The White Stripes make live return in Nashville

Jack and Meg play first gig together in two years

The White Stripes made their live return last night (May 18) at The Cannery Ballroom in Jack White‘s new hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.

Announced less than 48 hours prior, the pre-tour show sold out in less than five minutes with fans ecstatic to see the duo perform for the first time since December 2005 – and the first time in Nashville since 2001.

Without an introduction, The White Stripes quietly took the stage and quickly began with a cover of Hank Williams Sr’s ‘Tennessee Border’, a fact not lost on the Tennessee crowd, who hooped and hollered their approval.

As usual the entire stage was done up in red, white and black, a theme that went so far as to include the stage hands who wore black fedoras with red feathers – and even the lighting woman, who had dyed her hair red.

Meg White wore a black and white polka dot dress with a red and white polka dot scarf while Jack wore a plain black t-shirt with red trousers and had cut his hair in a way that recalled his looks on the cover of second album ‘De Stijl’, possibly in an homage to the band’s tenth anniversary.

Before launching into the title track for their forthcoming album ‘Icky Thump’, Jack asked the crowd “How’s my new hometown doing?” to an overwhelming response, but after that the duo got down to business, pounding their way through a set cherry picked from their five album back catalogue, as well as a few covers, including a crowd pleasing version of Dolly Parton‘s ‘Jolene’.

The band did showcase several new songs from the forthcoming ‘Icky Thump’ including the acoustic, country-leaning ‘Effect And Cause’ and the downbeat story song ‘I’A a Martyr For My Love For You’.

However the band had to struggle through some sound issues and an increasingly chatty crowd, which even saw the duo cut one new song, ‘I’m Slowly Turning Into You’, off after just one verse.

After ending the set with ‘Wasting My Time’, a smiling Jack returned to the stage for the encore armed with a Polaroid camera which he pointed at Meg and then the crowd before launching into a headbanging version of ‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground’.

The frontman then told the crowd, “We’ve heard from Hank and we’ve heard from Dolly“, before adding “there’s one more” the pair needed to cover in order to complete the Tennessee song cycle.

They then launched into Loretta Lynn‘s Rated X’, featuring Meg handling some off-key vocals, to the delight of the crowd.

After that Jack announced “Now we’ve blessed our first show in Tennessee” before ending the show with a raucous version of ‘Seven Nation Army’.

The White Stripes played:

‘Tennessee Border’

‘When I Hear My Name’

‘Black Math’

‘Do’

‘Cause And Effect’

‘Jolene’

‘Death Letter/Motherless Children’

‘Hotel Yorba’

‘I’m A Martyr For My Love For You’

‘Cannon/John The Revelator’

‘Ball And Biscuit’

‘I’m Slowly Turning Into You’

‘We’re Going To Be Friends’

‘Apple Blossom’

‘Wasting My Time’

‘Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground’

‘Rated X’

‘Seven Nation Army’

The band are now set to make their return on record exclusively with NME.

An exclusive seven-inch single of new album track ‘Rag And Bone’ will come free with our issue that is out on June 6 and will be the first place in the world the band’s new material will be available physically.

So make sure you get your issue of NME. Details of how overseas readers will be able to order this special edition will appear on NME.COM soon.