Firing up Van Andel Arena Sunday on the third night of his national tour, Jack White and company delivered another rock show for the ages. The review and photos at Local Spins.
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Seeing Jack White these days is about as close to time travel as it gets.
After stepping inside the venue, your phone is sealed in a locked Yondr pouch and kept on your person. It can only be opened in phone kiosks located outside the arena’s main bowl.
There are no cameras, no recording devices and no phones allowed. It’s a strange feeling at first.
Your reach for your pocket to document a fiery guitar solo but then realize you can’t. Or you text your friend to see when they’ll be back with drinks, but then remember they’re out facing the wilderness on their own, at the every whim of concert chaos.
But after those feelings abate, it’s actually freeing. One less thing to worry about for the evening. And a bit like time travel.
A few smiling lighters make their appearance at the right moments. Fans are spared from the inevitable experience of an audience member who forgets their flash is on, takes a blinding photo, then quickly lowers their arm to hide the light.
I usually take notes on my phone throughout the night during concert reviews. For Jack White at Grand Rapids’ Van Andel Arena on Sunday night — the third night of White and band’s U.S. tour — I found myself madly scribbling on a series of cocktail napkins with a borrowed purple pen.
Opener Olivia Jean, the Detroit singer and guitar White proposed to and then married onstage only two days earlier in Detroit, garnered the first of my frantic scribbles.
She opened the show with a four-piece band that blazed through a high-energy opening set with a retro, ultra-Detroit vibe.
Once the dust settled, the stage fell under a light haze and shades of blue: blue lights, blue projections and a luxuriously ruffled blue border at the peak of the stage.
White sauntered into the arena and picked up a blue guitar. Launching into “Taking me Back” — the opening track from “Fear of the Dawn,” which was released on Friday — White ripped through solo passes with effortless charm, backed by a trio of equally accomplished bandmates: bassist, music director and lifelong pal Dominic John Davis, drummer Daru Jones and keyboardist Quincy McCrary.
It signaled a 23-song night filled with spontaneity and rock fury.
ROCK FIREBALLS AND A FITTING FINALE
A sure highlight was “Love Interruption,” from 2012’s “Blunderbuss,” which saw a groovy rock ‘n’ roll makeover from the recorded version. It’s as if the once mellow number grew its hair out, ripped its jeans at the knees and turned up the volume nob to II.
“Lazaretto” was a fireball of fuzz and distortion. Constantly moving and ricocheting around the stage, White kept the energy up and the guitar wizardry rolling.
During the song, White shredded like a waiter at Olive Garden insisting on complimentary cheese, but atop a bed of rock ‘n’ roll rhythm with a side of soul.
The final salvo in the band’s main set boasted the now-prophetic line, “Find yourself a girl, and settle down,” the opening line to The Raconteurs’ hit “Steady, As She Goes,” which White had played in Detroit when he proposed to Jean. In Grand Rapids, the classic, fan-pleasing track was delivered with a fresh and dynamic twist.
What followed in the encore were three White Stripes gems (plus “Sixteen Saltines” and “That Black Bat Licorice”) that included the familiar finale: a slow burning live intro that led to the distinctive drumbeat and well-known rhythmic dance between guitar and bass. Fans belted every word.
Is there a more fitting way to conclude an arena show than with one of the songs most played in arenas by the artist who penned it?
Cue 2003’s “Seven Nation Army,” The White Stripes anthem for the ages that’s pumped through stadium speakers around the globe.
The final song rattled the arena with heavy guitar riffs and the kind of merciless drumming that makes you wonder if Jones had struck an earlier deal with the devil backstage.
PHOTO GALLERY: Jack White at Van Andel Arena
Photos by David James Swanson (via Jack White)
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