last night's gig

Jack White Haunted By Dead Squirrel From His Youth

Jack White in his signature green T-shirt. We kid!Photo: Elizabeth Cline

Jack White has been giving all his love to his other band the Raconteurs as of late, forcing hundreds of White Stripes fans to desperate measures. To wit: Many slept on the street outside Irving Plaza to score tickets to last night’s “secret” gig.

Using four microphones, three guitars, and two red keyboards, Jack played a two-hour set of stomping blues-rock, tying it all together with Zeppelin-esque dirges that wandered into the Pulp Fiction theme song (“Pump It”) before meandering on to Dolly Parton’s “Joleen.”

Jack’s frequently recurring Tim Burton–esque sideshow persona came out for only a moment, when he shared a story about a camping trip in his youth during which a friend insisted on keeping a dead squirrel he’d captured in their tent. “That’s when you know someone’s not right,” he mused.

Jack’s wife, Karen Elson, sang in the opening act Citizens Band, a saloon-girl theater troupe, during which performance Elson was upstaged by her “bandmate” who climbed a rope to the ceiling and hung upside down showering flower petals on the audience.

For his part, Jack was shining about one million megawatts brighter than that aloof spot of red he calls a bandmate. With his musical breadth exploding on the new album, the fact that Meg can’t play a drum fill or a sixteenth note is more of a handicap than ever. While Meg was busy being an embarrassment to her gender, some roughneck guys embarrassed their own by starting a testosterone-fueled fight near the stage as everyone waited for the encore. —Elizabeth Cline

Related: All Hail ‘Icky Thump’

Jack White Haunted By Dead Squirrel From His Youth