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Gig Review: White lets music do the talking

IT takes a while for Jack White to say hello. Eventually, the 37-year-old guitarist acknowledges our existence with a joke. Something about not getting here sooner on account of some kids "down the street" who needed his help building a bonfire.

And wouldn't it be marvellous if it were true -- if Jack White had been spotted nearby with a gang of teenagers, dragging a wooden pallet to the nearest street corner or field? Imagine the video footage.

Speaking of which, a Jack White concert is a no-camera zone. He even sends someone out beforehand to give us a warning. Which is fine by me. Indeed, one of the world's most accomplished young guitarists has always had a bit of a thing for the past. Yep, Jack White likes to keep it old school, and to remind us of what a real rock show looks like. It helps that White continues to present himself as one of the coolest music makers alive.

Flanked by a stylish and enthusiastic backing band (all-female, mind), White wastes little time on chit-chat. Or even water breaks. Dude just wants to play, and for 90 minutes or so, the American musician (who, unlike many of his fans, decided against dressing up for Halloween) gives it everything he's got in what might be the loudest rock gig I've ever attended.

There are strips of the old (Steady, As She Goes), the older (Hotel Yorba, The Hardest Button To Button), and the Blunderbuss (Love Interruption is a real highlight).


Actually, it's all pretty solid. Sure, there are times when you begin to think that things might work a little better if the guy just slowed himself down.

Not that White is in a hurry (he knows himself that this is one of the good gigs). He's just got so much in that back pocket of his to share, so it's understandable if he seems a tad overexcited.

What's important is that Jack White didn't need to fill his stage with the usual special effects that you might normally expect from an arena gig. Instead, he allows for the tunes to work their magic.

And there's no better way to end a gig than with a phenomenal airing of the White Stripes' Seven Nation Army. "You've been wonderful, I've been Jack White," he says. You weren't too bad yourself, mate.