Fans wait hours for surprise Jack White concert in Anchorage
Updated: Mon. April 20, 2015 at 11 PM
Jack White, former White Stripes singer and guitarist, announced on his website Monday morning that he would be playing an acoustic show at UAA’s 910-seat Wendy Williamson Auditorium.
This was White’s first performance in Alaska and it came on the tail end of his recent world tour promoting the album “Lazarreto.”
According to a post on his website, White has embarked on an acoustic tour, performing in “the only five states left in the U.S. that he has yet to play,” including Alaska. The post also says he’ll be “taking a break from performing live for a long period of time” following this brief acoustic tour.
Monday morning, hundreds of people braved an April show shower for a chance to see the former White Stripes front man perform for just $3.
“It’s probably the cheapest, best concert I’ll ever see in Alaska for sure,” said Janelle Fei, who was one of the first people in line. “He’s just an awesome guy. I think he’s one of the most talented musicians of my generation.”
White announced the acoustic, pop-up show online at 8 a.m. Monday.
“I saw it posted on his website so I grabbed the baby, grabbed the bag and headed over,” said Fei. “Got here around 8:15, and there were about six people in line before me.”
White’s announcement that he’d take a long hiatus from music is one one of the reasons why more than 1,000 people flocked to the UAA campus to stand in line for tickets, though there were only about 900 available.
The last-minute, Monday announcement meant a lot of people had to call in sick to work or skip school.
“My biology class is literally right in there,” said UAA sophomore Paul Melian, pointing to the Wendy Williamson Auditorium behind him. “I only have one class today. I also called off of work.”
“I had to call my boss and be like, ‘Please can I have the day off?’” said Indy Converse, as she played cards at the front of the line. “I can’t call in sick, because I’ll get fired if they find out I was here.”
Doors opened at noon and concertgoers happily handed over their three bucks in exchange for a wristband — no ticket scalping here; any sign of tampering and the wristband was deemed invalid.
The show started slightly behind the scheduled time of 8:30 p.m. as staff worked meticulously to ensure every last seat in the auditorium was filled.
When the lights finally dimmed, excitement inside reached it’s peak. The stage setup was simple:
- Four performers: Jack White, Fats Kaplin, Lillie Mae Rische and Dominic Davis
- Four ribbon microphones
- Acoustic instruments, including: a guitar, bass, mandolin, dobro, banjo, fiddle and violin
- Blue-lit streetlights
- An American flag and an Alaska flag
The music was a mix of new and old material from White’s library. Interlaced between songs was a bit of heartfelt storytelling and some humor from the former White Stripes frontman.
At the end of the show, White stepped to the front of the stage, off-microphone and invited the entire crowd of roughly 900 people to join him in a chorus of “Goodnight Irene.”
When the song was over, the crowd cheered, clapped and hollered as White said, “God Bless you, you’ve been incredible. And I’ve been Jack White” and walked off stage.
If you were in the audience Monday evening, it’s likely you’ll be talking about this show for some time. If you missed it, you have 4 more chances to see it — albeit outside of Alaska — before White takes a break from performing.
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