|Jack White and the Buzzards at the Shrine|
Aug. 10 @ The Shrine Auditorium
There are few things I would brave this crazy heat for, and obviously, a Jack White concert is one of them. There I was Friday in the sticky night air having my purse searched by security, standing in line for a cocktail in the sweltering Shrine lobby and almost getting squished by a large man/woman with extremely long hair in the seat in front of me. But, it was all worth it.
My only disappointment was that I didn't get to see any of the songs that his all-female touring band, the Peacocks, perform (such as "Love Interruption" and "Take Me With You When You Go"), however, his all-male support musicians, the Buzzards, were phenomenal. Comprised of Ikey Owens (the Mars Volta) on keyboards, Daru Jones on drums, Cory Younts on mandolin/harmonica/vocals, Dominic Davis on bass and Fats Kaplin on fiddle/pedal steel, they launched the evening off with an explosion of energy in "Sixteen Saltines" and "Black Math." The two songs set the tone for the night, which was the perfect balance of White's solo debut, Blunderbuss, a cover ("Goodnight, Irene") and gems from his catalog of the White Stripes, the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather tunes.
The audience actually did a good job of singing along when White asked on "Goodnight, Irene" and "We're Going to be Friends" – and even when he didn't ask on his contribution from the 2011 The Lost Notebooks of Hank Williams compilation, "You Know That I Know." I missed Meg White's presence during "Hotel Yorba" and "The Hardest Button to Button," but White's exuberance as he interacted with the technically precise Jones and delighted in the musical prowess of all the Buzzards breathed new life into "I'm Slowly Turning Into You," "Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground" and "The Same Boy You've Always Known." I admittedly enjoyed their versions of "Top Yourself," "Steady As She Goes" and "I Cut Like a Buffalo" more than when I saw them performed by White with the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather. The real standouts of the set were White's frenetic hammering on "Missing Pieces," his wailing (with his voice and guitar) on "Hypocritical Kiss," back-to-back Owens on keys and White on ivories for "I Guess I Should Go to Sleep" and the thundering "Freedom at 21."
White really is one of the best musicians of his generation to see in concert. Even though the venue's sound didn't start off too stellar, it didn't matter. Perfection is not what you come to a Jack White show for. In fact it's the imperfections, the improvised intricacies of instrumentation that make each of his performances unique. Those are the moments that stay with you, that are worthy of every single sweat-drenched minute.