The night after his puzzling 55-minute show at New York’s Radio City Music Hall, Jack White returned to the same venue and blasted through 21 songs in about 85 minutes, barely speaking a word to the crowd.
On Saturday, White played 12 songs with his all-male band before leaving the stage with no encore. “Jesus Christ, is this an NPR convention?” White said at one point. After he left, thousands stayed in their seats for several minutes, chanting “Seven Nation Army” before erupting in boos when the curtain went down. The Observer reported that White was upset with the venue’s sound, and also noted that White had several “angry exchanges” with a shirtless fan in the front row.
White has yet to make a statement on the incident, but he seemed in better spirits last night. Around 9:10 p.m., he emerged with his all-female band, the Peacocks, beginning with new cut “Missing Pieces” and gesturing for the sound crew to turn up his microphone several times. He seemed satisfied by the fourth song, “Hotel Yorba,” a huge crowd singalong, then performed an epic, extended acoustic version of the Raconteurs’ “Top Yourself” before moving into his own variation on “Maggie’s Farm: “I ain’t gonna work on Penny’s farm no more/No I ain’t gonna work Penny’s farm no more/Well she does her best to look like me/But all she does is sit around and watch TV.” From there, he played a crushing version of the White Stripes’ “Cannon/John the Revelator” and “Screwdriver.”
White regularly paced around the stage between songs deciding which instrument he’d pick up, giving the show the element of danger he’s said he strives for, and the crowd consistently roared heavily, determined to keep him onstage. He played a new, violin-heavy version of “We’re Going to Be Friends” as everyone clapped along, then began the riff “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” on the piano before immediately switching to a full version of James Booker’s R&B deep cut, “Papa Was a Rascal”: “There was a sweet white woman/Down in Savannah, GA/She made love to my daddy/In front the KKK.” White then switched back to “Dead Leaves,” this time playing the song’s bone-crushing riff on guitar. “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” was bouncy and playful, full of soul.
When White left the stage after “Ball and Biscuit” – the same song he ended with the night before – the crowd erupted in a deafening roar, determined to hear more. He emerged for a four-song encore that included heavy takes on “Sixteen Saltines” and “Seven Nation Army” before leading an acoustic singalong with “Goodnight, Irene.”