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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.
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on March 18, 2010
Your enjoyment of "Under Great White Northern Lights" will depend on two things 1. You must already like the White Stripes and 2. You must enjoy the current incarnation of the White Stripes. First for the people that will like this- this is rough and raw. The sound is dirty as hell and the songs are played at maximum volume for maximum effect. This is the White Stripes even more stripped down than on their albums. Jack White's vocals are more raw live than on record- the music acting as an exciter that pushes his vocals into higher registers. The guitar sounds like it is about to rip to pieces at any moment. Meg's drumming is, well, Meg's drumming- you can dig it or you can't- Me? I can dig it. Meg's simple yet rock solid bottom is what allows Jack to take flight and lose himself in layers of noise and chaos.
Now to the people on the fence- the set list definitely favors the newer material. The White Stripes seem to have lost much of the child-like innocence of the early records and have replaced it with a restless creativity, a darker sense of purpose and guitar tones that can test the patience of people more in tune with Jack White's "McCartneyesque" songwriting style of the first 3 albums. BUT like most good live records this is not some contract filler or holiday season toss-off- this album records a unique moment in the band's life- a time that perhaps finds them at a crossroads- this album and the tour behind it celebrated the first (hopefully not the last) decade of the band.
Look, in a nutshell- this is a live album- if you are a fan than you will find a lot to love here.
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Approximately 59 minutes in length. The sound is very good,especially for a live recording. All the tracks are from a 2007 tour of Canada. The booklet has several atmospheric b&w and color photos of the band,audience,and related subjects. There's a DVD that's also for sale of this event,sold separately.

For fans of THE WHITE STRIPES,especially the intensity of the first few albums,this will be of great interest. This is the band,stripped bare to it's core elements of Jack and Meg,doing what they do best-Meg pounding out a primal,visceral beat,along with Jack's in-you-face distorted acoustic and electric guitar (along with keyboards and other instruments in places) in all it's glory. His vocals are a throwback to the group's formative years-very intense and immediate. The intensity of the live tracks on the earlier released "Walking With A Ghost",are only a hint of this set's power.

As an example,the first two tracks set the stage (no pun intended),and are pure WHITE STRIPES-these two tracks grab hold of you and don't let go,and are a glimpse of whats in store. Track three has Jack playing acoustic,but playing for all it's worth,with some great vocals. Then it's back to the fired-up sound they are known for. The tracks vary from there,from his trademark distorted electric guitar,to his intense acoustic sound,which help with the pacing,and add interest This concert series was an attempt to get back to what they originally became known for. Most (if not all) the venues were small,out of the way stops,and often times the group was unknown to the residents. This fact pushed the band to focus on what they do best,no frills-straight-ahead-rock. Tracks range from all through the band's albums,and all are given a no holds barred treatment.

