Jack White: The Lazaretto Tour


Jack White: The Lazaretto Tour
| published February 9, 2015 |

Music Review by Martin Boggess
Thursday Review contributor

The excitement for Jack White’s performance in Albuquerque, June 3 at University of New Mexico's Popejoy Hall, started well before the stage's light blue curtains swung open and revealed an unruly ruckus of loud, booming, blues-rock guitar. When the first guitar chord of his instrumental song, "High Ball Stepper," was played from his matching light blue Fender Telecaster, my excitement and happiness was almost palpable. The one thing that could have possibly made me happier at that moment was not being right next to the stage to see him up close.

Jack White, for those who don’t know, is far ahead of his time as an artist. Born in Detroit in 1975, White has been an innovator and guitar prodigy since age 15, when he joined his first band. At 24, he signed his first recording contract with the Sympathy for the Record Industry label. This record was for the most memorable of his various bands, The White Stripes. The White Stripes—which consisted primarily of Jack on guitar and his wife Meg on drums (on stage, they pretended to be siblings)—became one of the biggest rock bands in the world by the late 90s and early aught years.

In 2005, he and a group of other musical friends started a band by the name of The Raconteurs. This band had many hit singles, such as "Steady as She Goes" and "Salute Your Solution." In late 2008, Jack developed a very serious case of bronchitis, which led him to frequently lose his vocal power. Later on, because of this, he brought together yet another band, The Dead Weather. This band consisted of the bassist of The Raconteurs, the keyboardist of Queens of the Stone Age, of course Jack himself, and Alison Mosshart, who would fill in on vocals or often collaborate on vocals. From 2010 and on, he has focused mainly on his solo career, which he is also famous for. The greats have taken note: Just this week, Jack White performed at MusiCares in tribute to Bob Dylan, along with Neil Young and Bruce Springsteen.

Getting into the show wasn't easy. Lines wrapped around the campus in the arm Albuquerque night as Popejoy Hall began filling at 5:30 p.m., even though the doors would open at 7:30 p.m. I was, to my surprise, first in line to buy some not-so-cheap-but-worth-every-penny band merch. I bought a comfortable sweatshirt that displays a blue moth with the band logo on it and a set of stickers to put on the case of my own guitar. Although I had to sacrifice my place in the ticket line for my place in the band merchandise line, I had arrived early so I did not have to wait all that much longer to scan my ticket for entrance.

Although, like I said, getting in wasn’t easy, the hours of waiting were worth every second of his electric performance. The band that opened up for him was an LA-based group. They were a strange mix of a mariachi quartet and a jam band. Lead singer Bardo Martinez switched between Spanish and English lyrics throughout songs that sounded like a fitting soundtrack to a haunted Mexican food restaurant. Great energy, but I think it only made the sold-out crowd more restless. Perhaps that was the point. The entire show was obviously themed around the bright blue color, as stated before, and personally, I loved it. Another main theme of the show was the Roman numeral III. I figured it was to honor his nom de guerre.

The tour itself is visiting in nearly every major city in America, from New Orleans to Miami to Honolulu and nearly everywhere in between. If only I had enough money to go see every single show! Not only to see Jack White, but c’mon, it’s Miami and Honolulu! So, in short, I would recommend Jack White’s Lazaretto performance to everybody. Whether you like rock music or not, Jack White will make you smile and nod your head to the beat with his radiating animal magnetism, humble voice, or his way to twist any song into his own, original sound.

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