Saturday, September 17, 2005

The White Stripes: Rulers of the Universe
Last Wednesday I had the priviledge of going and seeing the White Stripes in concert at the Palace Theatre in Cleveland. Much could be said of the significance of any band playing a show in Cleveland, considering rock 'n roll's strong roots in Cleveland. But, none of that shall be said here.

The White Stripes are mid-tour in support for their new album, "Get Behind Me Satan" which was released in June. Following a summer of tour dates in South and Central America, I hope the Stripes are finding a warm welcome back to the States.
At Cleveland's show, the Greenhornes from Cincinnati opened for the White Stripes, with a set of old-school boogie rock reminiscent of the peak of the British Invasion. I found their performance tight, however their energy on stage failed to bring me into their performance, so my final impression is one of neutrality. The benefit of their recordings would be the great ensemble, without having to watch them sleep-walk through a set.

The White Stripes took the stage around 8:40 (only an hour after the concert began) and true to form, wasted no time in blazing through their first several songs without so much as a moment's rest. Jack White seemed intent on hitting most of their star repertoire, so the audience was treated to renditions of "Fell in Love with a Girl," "Don't Know What to Do With Myself," "Blue Orchid," "Seven Nation Army," and "Hotel Yorba."
As I comment continually, (as my friends will atest) it's so refreshing in today's musical medocrity to find musicians who have no fear of suprises, in fact, it would seem that the White Stripes relish unforseen mechanical glitches, pulled cords and malfunctioning microphones. If something unexpected happened on stage Jack and Meg were quick to find another way of making it work.
Jack White's live guitar skills was alll that I expected it to be. Whether it was the growling, sputtering yet perfectly rhythmic playing, or the screaming solos which punctuate quite regularly in their songs, Jack blended recognizable riffs with new, improvisations, making the audience's ear perk up whenever he began squealing away. Needless to say, as an amateur guitar junkie, it was a slice of paradise.

The stage dressing for the Stripe's at the theatre was really stunning. The Palace Theatre is part of Cleveland's Playhouse Square, one of the oldest theatre districts in America. The hall only sat 1800 approximately, so it was a very intimate environment for the Stripes to play. A backdrop complete with side wings all in their signature red, white and black depicted a scene from the Garden of Eden, with a large illuminated piece of forbidden fruit hanging on the back wall. All of the White Stripe's equipment, instruments and costumes are exclusively red, white and black, and between their hardware were numerous white spray-painted potted plants, lending a very lush paradisic feel to the stage.

Having been a White Stripes fan now for three years or so, this has been my first opportunity to see them live. It was a great thrill, and it has left me wanting more! Perhaps a trip to see them in Detroit?

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