Jack White's genius manifests best when it's just guitar, drums and nothing else. Or so it seemed at Edgefield, where the standout moment in two-plus hours of White with his solo band came in the extended jam to open "Steady, As She Goes," just before the encore break. Jack's mangy riff bounced around like an old mattress in the back of a pickup, with just a few strands of thumping beat keeping it off the freeway. You watched, rapt, wondering if it was gonna bust loose, or manage to hold on—and then the bass dropped.
Nashville Jackie's in a blue period—blue curtains, blue light, blue shirts—and pulling songs from across projects for this tour in support of his second solo record, June's Lazaretto. Some of the old Stripes, Raconteurs and Dead Weather songs came as they originally did (the brutish "Astro," the shuffling "You Don't Know What Love Is") while others got restrung in the way White seems likely to do on Dylanesque summer bus rides through his 70's. The originally acoustic ditty "Hotel Yorba," in particular, was gussied up with a pedal steel solo and a fiddle solo—and then, before the last verse, a piano solo.
The other notable moment was a freeform rant (Jack's words, not mine) about pop culture inspired by "three and a half minutes on the Internet." "If you have something important to say relate it to Star Wars," Jack yelped. "Star Wars is now Shakespeare to the next fucking generation." Certainly, many late X-ers feel alienated from popular culture post-Jar Jar. But someone tell Jack that the Bard, too, was aiming to entertain the dirty, under-contemplative groundlings. Anyone who reads as much history as Jack ought know that while the medium changes, the song remains the same.