White and his three-member band worked through an acoustic set at Fargo Theatre, playing songs from across his two-album solo career, a cover, a track from his stint with the Raconteurs and a handful of works from his time leading the White Stripes. Tidal exclusively hosted the veteran rocker’s set (with one replay straight after its completion), and it’ll be available on-demand at a later date.
White’s show was the last date in a brief tour of the “only five states left in the U.S. that he has yet to play” — Idaho, Alaska, South Dakota, Wyoming and North Dakota. Sunday night’s appearance also marked the completion of his touring efforts in support of 2014’s Lazaretto. Each gig on this, his first-ever acoustic trek, has been unannounced until the day-of-show, and he’s been joined on stage by steel-string guitarist Fats Kaplin, singer and fiddler Lillie Mae Rische and double-bass player Dominic Davis.
Everything about this unplugged effort had a look and vibe as though it’d dropped in from another time. Through the set, the stage was bathed in blue light (well, it’s a Tidal exclusive, right) and surrounded by vintage mics and instruments, and it’s performers dressed just right for the occasion. “Everything feels like we’re in a black and white movie now,” White, wearing a pin-stripped suit with a Brylcreem quiff, told the audience.
White and co. opened with a trilogy of “Just One Drink,” “Temporary Ground” and White Stripes track “Hotel Yorba.” The last of those got a huge, though delayed, rise from the crowd. With the songs stripped down into bluegrass arrangements, few managed to pick “Yorba” until its familiar chorus arrived.
The set featured some things old, including White Stripes efforts “Do,” “We’re Going to Be Friends,” “A Martyr for My Love for You,” “The Same Boy You’ve Always Known” and “You’ve Got Her in Your Pocket.” And something new, with a handful of tracks from last year’s Lazaretto, including “Temporary Ground,” “Just One Drink” and “Alone in My Home.”
Tidal promises high-quality audio, and with White’s performance the service delivered the goods. Though the same can’t be said for White’s comments in-between songs, which were were almost inaudible for those of us watching online.
After closing out the set with the appropriate “Goodnight, Irene,” Leadbelly’s 1930s blues folk standard, White urged those tuned-in to pay respect to music. “If you feel strongly about music and love music, tell people that. Tell people that music is sacred.” Music and its artists, he said, should be treated as though they were a blockbuster movie. “Music is not disposable and worthless, it shouldn’t be treated that way.”
The folks in the crowd tonight got a type of blockbuster. Not the Michael Bay stuff that blows your hair back and wrecks your hearing. Something a little more refined, classy. Think Howard Hawks, perhaps.
Jack White’s setlist at Fargo Theatre:
1. “Just One Drink”
2. “Temporary Ground”
3. “Hotel Yorba”
4. “Alone in My Home”
6. “Love Interruption”
7. “Inaccessible Mystery”
8. “We’re Going to Be Friends”
9.”A Martyr for My Love for You”
11. “Carolina Drama”
12. “The Same Boy You’ve Always Known”
13. “You’ve Got Her in Your Pocket”
14. “Goodnight, Irene”