Only a Jack White show would start by having the audience sign away their rights and internal organs, slip on a hospital gown and surgical mask before being ushered into a smoke-filled quarantine room and culminate with the leading man being rushed away in an ambulance. And that’s exactly the course that Jack White’s secret show in London took.
You see, the title of White’s latest record, Lazaretto, is actually a reference to quarantine stations, usually used for maritime travellers, that hold people with infectious diseases. White has always had a proclivity towards theatrics and so armed with this knowledge and with a little assistance from the local Punchdrunk Theatre Group, who have also worked with Damon Albarn, the blues musician transformed a London office block into the Vescovo & Co medical clinic.
As reported by The Guardian, fans who managed to following clues online and registered to be tested for “contagious and infectious diseases” were invited to a late-night appointment at the “clinic” where they were first subjected to physical and psychological tests by actors dressed as doctors and nurses.
After one patient was found to be “infected,” the audience were ushered into a confined quarantine room and it was then that White and his band appeared onstage for a 30-minute set. According to The Guardian, highlights included a rendition of Lazaretto’s title track, The White Stripes’ Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground and St. James Infirmary Blues plus a cover of Son House’s John the Revelator.
White then reportedly fell to the floor convulsing and was stretchered off and carted to an ambulance. The audience were ushered back onto the street, still in their gowns and in possession of “Prescriptions from Jack” – certificates signed by Doctor John A White III of Vescovo & Co, that offered handwritten medical advice, including “Be sure to eat your Ovaltine” and “Pet a horse”.
Image via: Third Man Records