There should be a word in the English language for “the feeling of euphoria when very high expectations are totally met on many levels.” Satisfaction? Elation? Whatever that word is, it’s the one that describes the experience of seeing Jack White last Wednesday night at Edgefield Amphitheater. (This will be at least a three-part series, maybe more. I really have to do it justice).
Back in April or May I heard “High Ball Stepper” and was completely floored by its intensity and electricity. A couple of weeks later Mr White released the single “Lazaretto” and I started hearing it on the radio. Very exciting every time. After that release I resolved to get Lazaretto on vinyl and have a listen party. After the listen party and getting to know the stunning genius of that album, seeing Jack White on tour this summer became a must.
I got to the venue around an hour and a half before the doors opened, planning on getting my usual perfect spot – about ten positions back from the stage, front and center or slightly to one side. Once I and a few of my mellow fellow concertgoers found the beginning of the line, the path then took us deep into the historic property of the Multnomah County Poor Farm where now a golf course and luxury lodge sit. We snaked up around and down and back and up again for what seemed like at least a mile before we could find a place where there weren’t already disembodied beach/lawn chairs set up holding the spots of people far more ambitious than we were (and we thought pretty highly of ourselves for getting there over an hour early!)
So once we found the end of the line and claimed our spots, it started to sink in that I’m standing in the Oregon wilderness on a dirt path, surrounded by thickets of wild blackberries with the Columbia Gorge just across the ridge, about to see what I hoped would be one of the most epic rock shows of my life. Standing there in the sun with hundreds of other people there for the same reason was one of those “this is why I am alive” moments. I chatted for a little while with a Portlander about my being from Texas, our mutual time spent overseas and excitement about seeing Jack. We basically just traded a lot of smiles and affirming nods about why we were both there.
Once the line started moving, it became easier to tolerate the less mellow bro-dudes behind me talking about not even knowing Jack’s two most recent albums, and then educating anyone within earshot about how “these other guys called the Black Keys” are the only thing that comes close to Jack White these days. Like, do you really think we haven’t also heard of the Black Keys if we’re here to see Jack White? But you ignore what you can and focus on the good things….
..Like the Edgefield staff keeping the line moving very quickly, and the fact that once I got inside the venue my efforts to show up early completely paid off. I got my perfect spot, texted my soon-to-arrive wife about the good news, and then had only other hour or so to wait until music would start.
..Like hearing the mid-20s gal behind me in line talk about having bought tickets to the Seattle show first because the Portland show wasn’t announced yet, and then she just never sold the Seattle ticket to anyone else. At $65 a piece after fees, that’s dedication.
..Like the late 40s guy print-at-home ticket holder who, as we approached the gate, asked an obviously late teens girl about how she got an actual traditional ticket and she said “Yeah I signed up for the fan club, the chat room, and everything so they sent me the physical ticket.” Awesome.
..Like not getting hassled for my slightly larger bag and blanket I brought to help hold my coveted spot.
..Like when I showed up to my spot, the guy and gal next to me enjoyed instant rapport when I said to the guy “Hey, I’m tall, but I’ll just be right next to you all night, not in front, cool?” “Cool man – Jack White, am I right!??” Awesome.
..Like overhearing the phone conversation of another late 20s-ish gal from Birmingham who flew to his San Francisco show a few days ago, went back home and then, in her words “could not stop dreaming about Jack White” and so somehow found tickets through a mutual friend business contact to the sold out show and then flew back up to Portland. She called it “the ultimate carpe diem decision.” I couldn’t agree more, and it just added to the huge amount of good vibes already pulsing through the amphitheater.