No band amalgamated the array of Bonnaroo’s signature sounds — blues, guitar virtuosity, indelibly American rock’n’roll — quite like the Raconteurs in their Friday evening set. They truly opened the festival’s massive What Stage for business, flaunting their rather sterling credentials authoritatively from the first licks of “Consoler of the Lonely” (see video below).
With locks trickling down his pasty cheeks and wrapped in a sweat-inducing nudie suit jacket, Jack White stormed onstage, asserting his hegemonic bandleader role from the get go. Watching White prance about, hollering orders to his cohorts felt a bit unseemly at times, like he was a copper-plated guitar-wielding evil stepsister manipulating a band full of Cinderellas. And those Cinderellas are entirely able in their own right, particularly head sidekick Brendan Benson, whose soulful croon and devilish guitar work spruced up new material like the drippingly succulent “Rich Kid’s Blues” off this year’s Consolers of the Lonely.
Here’s a taste of the Raconteurs’ set-opener: