Three hundred loyal Team Coco supporters were treated to a concert by Conan O’Brien and his Legally Prohibited touring band at Jack White’s Third Man Studios yesterday in Nashville. The surprise gig, which was announced by White in a mysterious video on the Third Man site, came just one day before O’Brien began his stint as emcee of the comedy tent at Bonnaroo in nearby Manchester. About 24 hours before the performance, more than a thousand Conan fans had already lined the Third Man building in the scorching Nashville heat, hoping to get in. Conan and Jack White tossed water bottles from the Third Man roof to the fans waiting below, the AP reports.
Once inside, fans were treated to an intimate performance highlighted by cover versions of Elvis Presley’s “Blue Moon” and “Poke Salad Annie,” the Stray Cats’ “Rock This Town,” the Band’s “The Weight” and a humorous version of Willie Nelson’s “On the Road Again” (“My old show again/I just can’t wait to get my old show again” — only 150 days until Conan’s TBS tenure begins.) O’Brien and his band also paid tribute to their host with a raucous rendition of the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.”
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Rolling Stone previously spoke to Conan about his special bond with White, which led the Stripes to stage a four-night residency on Late Night With Conan O’Brien in 2003 and briefly end the White Stripes’ still-ongoing hiatus with a performance of “We’re Going to Be Friends” on Conan’s final Late Night episode.
“The BEST part of the night was that the whole thing was being recorded on a reel to reel tape! Why reel to reel? Because tonight’s performance is going to be pressed into a record that people at the show could buy,” Conan’s Team Coco blog reports. “What that also meant for the show was that halfway through, Conan & the band had to stop for a few minutes so that the reel could be changed!” According to reports, the vinyl was already up for pre-ordering for the lucky 300 in attendance, but details regarding the sure-to-be-limited-edition release have not yet been posted on the Third Man Records site.
While Conan and his band took their performance seriously for the most part, O’Brien did have some fun when the band detoured off the set list to cover Radiohead’s “Creep,” a song he previously sound-checked during a Legally Prohibited tour stop in Eugene, Oregon. “This is the only way I can sing Thom Yorke songs, as a 19th-century chimney sweep with a top hat and a smudge on my cheek,” O’Brien said. Midway through the performance, Jack White jumped onstage to put a top hat on Conan’s head. White eventually came onstage, guitar in hand, for the evening’s last song, a cover of Eddie Cochran’s “Twenty Flight Rock.” “This is probably the most fun I’ve had in show business,” O’Brien said prior to the encore.
O’Brien and White — with the Dead Weather — will both perform to much larger audiences this weekend at the Bonnaroo Festival. For Rolling Stone‘s full ‘Roo coverage, click here:
And to read Max Weinberg’s most recent comments on whether he’ll be joining Conan on TBS this fall, check out Max Weinberg on His Future With Conan and Bruce.