The White Stripes


Berlin, GER

May 19, 2003

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About Formats
About Formats
Show Notes
live sound by Matthew Kettle
mixed and mastered by Bill Skibbe at Third Man Mastering 

5/19/03 Berlin



Just as the broadcast from Boston felt like the band’s official return to the stage, the way they sounded on the broadcast from Berlin was as if they’d suddenly hit their live peak. Having been moved from the Casino to the larger Columbiahalle due to demand, the band’s setlist is similarly expanded here, a masterful 30+ song display. Coming just weeks after the breakout shows in April and the exploratory performances in Scandinavia, Berlin takes the Elephant set and firmly baselines it into a 90 minute powerhouse. Like watching a racehorse lap effortlessly around the track, over and over, they just sound so healthy here. From the whammy-and-feedback opening in Dead Leaves and The Dirty Ground to the final singalong in Boll Weevil, you get the full course – a virtual blueprint for the rest of the Elephant tour. The Hardest Button To Button gets a unique spot near the top of the set just after the openers, which extends the energy rush to great effect. Listen for the ad libbed line “Beating up Swanson and Damstra with a baseball bat!”, a funny reference to tourmates Whirlwind Heat during the marathon version of I Think I Smell A Rat, which also features When I Hear My Name, Take a Whiff On Me, and Mr Cellophane, now in its official live arrangement - complete with Jack letting the audience know when it's time to adjust the rhythm of their clapping.  After an excellent Hypnotize, Jack introduces the band to the audience with an appropriate “Hot and sweaty in Berlin!”. Death Letter follows and is just about perfect, complete with Jack yelling “Let’s go Meg!” which she responds to by joining him in a run that culminates with a fantastic burst on the kick drum. This sets up Grinnin' In Your Face, one of the first times that listeners had ever heard the band perform the Son House song live.  Again, just about perfect. There are performance highlights all over this show, including the adlib of “I can tell that we are going to be friends...Berlin, Berlin, Berlin” and the nod to Burt Bacharach and Marlene Dietrich before Look Me Over Closely. Even the out of tune guitar that pops up during the transition from Let’s Build A Home into Goin’ Back to Memphis still ends up resulting in a wonderful improvisation that they use to push through and close the main set. The encores play out like a continuous medley, including a complete version of Fell In Love With A Girl, the rare occurrence when they played the song in full. Having also used the soundcheck to record the future B-side cover of Soledad Brothers’ St Ides Of March, on this night they really could do no wrong.  Do yourself a favor and fall in love with Berlin all over again, a mandatory performance from the Elephant tour.



Setlist at Columbiahalle, Berlin, GER on May 19, 2003

Set One

Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground 191


Black Math 174


The Hardest Button to Button 225


Jolene 208


I Think I Smell a Rat 17


When I Hear My Name 106


I Think I Smell A Rat (Reprise) 14


Take a Whiff On Me 67


I Think I Smell A Rat (second reprise) 52


Mr. Cellophane 77


I Think I Smell A Rat (third reprise) 88


Hypnotize 144


Death Letter 281


Grinnin' In Your Face 126


Seven Nation Army 223


I Want To Be The Boy To Warm Your Mother's Heart 208


In The Cold, Cold Night 188


You’re Pretty Good Looking (For a Girl) 101


Hello Operator 163


The Big Three Killed My Baby 172


We're Going To Be Friends 139


Offend In Every Way 174


Apple Blossom 129


Ball And Biscuit 343


I Just Don’t Know What to Do With Myself 163


Look Me Over Closely 145


Let’s Shake Hands 144


I Fought Piranhas 204


Let's Build A Home 83


Goin’ Back to Memphis 402


Sugar Never Tasted So Good 169


Fell In Love With a Girl 112


Astro 98


Jack the Ripper 68


Screwdriver 239


Boll Weevil 233


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