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Jack White Stage Banter, Ranked

by Rob Slater on April 21, 2015

As of this week, Jack White is officially out of our lives. The Lazaretto tour is over with just a few unannounced acoustic shows left before White takes a hiatus from touring. Who knows when we'll see him next, but damn if these last 18 months weren't among the most entertaining we've seen.

Over this tour, we saw White jam with Robert Plant and Q-Tip. He went to a bunch of baseball games and had anywhere from a great time with Eddie Vedder and Paul Simon to an absolutely miserable time. The man even got his own baseball card! University of Oklahoma leaked his rider, Rolling Stone wronged him, The Black Keys feud was reignited and So. Much. More.

On stage, though, White was a force. Fully asserting himself as the marquee rockstar in the world, leveling crowds of thousands with new cuts from his latest Lazaretto as well as material from The White Stripes, Dead Weather and The Raconteurs. He displayed the versatility to hammer a headlining set at Bonnaroo and then gracefully pay homage to Pete Seeger at Newport Folk Fest. Then there was Chicago, where he played his longest show ever. Jack White made Hank Williams covers appointment viewing, and not a race to the beer line. He did it his way while still keeping audiences enthralled because you never knew what was coming next.

And the banter, oh the banter. You can't put a ticket price on some of the nuggets that came out of White's mouth. Some hilarious, some insightful, but all with a purpose and a meaning. Let's take you through White's tour by ranking some of his greatest on-stage banter moments.

15. Shoutouts

Banner Tour for on-stage shoutouts. Throughout the Lazaretto tour, White could be found doling out props to guys like Nick Cave, St. Vincent, Run the Jewels, Zack De La Rocha, Talib Kweli, Arctic Monkeys, Run DMC, Kurtis Blow, Elvis Presley, Tammy Wynette, Robert Johnson, Hank Williams and many more. If you're living and didn't get some love, reconsider your position in life.

14. “I played so many times at the Empty Bottle, it’s ridiculous.”

This is funny because a quick Setlist.fm search yields three stops at the tiny Chicago venue in the early 2000's. Surely there were more.....right?

13. “Are you with me or against me?”

A calling card for White at nearly every one of his shows over the past two years. This is sort of a great central theme for his Lazaretto tour. You were either with him or against him, there was no middle ground. One of the things that makes him one of the last true rock stars.

12. “You’ve been incredible, and I’ve been Jack White.”

What a great sign-off. Put everything in the past tense. It begs the question, who the hell is he off-stage? Jim White? John White? These are the answers we need.

11. Re: Authenticity “Let’s get rid of that word.”

Okay. From now on we will not acknowledge the word "authenticity."

10. “Authenticity is a phantom that will suck the blood out of you.”

See?

9. “I’m glad I didn’t have something better to do.”

White's epic Bonnaroo set will surely be brought up in the decades that follow as one of the best ever played at the Manchester, TN fest, but his banter that night equalled his playing. Before "Steady, As She Goes," White spoke about the likes of Johnny Depp and Albert Einstein not having something better to do than realize their potential. He also brought up the moon, Detroit, Nashville, and so much more.

8. “Put your fucking phones down for five seconds!”

You don't even need to know which Indio, CA festival spawned this comment.

7. “Is it even okay to talk to strangers at OU?”

Oh, Jack White and Oklahoma. The gift that kept on giving for several weeks. The story itself was utterly ridiculous, but was enough to be addressed on stage. /insert guacamole joke here

6. “I know only six more songs.”

You silly liar, Jack White. It should also be noted that he walked on stage at this very show with a Chicago Cubs jersey on and a "kick me" sign on the back.

5. “Who makes music happen?”

5a. “If everyone could, in this whole stadium, please go to RollingStone.com tomorrow. They've paid me zero dollars to plug them so make sure they get at least a million mouse clicks tomorrow.”

5b. “That number again, RollingStone.com, brought to you by the Kardashian family. Fifteen outfits that will blow your mind that Taylor Swift wore this month. Ten reasons why RollingStone.com didn't cover the Newport Folk Festival for 50 years straight.”

White waged war with Rolling Stone at several points in his tour. It started at Bonnaroo with White calling the publication a "tabloid" after a particularly tabloid-y cover story and then continued in Boston where he unloaded the clip with (his words) a Kanye-like rant. Much like Jack, I too am being paid zero dollars to plug Rolling Stone.

4. “I got arrested in this suit once.”

And it just happened last night!

3. “Forget looking for authenticity, I myself once walked into a Wal-Mart store!”

A Wal-Mart greeter walking up to Jack White is appointment viewing.

2. “Do any of you ladies want to get married tonight? I don’t think you understand. Do any of you ladies want to get married to me tonight?”

I mean, this one speaks for itself. Greatness.

1. “Music is sacred!”

Amen. Godspeed, Jack. Come back soon. Watch the birth of "music is sacred" from this past weekend at Coachella where White turned "Seven Nation Army" into a fucking call to arms.

Authors: Rob Slater

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