One of the brilliant pieces written by students from The Monthly Masterclass
I'm not sure how I feel about Jack White having an all girl band and an all guy band at his beck and call, that each morning pre-gig neither they nor the audience know who his Whiteness is going to call upon to back him up.
What does gender have to do with rock n roll? They could be hermaphrodites or ducks for all I care, as long as they play amazingly.
Having said that, when Jack White's band of ladies float on stage in powder blue frocks like ghosts of 1910 deep south farm girls I was pleased we got the chick option. In a male dominated band scene its so refreshing to see ladies giving it as good as the guys.
Perhaps White chose his pale ladies to match his own anemic palour, since everything on that stage seemed placed there for a reason - his three powder blue vintage amps, powder blue guitar, slightly darker blue braces and smartly dressed, black-clad roadies wearing trilbies.
It's hard to tell from a distance whether he has whitened his face with make up, but with that american drawl, maniacal smile, painted, sharp features and pasty face its no wonder he's been compared to Johnny Depp's Willy Wonka.
Appreciation for his looks are often polarized: my boyfriend said he would jump the fence for him with his gothic gentleman caller looks, whereas I find him quite creepy, doughy and far from sexy.
Kicking off with White Stripes' favourite Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground, White powered through a well mixed set list of tunes from past outfits including Dead Weather, The Raconteurs and his latest solo album Blunderbuss.
He brought a touch of his hometown of Tennessee to our much maligned Festy hall, filled with violin, double bass, pedal steel, keyboard, piano, drums, acoustic and electric guitar and the lush vocals of his black backing singer who he duets with on the most vicious of love songs, Love Interrupted.
Hotel Yorba took on a dosey-do, barndance feel with its skittering fiddle and White proudly introduced his Hank Williams cover You Know That I Know.
Even those not hugely familiar with his impressive back catalogue would have to see he's come a long way since he started thumping out meat and three veg bluesy-rock nuggets with Meg 15 years ago.
(Where is Meg now? I thought pre-gig, what is she doing? Part of me is a tad suspicious that the softly spoken drummer got chewed up and spat out as he scaled the heights to musical genius.)
For over an hour and a half he and his nameless pale ladies - mumbling some reference to them at the end as the "The Peacocks" - served up great lashings of gospel, rock, blues, country and soft rock in a well polished show.
The one time White spoke more than a few pleasantries was to share a story about an obsessive fan who broke into his bass player's hotel room last time they were on tour in Melbourne. The girl then called White and threatened to commit suicide if she couldn't see him. Later on, he said, she posted something online about how she and Jack had got married. On their return to Melbourne this time she had called White again and again threatened suicide if she couldn't see him, and somehow they found her and carted her off to hospital.
He tied it up with some moralizing about treating others as you would like to be treated, and launched into the Raconteurs song Top Yourself.
I wondered, is this really appropriate? Is this song choice bad taste, and should you be sharing that story for the sake of thousands of fans' entertainment?
Musically the show could not be faulted, although Festy Hall's usually crap sound could. The strength of a six piece band behind the usual two piece White Stripes songs gave them so much grunt my ears were ringing for the rest of the night.
But something about all the contrivance left me cold and detached, with his vintage acoustic guitar scratched just so, the highly styled stage setting, his veneer of cool and cliched American "God bless you all" departing quip.
We walked out into the rain with our beaten happy ears and I couldn't help thinking of that girl who'd supposedly been carted off, who'd become so unstable and obsessed with a persona who was so well crafted he may as well be Willy Wonka.