News man and communications professional
To say expectations were high for Jack White’s Orange stage performance would be an understatement. The last of the big-name headliners that Roskilde announced for this year’s line-up, White was expected to deliver both star power and good old fashioned rock ‘n’ roll at Roskilde’s most revered stage.
The good news is that White, largely, delivered. The bad news is that Roskilde failed to do its part, as the sound throughout the concert was all too low.
Backed by the all-female band The Peacocks - all of whom were wearing white, in deference to White’s notorious control over the image and appearances of his projects - the performance started with a rendition of The White Stripes’ ‘Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground’.
While the following trio of songs off of White’s impressive solo debut Blunderbuss - ‘Missing Pieces’, ‘Sixteen Saltines’ and ‘Love Interruption’ - were perfectly serviceable performances, parts of Orange’s scrawling audience were too busy complaining about the low sound that made it hard to hear White’s performance over the drunken conversations of some of those in the audience.
Things bounced back a bit with impassioned performances of the Stripes’ ‘Hotel Yorba’ and The Raconteurs’ ‘Top Yourself’, as White lived up to his reputation as one of the best guitarists and frontmen in rock ‘n’ roll today.
White then took to the piano for ‘I Guess I Should Go to Sleep’ and ‘Take Me with You When You Go’, before roaring back to life in the latter’s second half and a romp through ‘Slowly Turning into You’.
It wasn’t until a revamped version of ‘Steady as She Goes’ that White’s chemistry with The Peacocks – particularly back-up vocalist Ruby Amanfu - really shown through. While White had been utilising two completely different backing bands - the all-female Peacocks and the all-male Los Buzzardos - at previous shows, Danish fans only got a chance to witness the feminine half. Although they delivered a rollicking and rocking performance, many were undoubtedly left disappointed that both bands had not made the trip to Roskilde.
But regardless of who’s backing him, White is clearly the main attraction. So pale that he drew some comparisons to Beetlejuice, White showed why he has been heralded as the saviour of guitar-driven rock by running through highlights from Blunderbuss, his White Stripes catalogue and select tunes from his work in The Dead Weather and The Raconteurs. The performance of ‘Carolina Drama’, the closing track off of The Raconteurs’s second album Consolers of the Lonely, was a somewhat unexpected highlight of the night.
What was fully expected, from the crowd’s opening chants while waiting for the show to start, was a performance of ‘Seven Nation Army’. It’s hard to imagine that White, writing about “going to Wichita/far from this opera for evermore”, ever envisioned this song being such a massive presence at football stadiums throughout Europe, but that is what it has become on this side of the pond.
And while its opening riff lends itself perfectly to a stadium setting, the same couldn’t fully be said for the performance as a whole. It’s a shame that White and The Peacocks weren’t given the full volume that they needed for their Orange set to fully break through. As it was, Jack White and co did their part by delivering the goods, but the set ultimately fell a bit flat.
Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
I Guess I Should Go to Sleep
Take Me with You When You Go
Slowly Turning Into You
Steady As She Goes
Blue Blood Blues
Weep Themselves to Sleep
We're Going to be Friends
Ball and Biscuit
Freedom at 21
You're Pretty Good Looking (For a Girl)
Seven Nation Army
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