Jack White 1/30/16

(a) setlist

    1. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (The White Stripes cover)
    2. High Ball Stepper
    3. Lazaretto
    4. Hotel Yorba (The White Stripes cover)
    5. Temporary Ground
    6. Cannon (The White Stripes cover)
    7. Broken Boy Soldier (The Raconteurs cover)
    8. Love Interruption
    9. We’re Going to be Friends (The White Stripes cover)
    10. Three Women
    11. Black Math (The White Stripes cover)
    12. Top Yourself (The Raconteurs cover)
    13. Ball and Biscuit (The White Stripes cover)


  1. That Black Bat Licorice (w/ Q-Tip)
  2. Excursions (A Tribe Called Quest cover w/ Q-Tip)
  3. Sixteen Saltines
  4. Astro (The White Stripes cover)
  5. Steady As She Goes (The Raconteurs cover)
  6. Would You Fight For My Love?
  7. Just One Drink
  8. Blunderbuss
  9. Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes cover)

(b) highlights

  • my friend won a lottery through Jack White’s fan club that let us automatically get in the venue first, which means front row center at Madison Square Garden = heaven
  • that SETLIST, Jesus
  • getting to hear that many White Stripes songs was a true treasure
  • I don’t know how or why, but “That Black Bat Licorice” was seriously next level – a damn near religious experience
  • the entire show’s audio streamed on xm radio, which made the whole experience that much more special
  • Jack was in a great mood, elevating each moment to a better place – his mood made the performance the best possible

(c) lowlights

  • I don’t know who I have to murder to hear “Icky Thump” live, but I would really like to know eventually, please
  • also willing to commit a small crime to hear the Dead Weather’s “I Cut Like a Buffalo,” but I suppose that’s a longshot that this point
  • Jack White is CRAZY about people taking photos during his shows (meaning, he’s stopped performing and caused a scene because of it), so no one took pictures throughout the show*
  • *(this isn’t actually a lowlight – it was nice that no one was distracted during the performance, but I wish I could’ve had a few keepsake photos of my experience)

(d) overall thoughts

For those who don’t know, Jack White is an…eccentric guy. As a performer, he doesn’t use conventional setlists or even really determine how long his shows will be before they’ve started. His band of touring musicians are a particularly skilled group of people who can equally perform each song with perfection and anticipate the unexpected when it comes to Jack. As an astute audience member, you can definitely sense the tension every so often on stage. Jack will start one song and turn it into something else halfway through. His violinist will pick up one fiddle and bow only to immediately put it down and pick up something else after Jack has changed the song seemingly mid-chorus. It sounds stressful, and sometimes anxiety-inducing to watch, but at Madison Square Garden, it made me excited. I had seen Jack White’s solo act twice before this show – once in a small outdoor venue and another at a huge festival – but it was at this show that he seemed most happy, comfortable, and effortlessly thrilled to be playing. He performs for himself, not the audience, so his art really speaks for him. Make of that what you will.

Jack’s second solo album Lazaretto was so strong to me, and this night really let those songs shine right alongside some true White Stripes classics. “High Ball Stepper,” “Temporary Ground,” and “Three Women” felt so fully embodied as songs that you wonder how they haven’t always existed. “That Black Bat Licorice,” even with the bizarre accompaniment of Q-Tip, felt so massive and so much bigger than that venue could even hold. Each song felt like taking steps a part of a greater journey, and I was so willing to take Jack White’s hand and let him lead me along the way. Regardless of how people feel about Jack, who has somehow become a point of controversy over the years, you can’t deny the presence of magic hearing 20,000+ people sing “Seven Nation Army” in such an iconic arena. That’s something you never forget.

Bottom line: Jack White is a true musician in every sense of the word, and experiencing his art live is a privilege…even if he sort of hates the audience in the process. I can live with that.

[All photos are by David James Swanson, Jack’s personal photog.]


Bonus Material!

My blonde head is too excited and jumping in and out of frame, but man, this song was beautiful.