The White Stripes The Orpheum Theatre, Vancouver BC — August 8, 2005

With a bizarre curtained backdrop depicting a giant apple hanging like a full moon over a tropical sunset, the White Stripes took to the stage with an energetic vigour despite this being their second of two back-to-back performances at the Orpheum. After barely a glance at the appreciative audience, Jack took off like a tornado gathering momentum, starting with a slightly manic version of "Dead Leaves," the cheerful, thumping "You Got A Reaction" and a fantastic version of Bob Dylan's "Love Sick," tapping at the bass piano while showcasing his yowling to delicate alto vocal range. With the exception of a playful tambourine and banjo-fuelled "Little Ghost" and catchy "My Doorbell," the Stripes stuck faithfully to most of the material off their first two albums. Despite her grade-school style of drumming, it was a treat to realise that Meg is easily a talent in her own right, driving home the raucous rhythm of "Hotel Yorba" alongside Jack's signature slide-guitar noodling as he detuned guitars with the skill of a master amateur. No doubt he is a gifted musician but his technical skill is overshadowed by his flair, and it's a refreshing sight indeed. He's fun and off the hook, not posed head-down in concentration on finger placement. Jack and Meg's ability to play off each other is either finely tuned or completely improvisational - Jack's body language and Meg's spot-on timing gave the impression they didn't necessarily have a plan, which turned the posh theatre into more of a vicarious practice space. After an encore that could inflate the most humble of egos, they returned to the stage for another handful of songs where finally Jack managed a smile and some crowd interaction, finishing off with a signature happy-but-down-on-my-luck Stripes tune, "Bo Weevil," singing, "You tell 'em it's Jackie White, he's just been here and gone," to which the giddy audience responded on mass, "They're all lookin' for a home!"