The White Stripes, Live at the Palace, Melbourne, Australia, October 14th, 2003
to read the full show recap by long-time Stripes enthusiast and expert Mike.
Live sound / recorded by Mattew Kettle
Mixed and mastered by Bill Skibbe, Third Man Mastering Nashville
Recap by Long Time Stripes Enthusiast & Expert, Mike:
Coming on the heels of last month’s premiere of Seven Nation Army at Wolverhampton, this show in Melbourne is the return to the city where the riff was first played, during that infamous soundcheck at the Corner Hotel. This time around, the band are upgraded from a Hotel to a Palace.
This show takes place during the underrated New Zealand-Australia leg of the Elephant tour. The natural point of comparison for this show in Melbourne is the Sydney performance at the Enmore Theatre a few days earlier on 10/10. Whereas that show captured the band out to wow the audience, the energy is at times frantic, with Jack going song to song almost recklessly. If Sydney is the getaway car barreling down the alleyway, crashing through the trashcans, Melbourne is the other side of that coin: the same car, the same driver, but why not take the long way home?
Like Sydney, this show in Melbourne is also a marathon set, clocking in at around 1hr 40min. But whereas Sydney hits most of the familiar numbers from the Elephant live repertoire, with no time to stretch out on any one song too long, this set at Melbourne is less about the inclusion of this song or that song, and more about how the songs themselves get performed just a little bit different. Throughout the set, there are many unique change-ups and extra doses of improvisation here, making for an excellent and relaxed performance
Many of the surprises here are subtle. Listen as Jack moves to the keyboards for the first verse of Dead Leaves, or how I Want To Be the Boy To Warm Your Mother’s Heart gets an extended outro in place of the final verse. Other surprises are more obvious, such as Death Letter getting stretched out to over 10 minutes, including a unique rapid-fire delivery of Motherless Children and adlibs at the end of the song proclaiming “Your mother was a mother now!”, before wrapping with a quote from Little Bird. Cannon gets a unique whispered vocal delivery for the opening verses, before switching out the John The Revelator section with improvised lines inviting the audience to “come into my home” for “something you ain’t never had before”. The fourth wall gets broken again during Look Me Over Closely, with the line “every girl in this room, I’m singing this one to you” before ending the song with a saturated burst on the guitar. The Hardest Button to Button also gets an extended intro and an adlib about a brain that “felt like Pea-nut butter!”. The same songs already played many times on the tour, done just a little different here.
And then there’s the truly unique moments, which includes the where-the-hell-did-that-come-from performance of Caravan by Duke Ellington. Broken Bricks also gets the first known performance since 2002, with yet more of those whispered vocals and a “slow version” treatment, before setting up an excellent Small Faces and yet another one-time-only cover, this time Love Me by Elvis Presley - complete with adlibbed Buddy Holly style vocals. So yeah, not your typical Elephant show. Other nuggets include Jack playing some lines from the Peter Gunn Theme during Jack the Ripper, the audience singing the verses during I Just Don’t Know What To Do With Myself, and the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it quote from Wichita Lineman during Seven Nation Army, before closing out with Boll Weevil to bring this one home.