ANOTHER UPDATE: Spencer sent me something that is quite frightening. Read and be…alarmed.
Austin City Limits Day 2 Tracy Bonham stepped in for Tegan and Sara. She even did a little bit of “Walking With A Ghost” which she said she had learned from itunes this morning. On another song she inserted “Holla Back Girl” at the end ( older folks around me wondered just what the hell she was saying) and attempted Led Zeppelin’s “Black Dog” (old folks around me rejoiced).
Continue reading the orignal post…
The White Stripes hit Keyspan Park at Coney Island for the first time tonight. This is what they played:
Black Math / Blue Orchid / Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground / Passive Manipulation (short) / Jolene (cover of Dolly Parton) / My Doorbell / Cannon (w/ John the Revelator) / Screwdriver / Passive Manipulation / The Nurse / Forever for Her / Death Letter / Hotel Yorba / Hardest Button to Button / I Think I Smell a Rat (Where Jack included “This shit is bananas b-a-n-a-n-a-s” line from Gwen Stefani‘s “Hollaback Girl” / Cover song (I think the lyrics were “I was walking with the ghost…”? Tegan and Sara?) / Ball and a Biscuit / Hello Operator / Union Forever ENCORE: I’m Lonely (But I Ain’t That Lonely Yet) / Red Rain / In the Cold, Cold Night / Let’s Shake Hands / We’re Going to Be Friends / Little Ghost / Ball and a Biscuit (extended) / Seven Nation Army / Boll Weevil
Once again the Stripes gave a great performance, although by my standards it seemed a bit tame. For some reason, I felt that Jack was being kind of reserved…there wasn’t much talking to the crowd, not many requests to get audience participation, and although there was some mild amount of jumping around, there wasn’t anything nearly as electrifying as some of the spasms I’ve seen in the past. Jack and Meg weren’t even really having intense stare downs…There was one moment during the show where Jack and Meg stopped playing for about 30 seconds and just had a staring contest. Jack seemed very polite, but I felt there was some fire lacking. It was as if he didn’t feel the need to win over the audience–and he probably didn’t. With all the screams of “I love you Jack! I love you Meg!” becoming standard at Stripes shows, it was clear that people would love anything that the band threw down.
They played a lot of new songs, but not with a lot of variation from how they are done on the album. Perhaps this is a result of the fact that they now can afford to cart around the actual equipment they recorded the album with–nothing more obvious an indicator than the full-sized black grand piano that sat on Jack’s side of the stage. But that still doesn’t answer the question as to why there were not really any tempo changes, few word changes, and not many splices of the new songs.
After thinking about it a little, I would say that tonight’s show was a prime example of how the Stripes have now become a truly popular band. The crowd feels different. (Well, people are still complaining they have to sit through Brendan Benson, so I guess it hasn’t changed that much.) In a way it felt like a “greatest hits” tour…They were delivering the songs that the audience wanted to hear, in the way they were familiar with hearing them. I must say, even when they did do older songs, like “Screwdriver,” I was surprised by the amount of younger kids who were singing along. A lot of people knew a lot of the songs…there was not a lot of “erm…hey, what’s this? Oooh! I really like it!” More “oooh! Hey this is that song I downloaded off the Internet!”
Don’t get me wrong, the Stripes gave a show worth going to, but it’s just kinda weird for me to see them play lots of songs from the more recent albums…I kinda miss them playing things like “I Fought Piranas” and people being caught off guard by things now and again. This is probably more a reflection of me getting to be a bitter old lady at the shows than anything the WS are doing. Well, every WS show is different, so who knows–maybe they’ll totally blow me away and make me cry tomorrow night. Second show is always better.
