Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The White Stripes @MSG, July 24th

I had been feeling cranky about the White Stripes in recent months; I missed out on their itty bitty Irving Plaza show, and forgot about their presale for pit tickets. I didn't feel like coughing up the steep $70 per ticket price to sit far away at the imposing Madison Square Garden, so I decided I'd take my chances and see if I could perhaps snag a last minute choice ticket. Then, I found out that Nick Cave's side project, Grinderman was slated to open, so that really motivated me to go. I ended up grabbing a very nice pair at cost on e-bay in Section 71, putting me right next to the stage in the Loge level. I convinced Wawa to accompany me, in spite of his reluctance to spend such money and concern that the audience would be similar to the last time we saw the Stripes at Keyspan, where the abundance of frat boy douchebags annoyed the fuck out of us. Would the show feel different where we'd be sitting on the side versus my usual spot of standing dead center in the front? Section 71 was awesome, providing a very excellent elevated view of the stage without the elbowing and stink of the crowd.

We arrived just in time for Grinderman. I had caught them the night before on Letterman singing "Honey Bee." They stuck to songs from Grinderman, which was fine, tho it would have been nice to hear Nick dip into some of his other stuff. I think the dark dramatic music of Grinderman would have been better suited to a smaller venue, where Nick's baritone wouldn't get so muddied in the soundmix, but nonetheless, it was thrilling to catch such an opener.

Now, as mentioned above, I did previously see the Stripes play at Keyspan two years ago (and I thought they were great, but the crowd sucked ass), and prior to that, at Roseland. I guess playing (and filling) MSG is a big milestone in any music act's career, and tonight was Meg and Jack's turn, and they filled it well. I knew them to be a stellar act and had great expectations for them tonight, and they were stupendous. For nearly two hours ending just before midnight, they held the crowd captive with a constant drive forward. (See the setlist here.) Everytime I see them, I think the same thing -- how do just two people on the stage manage to energize the crowd and get them going the way the White Stripes do? Fuckin' amazing!

The stage looked like a red playground, with different kinds of instruments set up and several microphones stationed all over. Jack ran around the stage in bringing us on his musical mystery tour and showed why he works hard for the money.

Here's a video of them performing "We're Gonna Be Friends":


I love the White Stripes without reservation, and they are never to be missed live.

Here's the last song of the evening, "Boll Weevil":


*****

A funny side note. So, as a condition to Wawa coming tonight, I promised him I'd go with him to see the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in two weeks at Webster, even though I said to myself I'd never go to that sweatbox again in the summer months after seeing Sleater-Kinney and The Roots there last August and hating every drippy moment. After Grinderman finished their set, I spotted a tall lanky figure sit right in front of us and joked with Wawa that it was David Fricke of Rolling Stone, who I swear is stalking us because he seems to be at every show we're at, but instead, I realized it was actually Brian Chase of the YYYs, only because right next to him was Nick Zinner.

So yeah, like wow, 2/3s of the YYYs right there in front of us (with a dark-haired girl who looked like a stand-in for Karen O.). During the White Stripes' set, the guys sat the whole time, and sent an awful lot of text messages. I don't think I saw either of them clap once. Maybe they were taking notes on the competition....

I was pleased as punch, however, when sometime during the Stripes' set, who else should sit down in front of us, but none other than Nick Cave himself. And yes, he did clap, with his red right hand.

I did see someone else who might have been Moby (but who cares), and someone else I briefly thought was Michael Pitt (of Dawson's Creek fame), but it actually just turned out to be a chick who resembled him. Gnarly!

1 comment:

favian said...

you're right about the fratboy douchebags at the brooklyn show, it ruined it for me. However, the irving show is th best i have ever seen them. Top of their game.