The Virtuoso.

I’d been a fan of Jack White for awhile, long before I saw him playing with Meg at the Big Day Out, Mt Smart. Thanks to the benefits of corporate hospitality, I can’t say I was in the best shape for it. They were touring Get Behind Me Satan. By then, things had well and truly blown up for them. I liked the fact that he was something out of the ordinary, embracing a bit of quirk which always wins me over. I did some reading, discovered he’d been a cabinet maker / upholsterer which I liked even more. Rumor had it, he’d lied about where he’d been born, telling the press wild changeable stories in various interviews, which I thought was hilarious.

The man can play, the blues, gritty raw guitaring that for me set him apart from a lot of others. Enter the piano, the marimba, not forgetting he’s already on vocals. Writing, producing with an -˜if you can’t play it live, don’t record it’ mentality, that I think is a killer philosophy. Not even Lenny Kravitz, who I believe can play almost anything – though typically did it under tattoos and spotlights, had the same conviction. It was a step away from the overproduced sound that we’re force-fed today, a step back to something raw.

So I was fortunate to be there when he was in Auckland playing at the Powerstation, just a few weeks ago. It’s a dark space with a ground floor and a slightly wide single floor balcony, squared off around the stage holding something like 1,500 people. He was playing for the first time in eight years with his combined band, the Racontuers. Jack launches into it from the back of the stage, playing support and stealing the show with guitars that were clearly made for him. A killer aesthetic to every one, from a Turquoise electric to a bright Orange acoustic, to a V-neck designed for the big stuff. He’s on the piano, then back on the V-neck, screaming into a mike distorter. He’d come in with his -˜no phones’ policy, a refreshing departure from the other six or seven concerts I’d been to over the last couple of years. I got one of the last concert shirts, possibly one of the only ones I’ve ever bought at a show.

I watched Bohemian Rapshody the other day and it got me thinking, if you want to get something done, do it today. It’s just too easy to procrastinate. I’d avoided the film because I’d read that Sasha Baron-Cohen walked away from it, choosing to step down from the lead role due creative differences. The lead and subsequent Oscar went to Remi Malik who was great. Freddy Mercury died a year earlier than I am now. Look at what these guys have done, so much at a such young age. Time to hustle, that second book deserves some focus.