SAL REVIEWS THE RACONTEURS:
Many times on these pages I have not sung the praises of JACK WHITE and his Stripes. I don't hate them, I just don't understand why so many people love them. To my ears, the Raconteurs' album justified my comments. It was the White Stripes with songs, substance, and no gimmick. I got to see the Raconteurs opening up for Bob Dylan last night at the Nassau Coliseum, and anything negative I've ever said about Jack White's guitar playing and performing in general was completely erased from my mind. The Raconteurs put on what could be the finest live performance of the year. Very simply, they took everything I love about their hook-filled debut record and threw it at the audience with the same bravado and balls-out attack of Led Zeppelin at their peak in the early '70s. Jack White left no doubt in my mind that he truly is a guitar god, and if it was too difficult for me to hear, on what I feel are mediocre-at-best White Stripes records, he certainly shut me up last night. The Raconteurs won over the over-40 Dylan diehards and brought the entire Coliseum to its feet, with the exception of....
TONY REVIEWS THE RACONTEURS:
On their own, I think Jack White, Brendan Benson, and the Greenhornes are fantastic artists. Their collaboration as The Raconteurs produced one of my favorite albums of the year. So it was with some shock that my seatmate and I looked at each other about halfway through their set at Nassau Coliseum and said "Are we mistaken, or is this really bad?" My problem with the band was that I felt like I was watching four very talented musicians who were onstage together instead of a band. Onstage with the White Stripes, Jack White does everything besides play drums. He's so busy racing from guitar to marimba to piano and keeping all his musical balls in the air at once that he's too focused to drift off into the histrionic, masturbatory guitar work he displayed with the Raconteurs. Freed from having to be the entire show, he sounded self-indulgent to my ears. Although Brendan Benson is a good frontman on his own, he couldn't keep Jack on the rails, and though the Greenhornes' rhythm section is dynamite on their own garage-rock tunes, on the Raconteurs' more complex songs, they weren't enough of a solid foundation. There were bits and pieces of magic here and there, but in the end, I was happy to see 'em leave.
Store Bought Bones MP3
This is from the night before in Boston. Quality = B+, but good enough to judge for yourself.