On Monday morning, Jack White announced that he would be performing at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium that night. Tickets were priced for $3 with a limit of one per person.
There had been speculation that the rocker would hit Alaska, Idaho, North/South Dakota and Wyoming — the five states where he hasn’t performed. The performance was announced at 8 a.m. on a slushy, rainy and snowy Monday morning.
I called my friend almost immediately after seeing his Facebook post to confirm my speculation. By the time I arrived to get my ticket, it was 10:30 a.m. and the line of people had already started wrapping around the Wendy Williamson and Professional Studies Building.
During my hour and a half of waiting in the slush, hundreds of cars turned off of Providence Drive to get in line. There weren’t even free spots in the lot behind the Wendy, and many people parked across the street to avoid parking tickets.
Hundreds of people skipped class, work, or hired a sitter to get in line for this spontaneous set.
Even though the doors opened at noon to get tickets, I didn’t hit the doors of the Wendy until 12:45. During that time, hundreds of line-cutters zipped passed me.
When standing in line, several event staff walked by, counting the number of people in line. Around 11 a.m., I was at 300-ish. At 11:30 a.m., I had jumped up to 400-ish. By the time I hit the doors, I heard I was at the 600 level.
300 cutters, can you believe it?
Cutters. We hate you.
After finally walking inside the auditorium, I handed over my $3 and received my black and blue wristband that doubled as my ticket. I was cold and covered in snow, but relieved I got my ticket.
Doors for the event opened at 7 p.m. When I showed up for my 6 p.m. class at Eugene Short Hall, there were already over 100 people in line. By the time I got out at 7:15 p.m., the line had wrapped clear around the building.
I honestly didn’t care where I sat, as long as I was getting to see Jack White perform. I got into the building at around 8 p.m. where I found a seat toward the back.
Five minutes before the show started, a man with two women asked me to move two seats over so they could sit down. I agreed and did just so. Apparently, this was a pathway for us to have a conversation, before, during and after the show.
“Can you get a picture of us? Did you break your foot? What stupid thing were you doing? What’s your name? Can you get another picture? Sorry, I was talking. Are you a Jack White fan? Will you sing along with me?”
If you heard a man attempting to have a conversation with Jack White, I know your man.
Before the show, one of White’s tour manager stood center stage to introduce the legend. He asked that the audience turn their phones off and just enjoy the moment, which is exactly what I did. I didn’t take pictures or videos, I just let the music sink into me.
At 8:35 p.m., the lights finally went down and the 6-foot 2-inch powerhouse stepped onto stage. Before saying a word, the crowd roared and stood on their feet, whooping and hollering. Three other individuals joined him onstage including fiddler Fats Kaplin, bass guitarist Dominic Davis and fiddler/vocalist Lillie Mae Rische.
White performed “Carolina Drama” from his old band the Raconteurs, “We’re Going to be Friends” by his other past band The White Stripes, and a few songs from White himself.
“Temporary Ground,” a song from his album “Lazaretto” made the crowd wild. White’s set from Monday can be found on https://play.spotify.com/user/uaaconcertboard/playlist/0qcLEIRjKvd5fOOwVBsgp6
White was phenomenal, and he is an eight-time Grammy winner for obvious reasons. In several hours, he sardine-packed a 910-seat auditorium and had almost all of them on their feet for his hour long performance.
White plans on taking a break after touring with his five acoustic shows.
I was still cold, annoyed by my new “friend” and frustrated by all of the line-cutters, but I got to see Jack White perform — and perform a special set at that. He was grateful that thousands stood in terrible weather for a chance at seeing him and said that he would be back soon.
He’s the kind of guy that sounds better live than he does on a track.