Jack White plays for his fans.
Striding onto the Yukon Arts Centre stage Monday night, White and “his big sister Meg,” didn’t bother with small talk.
Hard-hitting, loud and raw, they busted into Black Math, off Elephant.
There was no break for applause, no introductions and no, “Hello Whitehorse.”
The White Stripes screamed into the next song, Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground, as a standing arts centre crowd rushed the stage.
Pushing 120 decibels, the Stripes weren’t catering to curious middle-aged couples hoping for a pleasant evening on the town.
Reeling around wrapped in his white patch cord, Jack played with abandon, his screeching riffs punctuated by Meg’s flippant beats.
With one hand on her hip, she scolded Jack with symbol crashes while he wooed her across the kit.
Meg was perched stage right, her red and white drums facing Jack.
Moving between a central mike and one by Meg’s kit, he played the stage, wandering over to a couple retro keyboards to add heavy-hanging chords to some of the songs.
It wasn’t your typical Whitehorse show.
In black suits, red ties and fedoras, House of Blues reps scurried around the stage picking up Jack’s mess.
Mikes toppled over and guitars were left against the keyboards, buzzing with feedback.
It was rock ‘n’ roll, and the arts centre audience liked it.
Jack asked the screaming crowd if he could play a little longer.
“Cause I don’t know when we’re going to come back here,” he said.
Earlier that day, the Stripes wandered around the city trailed by a documentary film crew.
They duo heard that tickets went fast (sold out in 12 minutes, in fact).
So, Jack made a few calls, scouted out a venue and rented a P.A. to give more locals a taste of their show.
It came together fast.
But word of mouth was faster.
By 4:30 p.m., Lepage Park started filling up.
Half an hour later, the guys in the black suits filed through the crowd carrying a telltale red mike candy caned by a white patch cord.
A red blanket was laid out for Meg, with some sparkly red bongo drums, black maracas and a white tambourine.
As the hip roadies hauled out a red and white Fender-Twin amp and sound-checked, the rumour snapped into reality.
The park was packed.
Jack and Meg wove through the crowd, relaxed and smiling.
Picking up a white and red acoustic guitar, with a sparkly pick guard, Jack jumped into the first song, while Meg looked up at him from her blanket, shaking the beat.
With his wavy voice and heavy chords, Jack belted out five tunes.
It was intimate, friendly and simple, revealing the breadth of Jack’s singing and the fullness of his guitar.
With more effects, a full kit and keyboards, the evening show was markedly different.
However, when Meg took centre stage to sing In the Cold, Cold Night, with Jack lurching behind her on guitar, they brought the afternoon’s intimacy to the Arts Centre.
The encore, which lasted as long as an average set, wrapped up with Seven Nation Army blaring out of Jack’s blown amp.
Holding hands, the Stripes left the stage waving an enourmous Yukon flag.
Ears humming, a dazed audience filed out of the theatre, overwhelmed by Jack’s breakneck energy.
It wasn’t a typical Yukon show.
And the city’s better for it.