The White Stripes reformed, if that's the word, for Conan O'Brien's last-show-for-some-time yesterday evening.
Judging by the YouTube comments (I know that's a bad idea at the best of times, but sometimes you have to break down and look) it didn't universally wow the masses. It was an intense, but quiet, version of We Are Going to Be Friends, played with a nod to Conan O'Brien's favorite lullaby. I thought Jack White was about to cry. Clearly it was carefully chosen for the occasion, and it worked well for Conan, who who leaned over to Jack and said, "That means the world to me."
Meg for some reason was not personning the drums but instead strumming a striking red and white Truetone guitar played through a Fulltone tte echo unit to supply a rhythm that was part guitar and part percussive. The analoguefullness was terrific - and signalled early on, as while Conan was still introducing the band you could hear the portentous hum of classic amplification. One wonders if the TV crew tried to get rid of it and couldn't or if they were asked to leave it alone. I love that electric crackle, the sound of a rock band about to manifest.
I've listened to it a few times now and the way they chose to perform this has really grown on me. I thought it was wonderful. I'm not sure why Conan moving two thousand miles west is an occasion for quite such a lot of emotion, though. He himself was a bit choked up when he thanked his producer, soundman, applause-button guy, dog, God, his mother etc at the end of the show. In fact my PVR recording cut off, he took so long over it.
We Are Going to Be Friends, 02/20/2009
(c) Philip K Dick