Jack White needed little help from the audience to keep himself energized. He didn’t demand the crowd sing along to every song (only some), and he surely didn’t need audience members to post photos of him on Instagram during the show.
He didn’t feel the need to introduce himself or most of his songs.
The only thing he might have wanted: a clean shirt.
At Thursday night’s show at The Fillmore, White was in control. His energy while crushing riffs and jumping around the stage remained constant throughout the nearly two-hour performance, leaving the audience in a dance-driven hypnosis and his sea-blue button-down shirt dripping with sweat.
White stood front and center, with a fan lightly blowing his hair back the entire time and his acoustic and electric guitars interchangeably in hand at the beginning of his songs. In the middle of the stage was a small television that displayed the three vertical lines being used as the tour’s logo. Behind the TV were three huge lights that looked like cameras on 10-foot-tall stands and projections of waves. White used both the projection and the lights with every song, having them flash in every direction in a syncopated rhythm with his riffs.
This was to be expected from White: The intensity of the light show matched only the intensity of the man behind the guitar. His stage and set brought the audience into the depths of his mind – or at least into the mind of his tour, “Lazaretto.” The 38-year-old musician has proven that he’s weird and enjoys it in his music videos, through his lyrics and even in how he handles his personal affairs.
From the moment he arrived on the stage, the crowd was in the palm of his hand. White’s song selection and set order proved he knows how to manipulate their energy to keep them hyped, but only hyped enough to carry them to the next intense song without wearing them out.
He splashed in songs from The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and other past projects, but for the majority of the set, he was mostly Jack, playing only songs from his forthcoming album “Lazaretto” or his 2012 solo album “Blunderbuss.”
From the electric song “Lazaretto” to the acoustic jam “Temporary Ground” to the high-energy original set closer “Steady, As She Goes,” White knows how to keep the crowd in tune. He warmed the audience up to more head-pounding songs toward the end of his set, and left everyone demanding more.
That was no problem. White made the audience work for the encore – mostly because he need to change his shirt – and when he finally came out about five minutes later, he simply jammed. He played mostly older songs. He elongated classics such as The White Stripes’ “Icky Thump” and “Seven Nation Army” to keep the audience energized, closing with a calm cover of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight Irene.”
He might not have spoken to the audience much, but he proved he didn’t have to talk to us to interpret our mood; he just had to listen and feel.