The Hershey Center in Mississauga, Ontario had a sweet tooth for rock n' roll last night as The White Stripes rolled in the red carpet (finally) for Mississauga's captivated, ticket clutching fan base. The chilling temperatures of an early winter made no match for a wealth of people lined up into the "Restricted: Everything" event. No cameras, no moshing and folks if you nod your head to the music, a guard will attack you with a stun gun. No, it's not often we Canadians can see such amazing talent outside of Toronto's pearly gates and not a single person looked disappointed as we waited for both bands by watching classic cartoons for hours on the big screen center stage. The openers, Whirlwind Heat, were impressive in the sense that they are a band coordinated harmonically and whose lead singer gyrates like his pants are on fire so much so, people can't tell if he's freaking out or just having a good time. It's better that way; it adds to the mystery of the group. I should note that this was my first time seeing The White Stripes live, so I was extremely intrigued with how their stage presence compared to what I had heard in the media and through their CDs.
As the roadies graced the stage, I couldn't help but marvel at their black bowler hats, deep red pencil ties and jet black suits, they made an amazing first impression for me before Jack and Meg came on stage. Meg began humbly batting her drums like they were her eye lashes and then started rocking out to Jack's piercing blues' crescendos. Strands of her hair were flowing in slow motion to the beat, which really put her performance into a dream state for me. Now, while I love Meg and her aptitude for percussion I'm still concerned about "Cold, Cold Night". She gives it her all and I respect that, but I think she should keep her drum sticks over a mic for the long term. Jack is a tall, commanding ball of energy that moves like Michael Jackson in Thriller as he finger picks his Fender's like he's on fast forward; I would compare him to great blues musicians, but he's created a genre all his own right down to the colour coordination of his amps.
The crowd felt the jolt of enthusiasm when "Seven Nation Army" came on and fans even enjoyed classics from their previous album, White Blood Cells. Jack, to me is the dandy gentleman of rock, from his mod dress to his electric vocals he impressed me, even more so when he stopped after one song and remarked that people need to stop moshing because he doesn't want to see any of our "nice Canadian girls" get hurt. As the evening came to a close, he made a tribute to his success under the Commonwealth (note: They rocked the Leeds and Reading Festivals this past August in England) and during their stops in Canada, Jack took a special White Stripes flashlight and shined it on a photo of the Queen up in the bleachers. Talented, innovative, and both with enough guts to take the sound of rock n' roll back to its rock a billy roots to let the people of Mississauga, Ontario know where real music is going to, and coming from today.
Writer: Lindsay Bloemink