“KICK OUT THE JAMS, MOTHERFUCKERS,” comes that classic call to action from MC5 over The Park Stage’s speakers as thousands fill the field for Jack White’s somewhat less-than-secret set. Crawling up the hill while missing out on the diva tones of Diana Ross‘ legends’ slot to get a decent spot, these Glastonbury-goers don’t seem to need telling.
These surprise Park show sets are the stuff of legend, with the likes of Pulp, Foals and Radiohead’s Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood having previously made history on this stage. As White kicks into gnarled up opener ‘Taking Me Back’, it’s clear that he’s hell-bent on rocking his way into Glasto history as well. The title track of recent record ‘Fear Of The Dawn’ sizzles with an acidic Zeppelin ferocity, before a full-bodied outing of ‘Dead Leaves On The Dirty Ground’ gets a reaction as strong as when The White Stripes played it here back when they headlined the Pyramid Stage back in 2005.
The blue-haired troubadour adds a touch of spice and jazzy flirtations to these classics – giving ‘Love Interruption’ more of a bounce in the chorus, laying layers of sweet jams on ‘Ball And Biscuit’ and somehow giving ‘Hotel Yorba’ more joyous quirks. From a beastly ‘Lazaretto’ to a mean rendition of The Dead Weather’s ‘Cut Like A Buffalo’ and almighty sing-and-clap-along to The Raconteurs’ ‘Steady, As She Goes’, the bangers and fan favourites seem relentless – with White’s showmanship and craving to entertain channelling the spirit of that all-too-often rumoured Prince secret set that never was.
He gets us briefly curious when he introduces his recent single ‘Love Is Selfish’ as “a new song I wrote two and half days ago… I don’t remember the name of it.” Cheeky Jack. “Have I asked you that many favours today, Glastonbury?,” he later asks in that legendary Detroit squawk. “Can I ask you a favour right now – can you sing along?” Oh, go on then.
Someone, somewhere is always singing ‘Seven Nation Army’ anyway, so experiencing the universal celebratory bellowing to that riff won’t ever be less than a unifying delight. It takes a great to write a riff as a chorus, and we’ll be screaming all night now. “Thank you very much Glastonbury,” he ends before the band take a bow, “you’ve been incredible and I’ve been Jack White” – ending another one of those most special of Glasto happenings: the ‘I was there moment’.
Jack White played:
‘Taking Me Back’
‘Fear of the Dawn’
‘Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground’
‘Love is Selfish’
‘I Cut Like a Buffalo’
‘What’s the Trick?’
‘I’m Slowly Turning Into You’
‘You Don’t Understand Me’
‘Ball and Biscuit’
‘Steady, as She Goes’
‘Seven Nation Army’
Check back at NME here for the latest news, reviews, interviews, photos and more from Glastonbury 2022.