NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — His latest project, Blunderbuss, is Jack White’s first effort with only his name on it.
It is also, at its core, a divorce album. But doing a straight ahead Blood on the Tracks or Here, My Dear tour would feel too limited for a performer like White. Instead, on Monday night in New York City, he indulged in showing off several of areas of influence at Roseland Ballroom which appeared full to capacity.
White commanded a large crowd for a humid, rainy Monday New York night.
The tour so far has seen him rotate between an all-male and all-female line up, with the audience never knowing which they’ll get.
Monday night, New Yorkers got his all-male band to accompany both sets. After opening band the Alabama Shakes left the stage, White and his backing band took to it, opening with his White Stripes classic “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.” It was followed quickly by “Sixteen Saltines.” This would not simply be the rocking part of the set. It would be the part where White attempted to scorch the earth with the rock star persona most of his fans came expecting.
He worked hard to be in control of this project, making himself the only presence that mattered on stage, via Zeppelin-esque guitar play and his signature vocal yelps, for much of the set.
White has become an artist who, for better or worse, offers a challenge to his own fans.
If you like his music, he wants you to prove how much. White led an eclectic setlist, throwing in tracks from the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather to fill out holes and please longtime fans. But he barley spoke to the audience, only pausing occasionally between moments of rock. It’s been a long time since White has been intimate with his audience and the subject matter of his latest work doesn’t seem to be bridging the distance.