Ok, I’m getting a lot of feedback about this post seeming to be negative and snobby. Let me try to clarify. I know it’s going to sound like a lot of gobbly gook, so you must please excuse me because it’s very hard to explain:
I’m not mourning the fact that they are a popular band, I’m just saying the crowd dynamic is very different from what it has been in the past. Now people are going, not to hear some band that they kinda heard was good, but they are now going to a band whose music they already know very well. I’m just saying, I would have liked to have seen a lot more surprises, a lot more of “what the heck is that song?” moments. They’ve done so in the past with multiple cover songs…
Also in the past, people were “discovering” the band. It made the crowd feeling a lot more dynamic. There were lots of ppl who didn’t know any of the songs, and you could feel the tide turning from being a bunch of kids w/ their arms folded, to a bunch of kids who were bopping their heads to the music. As a big fan of the band you’re attending a concert for, it’s really kinda cool to see people make that progression from being apathetic to being totally enthusiastic.
The whole “the White Stripes are popular” thing is still relatively new…I don’t listen to the radio, so I’m not aware how popular they truly are. It’s always very surprising to me when I show up to a show and there are 30-year-old dudes wearing camouflage bandanas and gold chains around their neck, standing in the front row, jumping up and down. Or a buff dude in his late 20s with eyebrow piercings, standing by himself, literally freaking out–his body is shaking like he’s just been possessed by demons and he’s shouting “Oh my god, I can’t take it!”–and the band hasn’t even come out yet. It’s kinda surreal. I’m just. not. used. to. THAT. I don’t like it when I see older ladies with frizzy hair starting a fight with the security guards because she’s mad that they told her to get off some dude’s shoulders because it’s 1. unsafe and 2. obstructing everyone behind her. These parts of the concert cross-section are slightly alarming to me. If that makes me seem like a snob, I really don’t give a sh-t. Those people are frightening and make the concert experience a little weirder than expected.
I do however love seeing the eyes light up on the young kids who are dressed up like Jack and Meg circa The White Stripes when they recognize songs. That’s adorable.
I’m temporarily done trying to justify anything offensive I may have said in this show summary. I do want people to be excited about the WS. I just don’t want them to make my blood run cold in doing so. Also, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with asking to be challenged as an audience member. Like any relationship, you have to keep things fresh. Go ahead and draw your own conclusions.
Here are some highlights of the night:
The stage was decorated with all sorts of weird-looking nicknacks and red, white, and black-themed gear such as: wooden dolls, white plants, white seashell light fixtures at the front of the stage, two lightbulbs mounted on a block of wood that sat on Jack’s Steinway, red and black microphones, and Meg’s drumhead with the picture of the hand holding the white apple.
Meg wore a sexy see-through black lace top with a black bra and black leather pants. She wore her long black hair loose and it was slightly wavy. Jack wore a black hat, black shirt with white piping, black slacks, a red and white belt buckle (couldn’t make out what was on it), a red scarf, and red shoes. He sported a triangular chin goatee and thin mustache. His chin-length wavy black hair was parted in the middle.
Jack used his regular assortment of guitars, including the red and white electric AirLine with red and white striped Paul Frank strap, the acoustic guitar with it’s front face covered in brown paper, but there was one guitar I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. It was an acoustic guitar with a dark brown face and I thought I saw some green-bluish markings on it toward the end of the frets.
When playing “The Nurse,” Jack took his spot behind the red and white marimba at the back of the stage. He made a show of playing the percussion instrument with flair–taking time to swirl around the marimba sticks in both his hands. Meg took to the cherry-red tympany sitting to the left of her drum kit during “Passive Manipulation.”
Right before the encores, Jack came out on stage and demanded the crowd cheer louder for him then walked back offstage. Meg stood momentarily on stage, almost like she was asking Jack, “Um…are we really going to have to get off and then come back on again?” before also leaving the stage. Jack came back on when the crowd cheered loud enough for him.
After “Red Rain,” Jack starting making weird noises into the mic, to which Meg started smiling. Jack asked, “Meg, why are you laughing? What’s so funny?” then proceeded to lead into “In the Cold, Cold Night.” As she marched up to the microphone with her shoulders hung low and a slightly smug look on her face, Meg had the body language of a naughty child who was called to the blackboard to solve a complicated math problem. It almost seemed as if making her sing alone was some kind of punishment for her giggling.