The Raconteurs' live show presented an interesting conundrum: mostly how two Type A personalities, Jack White and Brendan Benson, work on stage together. Clearly Benson hasn't enjoyed the levels of co

The Raconteurs' live show presented an interesting conundrum: mostly how two Type A personalities, Jack White and Brendan Benson, work on stage together. Clearly Benson hasn't enjoyed the levels of commercial success of White. Therefore, headlining rooms the size of the Roseland Ballroom for two nights was a new thing, but Benson took advantage in asserting himself for his (new) audience.

What ended up happening was that both Benson and White seemed to be in a bit of friendly competition on stage -- who could out-rock the other? With the White Stripes, the duo format obviously doesn't matter: Jack is free to roam and spazz out as he sees fit. With more of a "band" he still does that, but Benson chimed in a lot and offered his own rock star moves.

Maybe this was conscious, and maybe not, but the show was divided into two portions: the first half being very Benson-heavy and the second half reserved for White. It's not to say that Benson didn't pull off a good performance but things did seem to pick up a bit on the more White-oriented tunes. Maybe Benson has an uphill battle, as most in the audience seemed very accustomed to White's voice paired with hisbluesy slide style guitar playing. Hopefully they noticed that he was pretty spot-on from the get-go, taking charge during the opener "Intimate Secretary," as well as during "Hands."

White's not one to rehash his studio work on stage, and tonight the Raconteurs drastically changed "Store Bought Bones," dividing it into two parts, the first of which offered a much more blues-oriented approach. Covers of "It Ain't Easy" and the long and slow Sonny Bono song "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" were great, classic choices, with the latter really providing a platform for White to draw out his guitar solos. And as the closer "Blue Vein" championed the band's inner Zeppelin, it became evident the Raconteurs excel at interpreting (or delivering) the blues to a whole new generation.

Roseland has a reputation for having sound issues but the rhythm section (via Cincinnati band the Greenhornes) was as audible as could be expected. Mostly though, they grounded White's guitar explorations much more than in the White Stripes. In the end, such fickle things as sound quality didn't matter to the beer-fueled crowd -- the first encore of "Steady As She Goes," inspired old fashion fist-pumping and head-thrashing, which is probably what everyone really came to do.

Here is the Raconteurs set liist:

"Introduction Jam"
"Intimate Secretary"
"Level"
"Hands"
"Together"
"It Ain't Easy"
"Yellow Sun"
"5 on the 5"
"Store Bought Bones"
"Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)"
"Broken Boy Soldiers"
"Steady As She Goes"
"Headin' for the Texas Border"
"Blue Vein"

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

Print