Wednesday, June 18, 2003

Rock Show: The White Stripes come to Charlotte's Grady Cole Center and blow the roof off the fuckin' dump

I tore myself away from my King James' Bible long enough last night to venture out into the world and scream and holler at Meg and Jack White. My hope was that my holy presence might turn them away from rock and roll and put them on a more wholesome and spiritual path.

In attendance were me, Chris, Super Wendell and Snow. I saw James walk in during the opening band while we were out in the smoking yard trying to top our nicotine needs before the White Stripes started. The opening band may have been good, they were definately just out of high school, but we weren't listening. We were smoking instead.

We went inside when I felt the White Stripes were getting ready to start. We ended up waiting about half and hour which was OK because the Stooges album Funhouse was being played on the sound system. I waited, contented.

The lights went down, Iggy's howls were slowly silented, Jack and Meg White came out, the crowd went apeshit and bing, bang, boom, it was on. Jack howled, abused his guitar, Meg's deceptively simple and steady drumming filled the gaps. They shifted timing in songs, they stopped songs midway through and did em different. They teased with riffs from songs they didn't play. They played Jolene like she was in the audience. When Jack would get really excited Meg would smile at him in the way that only someone who has seen you in your underpants can. Jack White's stage demeanor seems to tell me that he wants to be both Robert Plant and Jimmy Page all at the same time.

I don't have a setlist, neither did they, and I am not going to go into a lot of detail about the stupendous show I saw last night. I have seen a lot of rock and roll shows over the years and I now have to make room for this one in my top ten. I went there looking to save souls only to have mine corrupted and I'm better for it.

It's not often you get to see a genuine rock and roll show on the scale of last night's. It was special because most of us in the audience were starving for a taste of this band. We've got the albums and bootleg shows but nothing beats watching someone screaming and sweating and smiling at the reactions of the fans on the floor. It was powerful and genuine without rock star posing but it did have rock star prices. Let me make one critical statement. If they had charged 15 or 20 dollars instead of 28 then maybe the place would have been full instead of half empty. Of course, if it had been full I wouldn't have been as close I was but the ticket prices just seemed inordinately high, that's all I'm saying.

On a positive note maybe more shows like last night will help Charlotte shrug off the undeserved reputation as a band rock and roll town. I hav seen Charlotte crowds go this beserk only on two other occasions, the KISS reunion tour and the 1998 Page and Plant show. We deserve more better shows and maybe last night will help.

Would you like to see some pictures of last night's show?

Here is a partial setlist I found on a message board. It's fairly accurate:

The White Stripes
At The Grady Cole Center, Charlotte, NC
June 17th, 2003

01. Black Math
02. Let's Shake Hands
03. Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground
04. Jolene (Dolly Parton)
05. The Hardest Button To Button
06. In The Cold, Cold Night
07. Good To Me (Brendan Benson)
08. ? (might have been Jumble, Jumble)
09. Hotel Yorba
10. ?
11. Seven Nation Army
12. Do
13. Apple Blossom
14. You're Pretty Good Looking
15. Hello Operator
16. St. James Infirmary Blues
17. Small Faces (Public Nuisance)
18. Wasting My Time
19. We're Going To Be Friends
20. The Same Boy You’ve Always Known
22. The Union Forever

24. Ball and Biscuit
25. I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself
26. Boll Weevil

One Last Observation

I couldn't believe the number of women at the show last night that had obvious eating disorders. Ug, I've never seen such a collection of skeletons. It's a sick culture that forces people to be so unhealthy so that they may feel they are attractive. Such extremes I see, fat cow people in the trailer parks and stick figures in the suburbs. What the heck is goin' on around here, anyway?

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