The White Stripes – Under Great White Northern Lights

I first got into the White Stripes when I saw footage of their 2005 Glastonbury show. They play without a planned setlist, so they tend to lurch all over the place, potentially sacrificing most of their best known material. Besides the obvious on-stage chemistry between them, that unpredictability is their greatest asset.

Unfortunately, although it captures their performance well, the improvisational quality of a White Stripes set is exactly what the people behind this live album failed to package – the tracklist of hits sidesteps that part of their show altogether, so seems to miss the point of The White Stripes Live.

On the other hand, the accompanying DVD (a tour doc by Jim Jarmusch) is extremely watchable, charting the final tour before Meg’s acute anxiety forced them into hiatus. It captures them playing all Canadian provinces, playing eccentric shows on buses and boats, and the infamous one-note “shortest concert ever”. Later on, the sight of Meg breaking down as Jack plays is sad, but engrossing.

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