Inside the gold-leafed hall of Boston’s Opera House; T-shirt clad teenagers and well dressed men and women slightly, later in life, sit down for a show. Brandon Benson plays melodic, slightly simplistic, rock to calm the intoxicated nerves. A bird’s eye view reveals a small stage playing to a crowd of ghosts; all eager to see the main act. All $40 of it: The White Stripes
The stage crew moves in on the stage; removes covers to reveal red and white creations to the audience. Instruments for creating White Stripes melodies, all painted with the signature colours.
Two shadows take the stage. The Opera house comes to a roar. The spotlight explodes out of the darkness to reveal Jack White: black coat, black vest, black hat, black pants, red guitar. He stands at attention behind a microphone no more than 4 feet away from his ex-wife. She begins to bang out primal rhythms on the drums. There is an instant battle between Jack’s melodic piercing guitar and Meg’s splashy chaotic, yet absolute drumming. The audience is captivated. The beat picks up. The Opera House comes to life. There is a beauty in the air; real enough to match the mouldings and murals that cover the enormous hall.
Songs like “My Doorbell” and “Little Ghost” reveal the essence of The White Stripes’ success: their raw creativity. A symphony of two is born out of two souls and a handful of instruments. Straying from the typical guitar Jack rips into a Xylophone, Grand Piano and at least five different guitars. Meg trades in her Drum set for Timpanis and Bongos on some songs. The variety only highlights the band’s blues/folk tendencies.
Jack and Meg exit the stage: a cliché encore is bound to follow. Not this band. They return for a seven song second Act to end the night. Jack showcases his mechanical precision with his rapid fire strumming. The white chord that connects him to his amp contrasts the red stage, resembling an iPod commercial. The red and white uniform of dancing fans fills the aisles. A forceful display of 7 nation army brings the crowd to a climax. Then the show winds down to a close with a group sing along, “He’s lookin’ for a home” roars out of every mouth in the packed House. The pair comes together at centre stage. They hold hands; bow and exit. The night is over.
Crowds push through the luxurious Opera House entrance, ignoring the over-priced merch’ table, and into the Boston Streets. An hour and a half of creative musical showmanship to contemplate on the T-rides home.