I called my friend Chas as soon as I heard the news.
“Dude!” I said, excitedly. “Dude!”
“Hey Erik, how’s it going?” he replied.
He failed to grasp the gravity of the situation.
I asked if he knew what was happening at the park.
“No,” he said.
I dropped the bombshell.
The White Stripes were playing a surprise concert. For free.
“Wow,” he said.
Wow. That’s it. That’s all the guy could muster.
The White Stripes were playing a free concert in the park.
Friend or no friend, I was shocked. The guy didn’t seem to get it.
Still, he promised he’d show, so I hung up and proceeded to the concert.
People were already crowding around the stage at Lepage Park when I got there.
I looked for Chas, but I couldn’t spot him, so I stood with my family.
My dad dodged out of work early to see the show. Early is 5 p.m. — they work ‘em to the bone at the Yukon News.
My aunt Jelena was there too.
Even my grandmother closed down her shop for the day to see the White Stripes.
It was a touching scene — my aunt, my dad, my grandmother and I watching a rock concert together.
All that was left to do was wait. So we waited.
We waited and waited as the crowd gathered.
It seemed like a really long time, although it was only about 45 minutes.
The park was packed 10 people deep — more in some places.
People climbed up into trees and on top of roofs to catch sight of the Detroit duo.
We were treated to a little warm-up act as someone’s son climbed onto the stage, danced and jumped around to raucous cheers and applause.
Two roadies decked out in bowler hats and red ties showed up in a van to set up some equipment.
“This is the White Stripe,” said Dad, adding it was a father and son duo playing Whitehorse.
“Did you think I said the White Stripes earlier?” he deadpanned.
“Not funny,” I replied. I was getting anxious.
Only 30 minutes had passed, but still — we’re waiting for the White Stripes!
I ignored Dad’s jokes. I’m 16, it comes naturally.
Finally, Jack and Meg White showed up and started playing.
I glanced around for Chas, but the crowd had reached a point where even if he were there, I wouldn’t have seen him.
I focused on the mind-blowing show.
Jack kicked things off by fanning the crowd’s ego.
He told us how nice the people of Whitehorse were and how sorry he was that not many people could get tickets to the real show.
Earlier, my aunt and I had argued about whether the pair was ex-husband and wife, or brother and sister.
“This is my big sister Meg,” said Jack, prompting a smug look from my aunt.
“It’s a marketing ploy,” I said. “They’re divorced.”
She still doesn’t believe me. It doesn’t matter — I’m right.
The pair rolled through five amazing songs, though they held back their mammoth hit Seven Nation Army for the paying crowd.
They still rocked.
When they dove into We Are Going To Be Friends, my emotion could only be described as “glee.”
I don’t use the word often. I use it now to highlight The White Stripes and all their glory.
The show’s only failure was the lack of a drum kit for Meg, who was stuck playing a tambourine and some maracas.
Still, considering the entire show was cobbled together in a few hours, it’s understandable.
After a solid 30-minute set, the pair bowed, and moved through the crowd for their arts centre gig to wild applause and whistling.
I could really feel the energy; it was like a nuclear bomb — a nuclear bomb … of rock!
It was a wonderful experience. I was still shaking on the way home.
I phoned Chas as soon as I arrived.
“Dude, where the hell were you?” I asked.
I never told him which park.