Twenty-plus years into his career, Jack White is in the enviable position of having far too many hits to jam into a headlining set. On the plus side, that means his shows have plenty of variety, with selections culled from solo work, as well as his White Stripes, Raconteurs and Dead Weather days. On the downside, there’s a good chance you might not hear your favorite jam when he performs back-to-back concerts at the Chelsea.
A two-night stand bodes well for diverse (and different) concert experiences, however. Based on recent setlists, here’s what White seems likely to play in Vegas—and a few songs he should dust off.
White is currently promoting his latest and least-commercial solo album, Boarding House Reach, which is full of gloriously weird (if polarizing) detours: the plastic-soul Bowie homage “Connected by Love”; abstract prog-rock sprawl “Corporation”; and the electro-jazz funk-jive “Ice Station Zebra.” Expect to hear this trilogy at the show, along with choice cuts from his two previous solo efforts, 2012’s Blunderbuss and 2014’s Lazaretto. Wishlist tunes include the sublime “That Black Bat Licorice,” a stuttering earworm that splits the difference between hip-hop and cabaret, and the contemplative, Zeppelin-esque piano ballad “Hypocritical Kiss.”
The White Stripes
Smartly, White’s setlists don’t skimp on his breakthrough band; staples include the hollering “Hotel Yorba,” heart-pounding anthem “Seven Nation Army” and grungy homage “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground,” along with the primitive garage-blues explosion “Cannon.” One song he inexplicably doesn’t perform as much—but should—is the stomping fuzzbomb “Blue Orchid,” one of the duo’s best tunes. Another early classic, the flashy epic “Hello Operator,” also isn’t a sure bet. Either of these would round out the nostalgic parts of the night quite well.
Although The Raconteurs’ fist-pumping anthem “Steady, as She Goes” is a near-sure setlist bet, that group’s “Salute Your Solution” is rarely played—a shame, as the fiery rocker finds White channeling glammy guitar heroes and classic rock gods alike. He’s understandably a bit more selective about what he plays from The Dead Weather, since that band’s powerhouse vocalist, Alison Mosshart, isn’t with him. Still, White makes an exception for the superlative, soul-fried psychedelic surge “I Cut Like a Buffalo.” Better still would be rearranged renditions of the snarling banshee scream “Treat Me Like Your Mother” and the sparse, simmering garage rocker “Hustle and Cuss,” both of which would fit in well during White’s solo sets.
Jack White recently tackled Pearl Jam’s “Daughter” during his Seattle show, which underscores his range as an artist. Covers-wise, that leaves the possibilities for his Vegas appearance rather wide open. His strutting take on the Little Willie John-popularized “I’m Shakin’” would be a good choice, as would him breaking out a Loretta Lynn or Hank Williams chestnut—or, heck, even a Howlin’ Wolf cover. White’s unpredictable nature has rarely failed him, which bodes well for a good time, no matter what he chooses to play.
JACK WHITE with William Tyler. August 23-24, 8 p.m., $79-$159. The Chelsea, 702-698-7475.