When God made rock n’ roll, he had an idea of how it should be performed. Well, Jack White had that same exact idea Friday night. To be in the presence of this kind of energy is strange, weird and exactly what you would expect from one of today’s only living rock legends that is still crafting his best work with his band The Raconteurs.

The Racon- who’s? The Raconteurs.

About five songs into their show at the Orpheum Theater in Boston, the single “Steady as She Goes” starts up with a strong bass line, and Jack White steps into the light for one of the only times all night. He’s telling everyone to clap. And for some reason, it doesn’t sound as cheesy as all the other times a singer has asked his crowd to clap. If you can imagine Snoop Dogg or Elvis asking everyone at one of their concerts to clap, you have an idea of the crowd’s roaring response.

The Raconteurs consist of Jack White from the White Stripes, Brendan Benson, Jack Lawrence and Patrick Keeler; the latter two are previously of the Greenhornes. The accomplishment of the divorced husband and wife rock duo, the White Stripes, is no doubt largely responsible for the Raconteur’s success, but it is not the only reason.

Benson has had an acclaimed and long career as a power pop singer/songwriter. Power pop is music like “Hard Day’s Night,” by the Beatles and “My Sharona,” by the Knack. Together, the four are technically a “supergroup” made up of independently recognized artists, but they consider themselves simply a new band of old friends. The Greenhornes’ first album was considered by many to be the sleeper hit of 2005. Less than a year later, in May of this year, they released “Broken Boy Soldiers” with the Raconteurs.

Their music is reminiscent of the humble roots of rock, just sped up a bit with a little distortion and some creepy harmonies. A clear Beatles influence flows throughout all songs and sometimes takes a back seat to the Zeppelin sensation in tracks like “Level.”

The album came across a little too rich in pop music for some people, while others complained about the length, as it was just over a half-hour long. The album definitely left a lot to be desired, especially for those fans who had grown used to the perfectly crafted 13 and 14-song White Stripes albums.

Their live show, however, could kill a guy. The passion and pure intensity is simply unmatched by any rock band today. Jack White knows he’s a rock star. But somehow he still seems humble.

White’s spastic guitar styling and haunting voice are even more eerie when he’s only 30 feet away, that’s for sure. Locking eyes with someone like that when they’re that close is like seeing a ghost. You’ve seen all the YouTube videos and you’ve heard all the songs, and now he’s looking at you.

After putting out a critically acclaimed album almost every year since his first album with the White Stripes in 1999, Jack White, a Grammy Award-winning musician and producer, has become one of the most influential musicians of the last ten years. The Rolling Stone named him No. 17 on their “Top 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time” list. Every problem the “Broken Boy Soldiers” had as an album disappeared as a live show. Some songs sounded too weak or too weird on the album, but not in concert. Also, in concert many harmonies were either switched around or completely changed for the better. White said to Rolling Stone earlier this year that their songs evolve quickly on the road and that the band often improvises.

The musical professionalism on stage was overwhelming. They came out in a psychedelic haze of fog and music and sang nothing for a few minutes. It dragged on a bit, but the audience was letting Jack White do anything.

In addition to a cover of David Bowie’s “It Ain’t Easy,” they played a very long version of Nancy Sinatra’s song “Bang, Bang.” He’d sing the verse with a gentle voice and scream the lines “Bang, Bang” into his distortion microphone facing away from the crowd. It was very much like his cover of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” on the White Stipes DVD “Under Blackpool Lights.”

To match their too-short half-hour album, the show was not much longer than an hour, although the roaring applause at the end did not sound like disappointment. Apparently they’ve done this throughout the whole tour. It is their first tour together and they are headlining every show. The tour has taken them across the whole world and almost every show was sold out.

The combination of Jack White’s raw and unfiltered energy creates one of the most memorable concert experiences anyone could ever experience today.

After seeing The Raconteurs, you’ll feel like you just saw The Who or the Rolling Stones in the 60’s, when nobody knew what was coming.

About The Author

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.