Thursday, May 12, 2005

El Blanco Stripe-O's Warm up for 2005 in Mex City


"My name is Jack White, and this is my big sister, Meg," a black-clad Jack told the crowd, still upholding White Stripes lore that the pair are siblings (the truth was uncovered long ago that they are actually ex-spouses). "This is the first show we've played in a very long time."

While hits like "Fell in Love With a Girl" and "Seven Nation Army" naturally drew the strongest reactions, the new material easily secured the most riveting moments of the night. Early on came "Blue Orchid" (the first single), which began with Meg, sporting a red flower in her hair, gyrating rather salaciously as she pummeled her kick drum. The moment the song shifted into full gear, with Jack joining her on guitar, was a prime example of the appeal of the White Stripes live — two people making all that noise with just one drum set and one guitar. While proving that less is more — or, as they say in Mexico, "menos es mejor que más" — they showed just how massive less can be.

Other Satan songs managed to capture the crowd with their ability to create suspense and keep the crowd guessing. The odd little ditty "My Doorbell" featured Jack at the keyboards, broodingly singing, "When you gonna ring it? When you gonna ring it?" to the point that his agitated piano chords started sounding like Amadeus after he went nuts. Later, the temperamental lullaby "The Nurse," featuring Jack rocking the marimba, moved almost mazelike as it built and released tension, finally exploding into a wild and ruthless jam. As Meg attacked her kit like a cold-blooded killer, Jack continued to try and reassure, promising, "I'm never gonna let you down."

But the sweetness didn't always turn sour. "Little Ghost," obviously inspired by Jack's recent work with country great Loretta Lynn, featured the frontman on mandolin and Meg joining in on the chorus. The tune led nicely into White Blood Cells' "We're Going to Be Friends," which saw Jack looking amused — and maybe even touched — when the crowd began to gently clap along.

When encore time came, "I'm Lonely (But I Ain't That Lonely Yet)," off Satan, proved charming, with Jack crooning about missing his mama. But even more endearing was the final number of the night, the blues classic "The Boll Weevil Song," which has become a favorite closer for the Stripes.


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