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Jack White’s The Supply Chain Chain Issues Tour, Thursday, April 21st 2022, Reviewed

Jack White and New York City: we have our problems. White has gone on record as neither liking audiences as a rule of thumb and specifically disliking New York City audiences and nyc has never warmed to him. They once kept him from leaving his dressing room in Radio City Music Hall and refusing to allow a pizza delivery, after a truncated set that infuriated them. Admittedly, the set as well as the slightly longer set on the next day were the two best I for one had ever seen him perform (here), but maybe that wasn’t enough. I’ve seen him numerous times since then, once, at Gov Ball, his set coincided with Skrillex DJing and I could wander straight to the front and still wasn’t that impressed.

Radio City was ten years ago. Thursday night White got his revenge on NYC with the worst set of the entire tour -two hours of relentless whatever. A third of the arena was cordoned off as White failed to come within pissing distance of selling out Barclay Center and the Standing Room Only floor packed it in halfway where it became a ghost town. My ticket was upgraded to the 100s, and was pretty good, and to offset the lack of cell phones which had to be put in Yondr pouches, he put pictures on his website after the show, crappy, way too close to the stage pictures, though I did manage to record the set by leaving the recorder on as my celly went bye bye for the proceedings. The sound was crap but it lead me on to nugs (here), he didn’t bother putting the Barclay Center gig online, but there is a much better Boston gig from April 17th, as well as the soon to be legendary April 8th Detroit opening evening where he proposed marriage to guitarist Olivia Jean and married her at the encore, not the first time it has happened of course, but Tiny Tim was a weirdo and Jack White is a creep.

The setlist on Thursday was awful, so much soloing and jamming to some of the worst songs in his catalog that despite his earnestness and his energy, with a tiny four piece band, despite his switching guitars three times per song, despite his business as usual stage patter, he failed to get the 100 section on its feet and the audience was quiet except at the foot of the stage.

White was close to what he wanted for us, but check this out: in Boston he segued from “Hotel Yorba” to “Love Interruption” to “Missing Pieces” and had the audience in the palm of his hands, we got “I Think I Smell A Rat” to “Love Interruption” to “You Don’t Understand Me” and by the time he reached U2’s “Love Is Blindness” he’d lost us. And if you don’t think this is him being a major fucking dick to New York, you’re wrong: Boston got “Fell In Love With A Girl” and we had no equivalent, I mean if he had thrown us “The Hardest Button to Button” we might have forgiven some of his sins . Even the encore was just a long wait for “Seven Nation Army”.

Sure, the extended jams are unique and virtuosic, so is Joe Satriani and who cares?, and while the constant switching of guitars (and show killing piano parts) made you wonder how Jimi Hendrix survived on one guitar a show, he could have gotten away with it if he had that spoonful to help it go down. Every new song was a nightmare of flashing guitar breaks and segues from one obstreperous rave up to another. When did White decided become Duane Trucks? Put it this way: White is welcome to fart in the studio as much as he chooses to but if he wants to fart on stage he shouldn’t’ be surprised to be told it stinks.

Opening act, Nashville’s Be Your Own Pet, reformed for the tour and their power driven punk rock would have worked on a half hour set, over 45 minutes it went on too long. The best thing about White’s set was drummer Daru Jones, and the stage, in the same royal blue was beautiful. White didn’t really speak to us but there is no denying his performance was an all in explosion of white noise and metallic guitar riffs: with nothing to distract us it was painful, White should have paid us to bring our cells out, distraction was precisely what we needed, either that or an LCD close up of what he was playing.

It wasn’t all terrible, the reason I decided to go was because “Love Is Selfish” -a ballad off his upcoming album # 2 of 2022, blew me away, and he gave it a terrific, straightforward acoustic take, the opening track off the current Fear Of The Dawn is a grower at the top of the evening, and “Love Interrupted” is a classic song from a highlight of his career, Blunderbuss.

But has there ever been a rock star as completely charmless as White? He sounds like a nasal decongestant, and he acts like a Tinder date whose pictures don’t capture his serial killer vibe. We don’t like Jack White and nothing could make an evening with him worse than his simply being dislikable.

Grade: C-

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