After a nearly two-year hiatus, Jack and Meg White reunited at Nashville’s Cannery Ballroom May 18th for an intimate surprise gig. The sold-out show — which packed the 1,000-seat venue — was a practice run before the start of the Stripes’ summer tour. Donning classic White Stripes garb — Jack in a black T-shirt and red pants, Meg sporting a black and white polka dot dress — the duo delved into a flawless hour-and-a-half set without missing a step, making it all the more difficult to believe they hadn’t performed together publicly since December of 2005.
“How is my new hometown doing?” White asked the crowd — which included fellow Raconteurs Jack Lawrence and Brendan Benson and the Rapture’s Luke Jenner — before launching into an appropriately Southern-fried cover of Hank Locklin’s “Tennessee Border.” Backlit by eerie red lighting, the rockers then mounted a set of tracks that spanned their eight-year career. They screeched and shook through early tracks “Do,” “Apple Blossom” and “Hotel Yorba,” revisited crowd pleasers like “We Are Going To Be Friends” and “Jolene,” and then played the new single, “Icky Thump.”
When it was all over, the electrified (and joyfully drunken) crowd stomped its approval, coaxing Jack and Meg back onstage for a three-song encore that sealed the show’s status as one for the history books. Their fist-pumping, hair-shaking take on “Seven Nation Army” lured even the most buttoned up Nashvillians in the room onto the floor to let loose.
Just before exiting the stage for the last time, Jack addressed his hometown crowd once again: “Thanks to all of you for coming to see us on short notice.” We wouldn’t have missed it for the world, Jack.