From "Blue Orchid",to "Jolene",to "Seven Nation Army",through"Icky Thump",to other familiar (and not so familiar) tracks,this is a good example of THE WHITE STRIPES in all their glory-out to prove to an audience,that's not familiar with them,just what they're famous for doing in a live setting. The power that's only hinted at on several of these studio tracks,is unleashed in a loud,in-your-face-assault. At times,the sound,the excitement,is so immediate,that you feel you can reach out and almost touch it-such is the intensity of these performances. The only thing I don't like is the audience "participation"-there's to much of it,and intrudes on the performances. This is one of those albums that has to be played loud in order to get the full effect of what this two-person band is capable of. And with two musicians,who know how to play their instruments to maximum effect,and who want to prove themselves (again) for listeners-this is the real-deal. Be prepared to be knocked back by their intensity,as they take each tune and make it their own (again),and re-define not only their own songs,but rock music itself. This is honest music-the likes of which we don't get to experience to much today.
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on April 8, 2010
Wow, what can you say? These two never cease to BLOW MY MIND! The level of Rock and Roll that they are putting out is incredible! Besides crushing chords and shredding solos, the rhythm guitar makes me think of seeing ACDC back in late 70's early 80's, fantastic. I've seen them twice (Get Behind Me tour) plus the Blackpool Lights video (which is insane!), but have never heard "Union Forever" live, this version gave me chills! I was going to see them in Alaska on this tour but then Meg's health issues canceled it. I'm hoping that they will do at least one more big tour (please Jack & Meg!), I have to see them again. I hadn't heard any live for awhile, just been listening to the studio albums (get them all), and putting this on made my jaw drop all over again. Being an old fogey (40's) I was wondering awhile back if I would ever like a new artist again, then the White Stripes showed up. They took up the banner, and they are holding it up HIGH! Check it out! cheers.
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on March 16, 2010
Being a fan of The White Stripes, I expected this documentary to be outstanding already. But while watching it, I can only describe it as an epic rock-doc. Emmett Malloy brings that power of Jack and Meg at an all time high, with concert footage, interviews, traveling, and a deeper look into what makes The White Stripes a true savior of garage rock. It also makes Canada look seventeen times better too!
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on September 15, 2013
If you like the White Stripes then your probably not reading this as you already added it to your cart- You will not be disappointed. If you not a fan of the White Stripes then there is still a good chance you will like this. But I enjoy the music and some of the best songs are not full live versions which is why i gave it 4 stars instead of 5. Video and Audio quality are great!
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on April 29, 2016
Beautiful record, beautiful sound quality. As usual, Jack White only puts out quality pieces on vinyl. From the packaging, to the artwork, to the look/feel of the vinyl, it is amazing. Loved the documentary and when I saw the soundtrack available, had to have it. Great Live album.-0
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on June 2, 2013
I'd become more interested in Jack White after seeing him in Let's Get Loud and observing amazed how he outclassed both The Edge (not hard to do) and Jimmy Page (Jimmy Page, man!!!). I was happy then to watch this personal documentary of the band playing both big venues as well as surprise venues (bowling alleys, a boat in Charlottetown, a flour mill in London, pool halls, etc), and even going so far as to announce a one-note show where they rolled in, blast one single chord, and left (to encore calls for "one more note" - Canadians may be boring, but they are known for their sense of humour).

This is probably the world's first black and white AND red film, making it very Emily Strange throughout. For the footage done in the north, it is still daylight at 11:15 PM. Jack agonises over the criticism of the band's image-consciousness, noting how Spin wrote "The White Stripes are simultaneously the most fake band in the world and the most real band in the world. Everything about the White Stripes is a lie." (Jack should probably be reassured that Jim Jarmusch finds them the real deal at least). When they are in Yellowknife the mayer picks them up from the airport and drives them in to town! Interesting to know that Meg and Jack bowl all over the world, and that Meg never talks and hardly sings. Meg does lead vocals on one song. Another song is synchronized with a 1930s film. They go to Iqaluit in Nanavut territory, many things are red and white, mud town, Rita guitar. They sing songs for the Inuit council, which Jarmusch notes is when they seem at their happiest and most engaged. Jack uses guitars that don't stay in tune, no set list, keyboard far away, these components force them to create. Plays in a kilt at one point.

There's a touching scene of Meg weeping as Jack plays a guitar at the end. Very nice video.
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on April 17, 2010
Listen up those of you in the "business". THIS is how you are supposed to make a concert film/music documentary!! Listen, it is VERY simple. You actually PLAY some songs without cutting back to the interviews! You can do that when the song is OVER!! You also actually show the artists performing without cutting around like some chimpanzee was working the editing machine! We don't need to have endless cuts every TWO seconds to convey maximum "action". Let us actually SEE what is going on man! I can't remember the last time a quality show like this came out, so glad it did! OK, This band, WOW, what can you say? I don't have enough words to describe how incredible they are. The level of art is so high, the quality of their music is just fantastic! IF you like rock and roll, you MUST check them out, thank God for the White Stripes. cheers.
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on November 19, 2014
I saw this on t.v. and knew I had to buy it one day. It's very good. If you like The White Stripes, you will want to own this. They talk a little bit here and there, but it is mostly about the music and this is the last concert footage of The White Stripes before they disband. Get it if you love The White Stripes and if you don't know who they are, get it because you'll end up loving the group!
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