Top of his game from GaryW66, 08/07/14
Jack White. Hammersmith Odeon 3rd July 2014. So after a four week gap between gigs we are back in the swing of things at the hallowed venue, Hammersmith Odeon. It was the scene of my first ever gig, Whitesnake in 1981 and indeed 18 of next 25 gigs I ever went to were here. It may have changed its name many times in the past 30 years but it will still be Hammy O to me and my favourite venue.
This year’s moniker is the Eventim Apollo and it welcomes Mr Jack White. I have seen Jack in many of his guises, The White Stripes, The Raconteurs and solo and he has never failed to deliver so expectations were high. It’s hot and sweaty outside but that feels positively balmy compared to the heat generated by the 5000 souls inside.
There’s a feeling that Jack is a little unhinged at the moment playing a secret gig the night before with the audience dressed in hospital gowns and he being pushed away in a hospital bed. This on top of his falling into the drum kit at Glasto. I dunno but have always felt that he’s a man on the edge and that’s probably what makes him so interesting creatively much like Ryan Adams and Conor Oberst.
I won’t bore you with running through the set but for me there were obvious highlights, Three Women, Hotel Yorba, Ball and Biscuit and a different take on Steady as She Goes. Working without a setlist he went wherever the mood took him supported by a superb band led by the charismatic drummer who can’t sit for too long, has his drums pointing in a jaunty angle and has a penchant for the cow bell. The violinist is accomplished and can actually be heard amongst the electric mayhem going on and has a unique high pitched voice that compliments Jack’s well. This complemented by Mandolin, Theremin, pedal steel, organ, keyboard, upright base. All that’s missing is Evelyn Glennie and her glockenspiel.
The night moves from acoustic albeit heavily amplified with mandolin to full on delta blues taking in Rock/Rap. Indeed a lot of the songs especially the new ones are delivered in a real punchy staccato style, the lyrics spat out in a Rage against the Machine mode which for this young listener aint a bad thing. It’s an energetic show and Jack does his best rock god impressions that don’t look cheesy or contrived. He’s obviously enjoying this and makes some barbed comments about Glastonbury and distance to the audience.
Two hours later it’s all over closing with the football terrace friendly Seven Nation Army. We leave and I’m in desperate need of rehydration and some new ear drums please. Five stars to wake up London on a hot steamy night. Sleep comes much later thanks to the ringing in the ears.