Jack White at the Atlantic Union Bank Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA on April 23, 2022 | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Tuesday, July 5th, 2022  

Jack White

Jack White at the Atlantic Union Bank Pavilion, Portsmouth, VA on April 23, 2022,

May 16, 2022 Photography by David James Swanson
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With rock artists making up a minority of major acts presently on the road playing larger venues, Jack White arrived in Portsmouth as a rock & roll torchbearer. He was on the tip of a major roll with the high-charting release of his fourth solo album, Fear of the Dawn, and his recent surprise onstage wedding. And when curtains were raised to White tearing through “Taking Me Back,” the Portsmouth crowd rose and launched with him.

With his electric-blue hair, White led a band that was amply capable of delivering, with drums, keyboards, and a bassist that switched between electric and stand-up bass. Along with side-stage screens that gave a basic closeup of the action, the atmospheric stage backdrop provided shifting images, all cast in the Dawn album’s shade of blue, from a drifting cosmos to a huge moon with White’s performing face at its center.

The audience was treated to nearly half of Fear of the Dawn, with a manic “What’s the Trick?” serving as one highlight. Along with other solo material, plus a blast through Little Willie John’s “I’m Shakin’,” there was a healthy sampling of White Stripes material, and WS favorites like “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” and a rollicking “Hotel Yorba” were received like classic-rock anthems. Looking toward White’s other projects, the encore boosted the crowd even further with The Raconteurs’ “Steady, As She Goes” and The Dead Weather’s “I Cut Like a Buffalo” before White and his band brought down the house with The White Stripes’ classic “Seven Nation Army.”

The opening band, Starcrawler rolled onstage to start the evening with ’70s-style guitars blazing and didn’t let up. Singer Arrow de Wilde, a flailing, gyrating cross between young, female versions of Iggy Pop and Vince Neil, unleashed a howl that may well have stunned fish and fishermen in the nearby harbor. The Los Angeles quintet tore a set of strong tunes that included a cover of Ramones’ “Pet Sematary” and even included some pedal steel guitar, displaying an assurance that might have given other headliners pause in adding Starcrawler to their bill. Jack White apparently had no such concerns.

Show policy saw that all cell phones had to be locked in pouches that were issued at the gate, ensuring that White would look out onto only rows of fans and not a sea of upraised cell phones filming favorite songs in their neighbors’ faces. If a few were disappointed not to have held their phone aloft for “Seven Nation Army,” having a distinct memory of its performance with a clear view was a worthy reward for their abstinence.


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