Hats off to Jack and Meg
"You got a reaction; you got a reaction didn't you?"
And with one of the most vitriolic musical lines of the year, so began a gig that would run the fall gamut of emotions and feelings that would leave the band and Glasgow, spent after a 3 night run. Its common for Jack and Meg to start with an all-out guitar blast and 'Blue Orchid' had the crowd bellowing from the first minute.
With a set much changed from the opening Glasgow gig, the night was far more song based than Sundays bluesy guitar workouts and slightly ill tempered affair. This show featured Jack and Meg interacting almost telepathically and Jack's look being more akin to a vaudeville showman than one of the heroes of modern Rock.
After the opening heavy blizzard, recent single 'My Doorbell' ushered in a change of sound and it's the new material that has added an extra dimension to the bands live show. 'Get Behind Me Satan' is a fine record and a brave one for an existing act to attempt to broaden their musical palate but some of the songs sound half-complete. On this tour, the xylophones and marimbas sound as vital to the show as Jacks battered old guitars and bottlenecks. With 'Little Ghost' featuring a joyous ukulele romp and 'The Nurse' finally making sense of its nursery like rhythms but contrasting brutal drumming, perhaps the newer songs have developed on the road and became all the more stronger for it. If only Jack wasn't so keen to get an album recorded in a week or so, the last album may have been the bona fide classic that the current performances suggest.
However, where The White Stripes outshine most bands is in their cover material and this show was no exception. 'Dead Letter' is practically a tutorial in slide guitar and bluesy-stomp and for being a tall man with pale skin, Jack does a fine Marlena Dietrich on 'Look Me Over Closely' - two artists that most current bands would fail to recognise in a well lit room, let alone cover so passionately.
And the energy from these areas also enthused the more traditional White Stripes songs with 'Hotel Yorba' and 'I Fell In Love With A Girl' being transformed into very different performances than the record. The White Stripes have always been about evolution and the current set shows a duo that will not allow itself to become boring or predictable.
With any White Stripes review, it is impossible not to examine the interplay of Jack and Meg. Much has been said of the conflict of styles in Meg's simple drumming technique and Jack's worldly guitar skills but this is to seriously undervalue Meg White.
On stage, the two are like the matador and the bull. They both need to be in the same arena to function properly and whilst it seems as though they are fighting each other, they both realise they need the other to look good. At times it doesn't work but when it does, it's a chemistry that's unparallel and can probably only come from such a twisted, mysterious background that the two share.
So whilst Jack gets the praise, its plain to see that when Meg sits there, turned to one side with head tilted back and arms poised waiting to crash down and send Jack wailing again, she holds a vast amount of power and poise for one little rock drummer. She's more than a drummer, she's as much a part of the White Stripes myth as Jack or the red, white and black can ever be and sometimes her role in the wonder of this act is not recognised.
With an encore featuring a blistering 'The Hardest Button To Button', a crowd involved 'I Just Don't Know...' and the ever fun, ever cheerful 'Boll Weevil', there probably wasn't a dry back in the house as there was a feeling that everyone in the venue had given their all for the cause this evening. For a band with so many myths and smokescreens around them, its easy to forget how achingly brilliant The White Stripes really are.