Jack White fans of the world rejoice! After a couple of years of pretending to be the unassuming fourth member of the oh-so-humble Raconteurs, White is once again shamelessly blowing socks off.
Two years ago, White and his new all-male, not-Meg band stopped by Boston to promote their solid first album, Broken Boy Soldiers. The music was good back then, but White was restrained, mysteriously so; he didn’t hog the stage or the mic and those blistering solos of his were rare.
But last night the band played Boston again, and Jack was back to his old self. Under the white dome of the Bank of America Pavilion, he strutted, screeched, and sang about something that sounded a lot like sex in “Top Yourself” from the band’s second album, Consoling the Lonely, released March 25.
And the crowd loved it. When the band walked onstage, the audience cheered; when Jack sang his first line, it roared.
Since last tour, the rest of the Racs seem to have acknowledged the elephant-rock-god in the room. Perhaps for that very reason, the band played better than ever. Brenden Benson tried gallantly to keep up with Jack’s erratic and spontaneous soloing, singing his heart out all the while. Little Jack Lawrence played dirty bass and swayed like a beanpole. And Patrick Keeler was flawless behind a drum set emblazoned, inexplicably, with his initials set inside a map of Antarctica.
The boys had the audience on their feet through a thirteen-song set and a four-song encore. There was “Old Enough,” a foot-stomper featuring fiddle. Jack played piano in “You Don’t Understand,” and the band rocked the single “Salute your Solution” to tumultuous approval from the audience. A few from the first album showed up, including the ever-sexy “Level” and a psychedelic version of “Store Bought Bones.”
The night ended, as Jack White productions will, with an epic tale about drunks, rednecks, and a priest being murdered (or something) in “Carolina Drama” from Consoling. Jack was alone in a spotlight, playing an acoustic, and just for a moment, it was like the Raconteurs never even happened. But then the lights came up on the whole band, they started to play hard with Jack, and reminded us that he isn’t the only guy who can make a crowd go wild.
But it sure is good to have him back.