The White Stripes

Orpheum Theatre

Boston, MA

Apr 20, 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 

4/20/03 Boston

Orpheum Theatre


Originally broadcast on the radio, Boston would be the first time that many fans would get to hear the new songs from Elephant performed live. Even though parts of the band’s opening concert from London had been broadcast a few weeks earlier, the performance from Boston is the one that feels like the proper return to the stage, especially given how accessible the show would be to fans. The concert at the Orpheum was the band’s second show this Easter Sunday, as they had also performed a brief set earlier in the afternoon for a group of contest winners at the nearby Paradise. For as familiar as this show is, it’s amazing when you realize how many risks the band took on this night. After the opening trio of Black Math, Dead Leaves, and Let’s Shake Hands, the first surprise arrives during I Think I Smell A Rat, with a cover of Party of Special Things to Do by Captain Beefheart, a rarity released as a 7 inch a few years before, but only played live a handful of times. You can hear Jack call out for the bass drum pattern “boom, boom, boom, boom…” just before kicking off the verses. This spontaneity can also be heard in the version of You’re Pretty Good Looking, with Jack pausing after the first verse to shout “gimme a click, Meg!”, singing the rest of the lyrics in the swing style that he would use at other shows throughout the year. Even though it was still early in the tour, the new songs were also getting updated, which you can hear in the performance of The Hardest Button to Button, with the vocals having shifted away from the deadpan delivery heard on the album to an all-out scream. Death Letter features the quote from Motherless Children before abruptly closing, indicating that something must have happened with the guitar. Rather than attempt a restart, Jack moves to the keyboards and performs an impromptu cover of Red Bird, an on-the-fly debut of the Leadbelly song.  The show gets to a truly unique moment with the debut of Don’t Blame Me, an homage to one of Jack’s key influences, Flat Duo Jets.  A special occasion, given that Duo Jets’ singer and guitarist Dex Romweber was the opener on this night, performing as part of a new duo with his sister Sara. Just like the show with Loretta Lynn in New York the night before, Boston is one of the few times when the band would get to share a bill with one of their musical idols.  A week later they would do it again, opening for the Stooges at Coachella.  As they close the show, the band go out on a high note, leaving the audience and the listeners wanting more, with Jack holding back laughter as he leads the crowd to the final verse in Boll Weevil.



Setlist at Orpheum Theatre, Boston, MA on Apr 20, 2003

Set One

Black Math 175


Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground 177


Let’s Shake Hands 116


I Think I Smell a Rat 62


The Party Of Special Things To Do 39


I Think I Smell A Rat (Reprise) 97


Jolene 242


The Hardest Button to Button 233


Look Me Over Closely 138


Apple Blossom 127


You’re Pretty Good Looking (For a Girl) 114


In The Cold, Cold Night 201


Death Letter 393


Motherless Children 81


Red Bird 134


Fell In Love With a Girl 69


Don't Blame Me 195


Hotel Yorba 144


Lord, Send Me An Angel 165


Ball And Biscuit 343


Astro 96


Jack the Ripper 306


Seven Nation Army 267


Boll Weevil 231


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