some of the best vocals and guitar work that White has produced since forming the White Stripes in 1997.
While “Lazaretto” succeeds in establishing White as an eloquent and mastermind musician, there are some sides to this album which should have went unheard such as with “Just One Drink,” which boasts inadequate lyrics and a weird progression. “Want and Able” follows the same pattern as “Just One Drink,” leaving the listener bored after the first listen.
“That Black Bat Licorice” explores White’s interest in rap and blends with his signature sound, which lends to creative, but excellent results. The album as a whole embodies creative genius and maddening depth. White has proven himself as the savior of rock n’ roll in the 21st century and will go down as a Willy Wonka of music.
To promote his new collection of works, White stopped by Madison Square Garden in New York City on Jan. 30 with his arsenal of compositions ready at his fingertips. The energy soared throughout the arena as the unlikely opener, Run the Jewels, took the stage and provided an entertaining show for the audience with the highlight being an appearance by Zack de la Rocha, the lead singer of Rage Against the Machine.
As soon as White and his band took the stage, all bets were off; the crowd went berserk as White took off with a blistering rendition of “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground,” a White Stripes song that somehow felt more fleshed out by White’s new band. What followed suit was a motley of new songs, which included a unique take on “High Ball Stepper” which led right into “Lazaretto.” The rest of the set followed with hits from the White Stripes and Raconteurs, which ranged from one of the best-sounding “Top Yourself” of the Lazaretto tour to a heavily distorted “Cannon.”
Once the first set closed out with an extended “Ball and Biscuit,” a blue curtain enveloped the stage, leaving everyone to wonder what would happen next. The previous night in Nashville, White brought together The Raconteurs for a brief reunion that conjured extraordinary magic. When the curtains opened, the crowd was treated with the roaring guitar of “That Black Bat Licorice,” but towards the middle of the chorus, the crowd was astonished to see that rapper Q-Tip of A Tribe Called Quest joined White on stage to finish the song.
Unexpectedly, the duo went right into a cover of A Tribe Called Quest’s “Excursions,” which was so phenomenal that I recommend you go listen to it. White’s rambunctious guitar solos with Q-Tip’s rapping abilities equated to an unexpected, but well-deserved treat. Another standout moment of the night came with Sixteen Saltines, which went right into an outstanding version of “Astro.” “Steady As She Goes” let the crowd break out into a sing-along that shook the arena once White asked “Are we steady now?”
The night closed with the greatest ensemble of voices accumulated together that screeched and hollered the rhythm to “Seven Nation Army.” White was clearly enthusiastic about the crowd, for he got them involved in every portion of the song. As he threw his blue Fender Telecaster to the floor, the crowd knew the epic had reached its end. White had poured his soul into the performance and, in turn, the crowd gave their heart and voice to every song on the setlist. For those who are given the chance to see White in concert, you will not be disappointed; in fact, your expectations for live music will be blown through the roof.
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (The White Stripes)
High Ball Stepper
Hotel Yorba (The White Stripes)
Canon (The White Stripes)
Broken Boy Soldier (The Raconteurs)
We’re Going To Be Friends (The White Stripes)
Top Yourself (The Raconteurs)
Ball and Biscuit (The White Stripes)
The Black Bat Licorice (with Q-Tip)
Excursion (A Tribe Called Quest) (with Q-Tip)
Astro (The White Stripes)
Steady As She Goes (The Raconteurs)
Would You Fight for My Love?
Just One Drink
Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes)