Jack White walks off stage in Detroit due to lackluster audience, perseveres to play 22-song encore

Jack White // Photo by Amanda Koellner

    Photo by Amanda Koellner

    Ed. Note: There are differing accounts over why White left the stage. Several CoS readers who attended the show said there were technical issues and/or something spilled on stage. Also, those readers also maintain that the audience’s enthusiasm wasn’t as bad as the Detroit Free Press made it out to be.

    On Monday night, Jack White returned home for the first of a two-night stand in Detroit behind his new album, Lazaretto. What was to be a triumphant homecoming, however, quickly dissolved into a bit of a mess due to a lackluster audience who seemed much too cozy in the Fox Theatre’s 5,000 plush seated chairs.

    According to the Detroit Free Press, White ended the main portion of his set after just eight songs:

    Having launched the evening with a typically scorching roar, depositing hot, gnarled guitar into the one-two punch of “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” and the new “High Ball Stepper,” White soon became visibly displeased with the standing crowd’s lack of intensity in what he wanted to be a symbiotic affair.


    Road manager Lalo Medina had already pleaded the case before show time, taking the stage and asking fans not to sit down or distract themselves with cell phone cameras.

    Sure enough, just a half-hour in — after trying everything from a galloping “Hotel Yorba” to an acoustic reading of “Temporary Ground” with Lillie Mae Rische on harmony and Dominic Suchyta on upright bass — White summoned his stagehands. And with a quick “Thanks, God bless you,” he had the curtains pulled.

    White eventually returned to the stage to give it another go, commenting to audience, “I know as Detroiters you can overcome comfortable seating and beautiful lighting to make something as real as possible. We’re all together now. This isn’t ‘Gone With the Wind’ in the 1930s, all right?”


    Apparently satisfied by the audience’s response, White proceeded to play 10 songs for the first encore, and 12 more for the second encore, ending with the one-two-three punch of “Ball and Biscuit”, “Seven Nation Army”, and “Goodnight, Irene”.

    Even still, White told the audience not to expect him back at the venue anytime soon: “I told myself I’d only play here one time. This’ll be the last time I play the Fox Theatre. It was a final piece of the puzzle — I saved it for a long time.” Instead, for tomorrow night’s concert, he’ll perform at the friendly confines of the Masonic Temple, aka Jack White Theatre — that is, after he travels to Comerica Park and throws out the first pitch at tonight’s Detroit Tigers game.

    Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground (The White Stripes song)
    High Ball Stepper
    Hotel Yorba (The White Stripes song)
    Temporary Ground
    Weep Themselves to Sleep
    Cannon (The White Stripes song)
    Sixteen Saltines


    Fell in Love With a Girl (The White Stripes song)
    Top Yourself (The Raconteurs song)
    Love Interruption
    We’re Going to Be Friends (The White Stripes song)
    The Rose With the Broken Neck
    Three Women
    Missing Pieces
    Just One Drink
    The Hardest Button to Button (The White Stripes song)

    Encore 2:
    Icky Thump (The White Stripes song)
    Astro (The White Stripes song)
    I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline) (Howlin’ Wolf cover)
    I Cut Like a Buffalo (The Dead Weather song)
    Steady, As She Goes (The Raconteurs song)
    You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do As You’re Told) (The White Stripes song)
    Freedom at 21
    Would You Fight for My Love?
    You’ve Got Her in Your Pocket (The White Stripes song)
    Ball and Biscuit (The White Stripes song)
    Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes song)
    Goodnight, Irene (Lead Belly cover)

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