In the hot, awkward Agganis Arena in Boston last night, Jack & Meg struggled to salvage their surroundings. With no air conditioning, poor acoustics, and a strange floor arrangement, the arena on Boston University’s campus wasn’t the best place for The White Stripes, much less anyone, to play. It didn’t particularly help that the duo played a somewhat strange variety of tunes, only really grabbing the audience’s attention near the end, with some sing- and clap-a-longs.
They opened with “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” then proceeded to play a solid half dozen songs that only a fraction of the audience got into. The only real hits they played were “Seven Nation Army”, “Hotel Yorba”, “Icky Thump”, and “My Doorbell”, on which Jack played bass, which was fuzzed out, difficult to hear, and unsatisfying. Not a good venue for it. During the encore, they played a medley of about seven or eight intros of songs, which teased the crowd with songs like “I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself”. “I’m Slowly Turning Into You” was a good, but somewhat muted highlight. Meg, naturally though, got a nice reception for her vocal on “In the Cold, Cold Night” despite timing issues.
As far as the experience, there were cool lighting effects, including the requisite disco ball. The stage was set up with a giant red backdrop, with three sets of stairs leading up to a catwalk area. Spotlights in the front of the stage often projected Jack & Meg’s silhouettes and spotlights on top of the stage flooded them with light. A couple times, Jack stomped on the catwalk, which kicked up a white dust, perhaps the best stage effect of the show. In an old performer’s trick, Jack personalized the show: on “Lord, Send Me An Angel” he sang “For these Boston women won’t let Mr. Jack White rest”.
The crowd was generally into it, despite stretches of unfamiliarity, dead sound areas, and a massive open space in the general admission floor audience. It’s a far cry from the acoustic dream of the Boston Opera House their last time around, but they managed.