Jack White, the rock virtuoso known for his participation in more bands than a hand can hold —The Raconteurs, The White Stripes and The Dead Weather, to name a few—released his highly anticipated debut solo album Blunderbuss back in April. Last night, his tour supporting this critically acclaimed record brought him to Charlottesville’s nTelos Wireless Pavilion for a blues-rocking good time.
Before White made his appearance, opener Shovels and Rope, the Charleston, SC duo consisting of Michael Trent and Cary Ann Hearst, roused the crowd with a slew of folksy rock songs with plenty of southern twang. After their lively 40-minute set and a stricture against photography and videography delivered by one of White’s stagehands, the man of the hour walked onstage to enthusiastic applause.
Drenched in the soft blues and whites of the stage lights, and backed by a charismatic five-piece band, Jack White opened by launching into “Sixteen Saltines,” a cut and recent single off of Blunderbuss. This set the tone for the next hour and a half, during which White delivered an impressively energetic performance.
White paused only for minimal talking, opting to maintain the energy as he played songs from his solo effort alongside an array of those originally performed by his other projects, including a particularly electrifying performance of The Raconteurs’ hit “Steady, As She Goes.” Jack’s instrumental and vocal talents proved over and over the reason for his ubiquitous presence in rock music, and the audience’s enthusiasm only grew as the set continued.
The singer frequently encouraged audience participation, and surefire sing-along tunes like “I Guess I Should Go to Sleep” and “Hip (Eponymous) Poor Boy” guaranteed that everyone joined in. As he made his exit following the encore, White made amends for not having recently made a trip to Virginia, asserting that he would no longer remain such a stranger to the state. One certainly hopes he means it. —Matthew Cawthon