Last Monday, the Miami Beach Fillmore was lit Lazaretto blue. As the curtains peeled back, a short-haired figure stood center stage. “Is that him?” whispered the fan beside me. We were thinking the same thing – where was the black-bobbed rock god we came to see? Then the figure played a familiar riff, and the band erupted into the White Stripes’ “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground.” The figure was, indeed, Jack White.
The crowd was a motley crew of Raconteurs fans, forty-somethings from the early White Stripes years and a few younger followers of Jack’s solo work. The show’s culmination of head-banging “Steady As She Goes,” blues-rock “Just One Drink,” and soft, acoustic “Blunderbuss” kept the unlikely mix roaring in unison throughout the two-hour set. Fiddle meshed with face-melting guitar in the tour’s live debut of “Lazaretto,” Jack White’s second studio album, as a tribute to both his Detroit roots and current Nashville residence. The show was a vibrant balance of 90’s nostalgia and riveting new music.
Throughout this performance which seemed to have everything, something was noticeably missing: cell phones. Jack urged the crowd to put down their devices and live in the moment – he made photos of the performance available for free on his website, jackwhiteiii.com, so that fans could have high-quality keepsakes without missing a beat. The audience cheered unanimously at his request. Instead of a sea of small blue lights, the pit was starkly black against the bright blue stage.
When the curtains closed at the end of Jack’s acoustic set, the screams and applause tapered off. Then a low chant crept up from all corners of the crowd, and soon every person in the room was bellowing the riff from the White Stripes’ “Seven Nation Army.” After a few dozen chants, the band tore off into a medley of White Stripes songs, all building up to the inevitable end. When the first chord of “Seven Nation Army” rang out, every fan sang the same guttural chant. Each word of the song was echoed back from the pitch black crowd. After a world-rocking mix of genres and generations, this perennial favorite was the perfect finale.