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Concert Review: Jack White

Sony Centre, Toronto -- Oct. 3, 2012
By JASON MacNEIL, Special To QMI Agency




The reason Jack White spent Wednesday night strutting around the stage is because he must be proud of his peacocks.

The guitarist, who released his solo album Blunderbuss earlier this year, had a bit of a blunderfuss last week in New York City when he abruptly stopped the show halfway in. But during the first of a two-night, sold-out stand at Toronto's Sony Centre for the Performing Arts, White and his female sextet dubbed The Peacocks showed just what they could do.

And oh my it was a lot.

The 21-song, 105-minute set concluded with the gentle ballad Goodnight, Irene yet it was the groove and almost eerie synergy White and his band consistently found throughout his solo material as well as a healthy batch of White Stripes and The Raconteurs songs. Even more remarkable given the fact they've basically have had half the stage time as White is touring with two different backing bands (a male outfit called Los Buzzardos is most likely Thursday's band).

Wearing a white t-shirt and black jacket, White and his deft damsels opened with the Southern country-seasoned Missing Pieces before the edgier Sixteen Saltines upped the ante. The musician also acted as conductor, giving subtle hand signals as to when drummer Carla Azar or “five feet of power” fiddler Lillie Mae Rische were to shine.

White, clearly in a good mood and later describing himself as a “young lad in Mississauga,” got the best reactions for the White Stripes material beginning with Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground which had him at an upright piano with his back to the group. But the Blunderbuss biggies held their own, especially the sweet Love Interruption which featured White and backing vocalist Ruby Amanfu briefly singing off microphone.


Noting how Toronto and Canada appreciated country music, White and crew tore through Hotel Yorba, a foot-stomping rockabilly hoedown that soared. Meanwhile Hello Operator and I Cut Like A Buffalo both found their groove early on. And when an upright bass, fiddle and pedal steel guitar can find a groove that rocks, you've definitely tapped into something.

Halfway through the set White slowed things down with I Guess I Should Go To Sleep but had some fun with the crowd who ignored White's cue. “Hold on now,” White said. “This is like a tango, one person leads.” After another attempt which didn't quite satisfy him White said, “let's make a deal, I'll cue you” on when to chime in.

With the homestretch in sight, White nailed Blue Blood Blues and especially Ball And Biscuit with its bluesy feel. This was also where Azar once again earned her keep with a series of ridiculous fills.

The only slight miscue might have been Steady, As She Goes which seemed a bit forced. Thankfully Seven Nation Army and the jaunty Broken Boy Soldier quickly atoned for that.

Overall White knows what works incredibly well, and Thursday night Los Buzzardos have their work cut out for them.

Setlist

Missing Pieces

Sixteen Saltines

Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground

Love Interruption

Hotel Yorba

Top Yourself

Weep Themselves To Sleep

Cannon/John The Revelator

Hello Operator

I Cut Like A Buffalo

I Guess I Should Go To Sleep

Blunderbuss

We're Going To Be Friends

Blue Blood Blues

I'm Slowly Turning Into You

Ball And Biscuit

Freedom At 21

Steady, As She Goes

Broken Boy Soldier

Seven Nation Army

Goodnight, Irene

 


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