Jack White w/Pop Goes Duane @ Scottish Rite Cathedral inside the Masonic Temple on May 24, 2012, in Detroit, MI
This was the 2PM matinee performance.
Everything about this show was offbeat, from the “Ozone Action Day” heat, to the show time, to the venue. I have seen The White Stripes play the Masonic Temple thrice, but this was in the side venue, the 1,500-1,600 seat Scottish Rite Cathedral. The sun was shining as I walked in and out of the venue, a first. I had to contend with rush hour traffic on the drive home from the concert, another first.
The Masonic Temple was built in an era when people didn't have to go to the bathroom, so there was one bathroom for each gender in the whole building. The crowd was a mix of hipsters and oldsters, and a few of us squares. Jack wouldn't let me take pictures, so you're on your own from here on out.
|I snapped this after I read the poster. Defiant to the end! My wife scolded me and I put it away after this one.|
Pop Goes Duane was...different. The band just stood there static as the artist formerly known as Duane The Teenage Weirdo sang to pre-recorded music. They came alive during the last song, which was actually not bad.
The stage set for Jack White was very 21st century, with modern lighting rigs and towers and a “III” backdrop which lit up and, later on, looked like three curtains. He fronted a five piece band, with the drummer occupying stage right where Meg once sat. Black Math started out fast and furious, and then slowed down into a half-time version. It sped back up during the guitar solo. Most of The White Stripes songs that were performed during this show had altered arrangements. Missing Pieces and Trash Tongue Talker followed. I swear the lyrics to that song are inspired by Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed. Lord knows I've read it to my kids a thousand times. I haven't seen Jack play live since 2005, so to see him take an occasional backseat to other band members was different. He seemed to interact with the drummer and organ player the most.
I didn't know the non-album Two Against One (thanks setlist.fm!) but liked it. We're Going To Be Friends was a full band version, and in my opinion, it didn't work. Go ahead, throw your tomatoes, I call them as I see them. Weep Themselves To Sleep and Hypocritical Kiss were great live, sounding more powerful than their recorded counterparts. There are times when songs come to life live, and that is why playing stuff live for a while before recording it can be great. Here in the cellphone video camera age, it is dicey for a band to do, though. I didn't know Three Hundred Pounds of Joy (thanks again, setlist.fm). No idea if it was a cover or B-side, as I don't collect those too much these days.
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground was done with Jack on piano, and the full band made the accents sound huge. This was one of the instances where the full band sounded superior to the two piece. Blunderbuss was great. You Know That I Know was another one that I didn't know. Hello Operator sounded great, and was played straightforward. I Cut Like A Buffalo was great, and I didn't know it. I never picked up the second Dead Weather album because the first one left me cold. Again, hurl your rocks and tomatoes, I speak the truth!
There was a Cannon tease, and then we got Ball and Biscuit. Jack didn't seem to go off as much in the solo like I remember. I recall that sounding downright savage at Chene Park a hundred years ago. This was the end of the set proper. There was a fair amount of time before the band came back out, and for a minute I was thinking that Jack had hightailed it outta dodge.
Freedom At 21 was next, followed by another unknown-to-me Dead Weather song, Blue Blood Blues. The Hardest Button To Button was great. I will admit that I miss The White Stripes and would love to see them again at some point. Take Me With You When You Go rounded out the show. It is such a great song, and makes for a fitting closer. I was kind of surprised that Jack didn't pimp the new album's singles, but hey, whatever.
So there you have it. Just under 80 minutes, and the concert was over at 4:18 PM. I was home by the time the street lights came on.
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