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The Stripes DVD You've Been Waiting For
on March 21, 2010
This video is an adventure. It's the second White Stripes live DVD, following the concert-only Under Blackpool Lights. This DVD, however, is more of a documentary with live shows thrown in, rather than a concert DVD.
For those unfamiliar with the Stripes, they are a Detroit-based duo of Jack and Meg White (whom Jack presents as brother/sister though they were actually married AND divorced before their second album was released). Jack loves novelties and is obsessed with the number 3, and the band's motif of red, white, and black. If you are a fan of most types of rock, you will love them (or at least some of their assorted songs, there's at least one for everyone). I watched this with my parents (my mom loves Elvis and my dad is a Zeppelin fan), and immediately afterward they wanted me to add the White Stripes to their computers/iPods.
The movie follows the band as they tour each Canadian province and play shows, not only in concert halls, but in parks, on boats, on buses, in schools, and with native Canadians. It gives you a look into the day-to-day of Jack and Meg, and what their ambitions for the band and themselves are as far as the tour goes; Jack also gives great insight into what direction he follows and what creative process he uses for the band. Meg even talks, and they talk about why she never talks, to some laughs for those of us who know Meg as a shy, rarely-interviewed introvert. Interspersed as well are the novelty concerts that are paired with each major show, which show really not the novelty of each show but of Jack and Meg themselves, two oddballs with an idea that a band can be creative within the confines of an idea and a motif, and to explore this motif to its limit.
Now, on to the concerts themselves: blown away. Jack's live shows are heartfelt performances, and he plays to each different audience as if it were a group of his closest friends, knowing exactly what songs to play, including the fa- favorite B-Side cover version of Dolly Parton's "Jolene," which always seems so passionate (even though it's told from the point of view of a woman). Each song is a concert-ready version of its album counterpart, generally not played the same way ("Fell In Love With A Girl" uses chords strummed individually with little distortion, as opposed to the ever-popular studio version), and you can see that they work to make each show special. They play without a set list, and so it's more of a jam session of your favorite White Stripes songs. When Jack plays the B-Side Black Jack Davey in a park with Meg on the tambourine, giving very little or no notice that they were playing there, it conjures images of Bob Dylan and Joan Baez. It's those small town where maybe they've never even heard anything the Stripes have done, only in name do they know them, maybe a rumor of their tour of Canada, but you can tell the people know something special is happening, and in each town a crowd gathers that is very substantial for how small the town itself is.
By the end of the tour, you can see why they canceled their U.S. tour: they seem very weary and stressed out. And when the video ends with Meg crying as Jack plays piano and sings "White Moon", you can tell they've been stretched thin, but it seems like they loved the journey, and you will, too.