With live music back in full swing and the warm summer peaking its head ever so slightly, musical acts have taken back the road. Las Vegas has become a prime destination for some fantastic musicians in 2022. Two such acts — Jack White and Rainbow Kitten Surprise — came to town the last few weeks with White rocking out The Chelsea with opener Chicano Batman and Rainbow Kitten Surprise energizing Brooklyn Bowl. Both were everything live music is supposed to be.
For me, I’ve been buying 2022 concert tickets as far back as last December so this has been a great spring of anticipation. When the first Portugal. The Man and Alt-J show kicked off the whole live music melee in early April, it opened up a nice streak of shows for me. Since then, I’ve seen the aforementioned PTM and Alt-J (The Theater at Virgin Hotel), along with Bastille (The Theater at Virgin Hotel), Weezer (NFL Draft), White and RKS. The Pearl Jam show was cancelled when the band got COVID so that one didn’t happen. Still, it’s been great.
Of those shows, I can say with all confidence that the best two shows I’ve seen thus far were Jack White and Rainbow Kitten Surprise. And this is saying something, considering I snuck down to the front row for the Weezer show after the first round of the NFL Draft down at The Linq. More than any, Jack White proved once again why he is one of the greatest living musicians. Simply insane.
The former White Stripe, part time Raconteur and occasional Dead Weatherer owned the stage. I originally bought balcony standing room only since it has a nice vantage point and I have easy access to the bathroom and bar. I don’t generally like to sit at shows unless it’s a giant arena show at MGM Arena, T-Mobile Arena or Allegiant Stadium. But, to my luck, a good friend’s girlfriend cancelled at the last minute and he told me he had better seats so I should join him in the seats he was comped. He’s a medical professional and one of his clients works for MGM, owner of The Cosmopolitan Hotel in which The Chelsea resides.
I should have know something was up when he handed me a bracelet and said that would be our ticket. He had told me we were standing on the floor, which is where I generally will venture eventually. I was taken aback when he informed me it would be open bar, even though I’m actually taking a break from drinking a bit for the summer break. Oh, the irony of an open bar at a Jack White show when I’m in the first few days of the attempting a committed “dry summer” plan (I did behave myself and downed copious amounts of water, sugar-free Red Bull and Diet Pepsi, for the record). But where was the bar?
Then we saw it — a darkened bar just to the right of the stage in what looked like a special seating area I had never seen at a Chelsea show before. I wondered to my buddy if that was where we could grab some waters while Chicano Batman jammed on stage prior to Jack White. I asked the security guard standing their post in front of what looked like an entrance to the bar through the seating area. She told us we could sit where we pleased and the waitresses would be around to grab us whatever we needed. Nearly the entire area was empty. We had our pick of the litter, table wise, and positioned ourselves at the perfect vantage point and happily sat down. Holy schnikes. Free beverages, chips, and candies rained down on us as we marveled at our fortune.
We were ready for Jack White.
Jack White opened with “Taking Me Back,” one of the early singles from his new album “Fear of the Dawn.” The energy was immediate and it was clear Jack White came to work. His workmanship on the guitar seemed so utterly effortless. Fingers crawling up and down the strings with the precision of a surgeon. “Taking Me Back” jumped into the titular song, “Fear of the Dawn” and Jack White was off and running. He kicked in the afterburners immediately after with a classic White Stripes tune, “Black Math,” turning the entire venue into a blue fireball of energy.
Jack White managed to check all the boxes for me except one. He didn’t play “Carolina Drama,” one of my favorite Raconteur songs. He did play “You Don’t Understand Me” and “Steady As She Goes,” and made my night when they threw in a Dead Weather song, “Cut Like a Buffalo.” They played with The Kills a few shows later and I’m sure Dead Weather co-front person and Kills lead singer Alison Mosshart took the stage for a few more. So jealous. That pairing is still No. 1 on my “need to see live” list. Jack White peppered in a few more White Stripe tunes like “Blue Orchid” and “Ball and Biscuit” while treating the audience to a first, performing a new song for the first time live, “A Tip From You to Me.”
The encore featured seven songs, which is a great way to finish if you’re someone like Jack White. Of course he closed with the always energetic “Seven Nation Army,” much to the delight of the jumping crowd that shook our bougie table I was one ounce less of self-control from jumping up onto for the final few notes. It was a fantastic experience and solidified Jack White as my favorite live act over Gary Clark Jr., Kings of Leon, The Black Keys, The Avett Brothers, Delta Spirit, Dr. Dog or Deer Tick.
We are lucky to be gifted someone like Jack White (or Gary Clark Jr. for that matter) so anytime you get a chance to see them live, you can’t pass it up. Jack White’s shows are entirely phone-free so I’m sure that added to the thrill of a connected experience. Heck, I even saw someone use a lighter. Without phones, concertgoers had to resort to analog fire over LED magic and it was glorious. If you get a chance to enjoy Jack White on his Supply Chain Issues Tour, don’t miss out. It’s a for sure case of FOMO.
The pictures we were gifted in return for following the “no phones” policy were taken by photographer David James Swanson and see below for the entire set list
- Taking Me Back
- Fear of the Dawn
- Black Math (The White Stripes song)
- Missing Pieces
- Love Is Selfish
- You Don’t Understand Me (The Raconteurs song)
- Hotel Yorba (The White Stripes song)
- A Tip from You to Me (Live debut)
- Cannon (The White Stripes song)
- That Black Bat Licorice
- Sixteen Saltines (followed by “Cannon” reprise)
- Hello Operator (The White Stripes song)
- Blue Orchid (The White Stripes song)
- I Cut Like a Buffalo (The Dead Weather song)
- I Fought Piranhas (The White Stripes song)
- Ball and Biscuit (The White Stripes song)
- Fell in Love With a Girl (The White Stripes song)
- Temporary Ground
- We’re Going to Be Friends (The White Stripes song)
- Love Interruption
- Steady, as She Goes (The Raconteurs song)
- Seven Nation Army (The White Stripes song)