Our plans had all the makings of a normal Thursday night when my mother and I unexpectedly found ourselves with tickets to see Jack White in Toronto. Being the wiley man he is, my father managed to win tickets for us just over twenty-four hours before the start of the concert. On the night of the show, my mother and I made our way to the Air Canada Centre where we encountered a large group of dissimilarly dressed people. People going to the same concert tend to be similarly dressed, the previous Friday’s One Direction concert being an extreme example of this, but this time it was hard to tell the kind of music that was going to be played based on the attire of the crowd alone. There were typical metal heads, hipsters and even a few people who were dressed like they were ready for a Brad Paisley concert. I didn’t know what to expect walking into the concert, but I certainly hoped we weren’t going to be faced with country music.
When we got into the ACC, we were directed towards what was essentially a private elevator. We talked to a friendly elevator attendant who took us up to the fifth floor, all the while lounging on a stool with his blue cotton girth facing upwards. When we arrived at the box, we were greeted by a perky blonde woman who told us that dinner was a forty-five minute wait but drinks could come immediately. We settled into the cushioned seats with our Caesars and waited for the opening act to come on. After the opening act finished, my mother ordered us both another Caesar while I went for an unsuccessful hunt for a burrito and got a little lost when I insisted on taking the stairs back to our section. A few minutes after I returned to my seat, the lights went down and the show began.
Truthfully, I know more of Jack White’s recent conflicts than I do of his recent album. Given what I had seen of his enthusiasm when he was recently photographed at a Chicago Cubs game, I expected him to be a miserable host for the evening. I was pleasantly surprised by his audience interaction. Given that Bob Dylan was one the solo artists I had seen in concert most recently, I was also pleasantly surprised by Jack White’s intelligibility. Though I could understand what he was saying, I didn’t know what the hell Jack White was playing half the time. Within the first seven or so songs, he covered nearly every musical genre one could reasonably play on a guitar. My mother and I started a bit of a country dance when he started to play what sounded like a square dance song. His guitar solos were often three times longer than the songs themselves but I didn’t mind. I was watching a vampire Jimi Hendrix rock out however he pleased. I wasn’t the only one excited about the show. The teenager boys in the box beside us were on their feet for most of the performance. I even saw a five person mosh pit down in general admission.
By the end of the show, Jack had played nearly every song off of his new album and played a number of The White Stripes’ and The Raconteurs’ greatest hits. He even somewhat inexplicably sang in a fake accent at one point in the show. To mark the transition from the main set to the encore, he came out and played “Icky Thump.” He closed the long encore with an arena singalong to “Seven Nation Army.” It was a great show that surpassed all of my expectations, but the best part of it was his closing words: “You’ve been amazing and I’ve been Jack White.”
Song of the Day: Lazaretto by Jack White