The White Stripes are still gone. I realize I'm nearly two months late to the mournfest--an oxymoron, I guess, unless you think of it like a Second Line or an Irish wake... which I do. Anyway, I would have eulogized sooner were it not for my exams.
A music critic I am not. I'm merely a fan who considered them refreshing, relevant and raw. So I'll just say a few things. One, I need to choose a new favorite band (see future posts on the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and TV on the Radio). Despite what various killjoys might say, the White Stripes were the best band I have ever seen live. U2 might have been the best show I've seen, but it was more of a performance. The White Stripes rocked. In Madison Square Garden. With two people... which I sometimes forgot. Maura and I went, and it must have left quite an impression, because I was sketching my recollection of it the next day (and still talking about it now). The sets were exceedingly simple, but thoroughly effective. Red everything (of course)--stage, backdrop, stairs, clothing... with hints of white on the guitars and drums. Lighting was spare--at various times Jack and Meg were hit with spots from the front of the stage, which cast enormous black silhouettes onto the red backdrop. On a couple songs, a disco ball was employed to fling red and white specks of light around the stadium. I loved it.
Jack and Meg had such a wonderful rapport, verging on telepathy. Everything they played seemed to be a natural extension of their selves and their extraordinarily long (by rock 'n roll standards) and intimate relationship. Even when they were off, they were on. And they rocked. Particularly on ''Hotel Yorba'' (not coincidentally my favorite White Stripes song).
But the highlight of that concert just might have been their indelible take on an already legendary song. This recording is from a performance at Blackpool Lights. Enjoy.