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White Stripes rock Yellowknife

Adam Johnson
Northern News Services
Friday, June 29, 2007

YELLOWKNIFE - On Tuesday night, Yellowknifers produced more noise, more cheers and more sweat than any band playing the North has ever seen.

But they had good reason, as Detroit rockers the White Stripes hit the Multiplex with a fury in front of a sold-out crowd of 2,300.

NNSL Photo/Graphic

Jack White of the White Stripes rocked a sold-out crowd of more than 2,300 people at the Multiplex in Yellowknife Tuesday night. The show was part of the platinum-selling Detroit duo's plan to play every province and territory in Canada. - Adam Johnson/NNSL photo

The superstar two-piece played a blistering hour-and-a-half set at the venue, marking off another notch in their promise to play every territory and province in Canada on their current world tour.

The responses from the audience says it all:

"It was awesome," said William Miller.

"It was lovely," said Shawn McCann.

"I thought it was amazing," said Katie Hickey. "I don't think you could use a better word to describe it."

Organizer Gary Hubert with Aurora Productions had only one word: "Wow."

He said he was tickled with how the show came together, though working in tandem with a promotion company as large as House of Blues (which represents the Stripes) cost him a lot of sleep.

"(Tomorrow) I'm taking the day off," he said with a laugh, leaning on the front end of a cube van.

"We'll never get another band like this," he added, and he might be right.

The White Stripes have won numerous Grammys, have sold millions of albums and their latest - Icky Thump - is currently number one in the U.K.

The show gave Yellowknifers a taste of a big-city concert production, a trend organizers were hoping to take to Iqaluit Wednesday.

The band was scheduled to play the Arctic Winter Games Arena in Iqaluit on Wednesday, performing in a city whose population (6,000) is less than the attendance of many of their shows. Lucie Idlout was slated to open that show.

In Yk, the band played an impromptu set at the Wildcat Café Tuesday evening in front a packed crowd.

Yellowknife's own Anthony Foliot had the honour of ferrying the group around town, showing them the sights and sounds of the capital.

"Radical," was the way Foliot characterized the day, with a smile that said the rest.

Yellowknife rockers Diga opened the Multiplex show, a gesture front man Jesse James Gon said was a huge honour.

"I would have done it for free," he said.

The crowd was receptive to its home-grown talent, cheering on the band through Bare Hands and other tracks from their new CD, Forest Fire.

"That was the most intense 30 minutes of my life," Gon said while mopping himself off in his dressing room.

The main act was no slouch either. For about two hours, drummer Meg White and guitarist/vocalist Jack White pounded through hits and album tracks with wild abandon. The less-is-more duo switched between drums, vocals, keyboards and percussion, as the crowd sang and jumped in time.

The crowd had been whipped into a frenzy by the time Seven Nation Army, the band's best-known hit, rang out of the speakers. Sweat misted off the bodies rolling over the crowd, bringing the heat in the venue to a peak.

As a closing touch, Jack White came back onto the stage bearing a massive Northwest Territories flag. And he continued to carry it, off the stage, behind the rink's Plexiglas, and into the band's dressing room.

- with files from Jessica Klinkenberg