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In review: Jack White wows with instrumentals, disappoints with vocals

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Jack White performance

Jack White performs at McCasland field house on Feb. 2.

Monday night’s Jack White concert at McCasland Field House opened with the band Chicano Batman. The band hails from Los Angeles and warmed up the crowd with some reggae and blues tunes, occasionally sung in Spanish.

After they finally left the stage after forty minutes of playtime, White’s tour manager, Lalo Medina, came on stage accompanied by a bowl of guacamole and tortilla chips. In between bites, he asked members of the crowd to stay off of their cell phones because they are attending a live event and should enjoy it live.

“Experience and enjoy the rock and roll show on stage,” Medina said.

The show kicked off with “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground." While the instrumentals were fantastic and left even the most unfamiliar concertgoer baffled and begging for more, the vocals from White were murky and off-pitch.

The Grammy-nominated song “Lazaretto” was the next hit White played and, just like the opener, introduced stunning instrumentals from White and his band mates, but White’s vocal performance was not like anything close to singing; it was more like screaming.

White also played “Three Women,” possibly one of his best performances of the night, the songs live performance lived up to its stellar reputation and so did White as a musician as he took to the piano.

White also proved himself a master musician when he took to an acoustic guitar for “Hotel Yorba”, a song whose only fault was the drumming. While the drumming was amazing and treat to watch, performed by Daru Jones, it did not exactly fit with the folksy theme of the song. Meg White, drummer for White’s past band The White Stripes and his ex-wife, was dearly missed in some performances.

White and his band seemingly ended their show, but returned after chanting and signing from the crowd, asking for “Seven Nation Army”.

White returned in spades, leading his encore with “Icky Thump”. The song was a great start to the end of his show; White nailed the bridge and the combination of wicked instrumentals and awe-inspiring visual effects kept the crowd all the way to the finale.

“Seven Nation Army”, an anthem at OU football games, was the best of the night and the climax of the whole show. White masterfully built the tension in the room to max capacity and took the crowd home in the best way possible. Honestly, it was awesome.

White and his band were so instrumentally talented that we could listen to that alone for days. However, we felt that White’s vocals just didn't meet with the expectations built up by his Grammy award winning albums.

White didn't steer clear of controversy either. Towards the beginning of the show, he took a shot at The Oklahoma Daily and its use of the Freedom of Information Act.

Once he built up his confidence, he gunned for the entire university as well, making fun of its ban on public tobacco use. He also lobbied for taking university philosophy courses and for staying clear of journalism and law degrees.

All in all, there was something for everyone to love and hate about the Jack White concert. One thing is certain, though: it lived up to and caused hype throughout all of OU.

Jesse Pound contributed to this story.

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