June 1st, 2012, 10:42 am · · posted by BEN WENER, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
The thing we’ve not fully seen from Jack White – until very recently – is a willingness to be himself in the spotlight. We recognize him instantly, his ghostly face and his often thunderous sound, because he’s become such a dominant force in American music the past decade, and so many of us think we know him because he’s so magnetically enigmatic. We’ve grown captivated by his stage presence and hammer-of-the-gods blues-rock revivalism that we forget he’s forged this titanic identity largely out of persona.
Think back: The White Stripes were as much shtick as they were primal Detroit rock, and White’s roles in the Raconteurs and the Dead Weather, though similarly forged in mystique, were still just that – roles, a part in another band. Like Bowie, the most overlooked of his varied influences, this is a guy for whom the public veneer of coolness rarely seems to crack.
When you catch him smiling in the presence of Jimmy Page (in It Might Get Loud) or Jagger & Richards (in Shine a Light), you sense the excitable boy that was probably lurking inside young Jack well before he ever touched a guitar. When that same grin crept out a few times during his tremendous performance Wednesday night at the Wiltern, his first of two rapidly sold-out shows at the L.A. landmark, it felt like glimpsing that same budding dreamer having the elated realization of how far he’s come, content and enjoying the moment.
Photos by David Hall, for The Orange County Register.
The latest from Encore: