White Stripes visit the Great White North

The White Stripes 2007 Canadian tour DVD a must see

by Chris Pike

The White Stripes’ new DVD Under Great White Northern Lights documents the band’s tour of Canada after the release of their 2007 album Icky Thump.
The DVD begins with the Jack and Meg White playing a literal One-Note Show in Burnaby, British Columbia. They then get on a plane to Whitehorse, Yukon. After that they travel to Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories and then to Iqaluit, Nunavut and then to Halifax, Nova Scotia, with the DVD finishing with their tenth anniversary show in Glace Bay, Nova Scotia.

While the tour also featured much larger cities like Montreal and Toronto that isn’t the point of the DVD.

What Jack and Meg are trying to achieve on this tour according to Jack is “hard work.”

“We don’t want to be the same band playing boring arena sets for enormous crowds. Don’t get me wrong we love our fans, but smaller shows are more fun and more intimate and that’s what we’re about,” Jack White said in an interview on the DVD.

You’ll definitely agree that smaller shows are more fun as you watch The White Stripes play their songs in unbelievable places like a Saskatoon bowling alley or even a bus in Winnipeg. These shoes have just as much energy and vibrancy as any stadium show.

What is best about the DVD is not only the incredible live music by the band, but the aesthetics of how the DVD is made. Most shows are either black and white or have a red filter, keeping with The White Stripes’ style.

The music is not to be overlooked  though. Meg’s drumming keeps up with Jack’s feverish guitar playing during songs like “Catch Hell Blues” and “Icky Thump”. The bands perfect chemistry is also seen in the slower songs like “I’m Slowly Turning into You” and “I Just Don’t Know what To Do With Myself”. Meg keeps the heavy percussion coming on these songs, while Jack’s blues background shines in perfect harmony with her.

What’s also fun about Under Great White Northern Lights is the audience being able to see Jack and Meg’s reaction to their performance after the show. At times Jack comforts Meg on what she’s considered a bad show telling her she was “unquestionably on her game tonight.” And other times when Jack is spouting off about how his tempos were off and he played sloppily, Meg gives him a look conveys how much she disagrees with him being overly critical. This is another part of the bands chemistry which longtime fans will definitely enjoy seeing.

One of the most memorable moments from Under Great White Northern Lights is when Jack and Meg are playing “We’re Going to Be Friends” of the album White Blood Cells while walking together on a beach in Iqaluit. The scene is filmed in black and white and really captures the intimacy with the audience that Jack said he was aiming for.

Jack and Meg play sensational shows throughout the entire DVD that fans of the band will enjoy immensely and may even convert a few who were on the fence or had never taken the time to give them a chance. Under Great White Northern Lights is an incredible experience should not be missed.

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