@ZackTeibloom This is difficult for me to say, but this was not Jack White’s best weekend in Austin. The dreaded “this was very very good, but not great” review. On paper, the setlist was a cream dream. Tons of White Stripes and just the right amount of variation between the two night’s sets. An encore that was more of a second set than an encore, chock-full of crowd favorites. And Jack was Jack. Explosive, jumping all over the place and going from musician to musician to play off them. So, why wasn’t it great? I think Jack pushed the band past the point where all of them were comfortable and I wanted to say that made it playful, but that’s just a nicer way of saying it got loose. And there’s nothing wrong with looseness, per se. It’s cool to hear Jack get so loose with “Steady as She Goes” that he’s barely even playing the actual riff of the song for stretches. The band didn’t seem as thrilled. Daru Jones was a monster on the drums. He can more than keep up and his kit is closer to the front of the stage so he and Jack can really play off each other. Aside from Daru, I don’t think this is the best band for Jack to tour with. I found Lillie Mae especially to be entirely boring and her singing and lack of energy made me long for Ruby to be back on fiddle and singing back-up. Everyone else was fine, but it didn’t quite come together.
What made the first solo tour so great was hearing White Stripes and Raconteurs songs re-worked with a tight Nashville sound. This is kind of in between. It’s the looseness and improv of The White Stripes, but instead of having steady, reliable Meg who he always had incredible chemistry with, he’s playing with a mish-mosh of two bands who haven’t really found their stride and their loose take on the Nashville sound doesn’t quite work. OK, that’s too far. It works. It’s still a damn good concert. It’s just not peak Jack like last tour was. And I can’t pin it all on the band. Jack was great, but rarely transcendent. His solos didn’t reach that next level. He was engaged, but not that losing control, out-of-body place he can get to when he’s really on. A great Saturday night crowd made for a superb opening night, but a few bad apples made Sunday noticeably worse and left a bit of a bad taste in mouths of fans who may not see Jack for a long time, if we’re to believe his closing sentiments.