I read this really good book awhile ago. It was called Federer and Me, by William Skidelsky, and it was sort of a biography about the tennis player, Roger Federer, but it was mostly about Skidelsky's obsession with the tennis player, and more than that, it was a reflection on obsession itself. What does it mean to be a super-fan? What did it mean, for Skidelsky to go watch Federer play while his wife was in the hospital delivering their first child? What does it mean that she not only anticipated that, but encouraged it?
I don't think obsession is something only one person can hold. For example, back in October when news broke that 1996 cinema masterpiece Twister would be getting a sequel - tentatively titled Twisters (lol) people popped up out of the woodwork to share that news with me. People I hadn't talked to in years remembered that I was obsessed, that obsession in some way effected them, and here we are, years later, talking about a blockbuster movie about an unlikely storm cell and how it rekindled a love gone cold. Another, perhaps more pertinent example, would be that Jack White released two new studio albums and went on a cartoonishly large world tour this year. The first handful of times I left Ben at home to go do something that wasn't work or getting him diapers or us food, was to wait in line outside of Third Man Records Cass Corridor for some Jack White vinyl, or, twice in one weekend, to see Jack White open the Supply Chain Issues Tour at the Masonic Temple. There wasn't really much conversation about it; Rachel knew I was going, I knew I was going, so I went. I like to think I made it up to her staying up a little extra in the nights leading up to, and after, those shows. But I also like to think she was happy to see me happy. Even after we left Detroit, friends in the orbit of my obsession were running down to the record store to get exclusive copies of singles, of albums, of printed lyric hymnals (thank you Aunt Nicole, Ayah, and others!). Shit, my local record store dude even staged some pictures of me and a very special Jack White fan at Spoonful.
This is all to say, I'm glad my obsession isn't a secret, I'm glad everybody I know who knows me is in on it, because I really, really am obsessed with Jack White, but I'm also obsessed with the love of my friends and family. Its nice to live with both.
It should be a surprise to exactly nobody that I really, really liked April's Fear of the Dawn and July's Entering Heaven Alive, but that wasn't what I spent most of 2022 listening to. Here's the part where I sound like I'm doing a sponsored post, and I wish I was! because I'd love to get some free shit just for writing about the music I am obsessed with! but I'm not, I promise this is genuine. A few years ago Jack White got into the Nugs.net universe of high quality concert "bootlegs" available to stream or purchase. At first, Nugs was a good place for obscure White Stripes shows (many of which I wrote about a few months ago) and digital version of otherwise vinyl-only Vault releases. Now, the platform itself sucks: the app is slow, the website is prehistoric, but on April 8th, when I was leaving the Masonic Temple having seen Jack White debut new songs, propose to Olivia Jean during "Hotel Yorba" and then come back to marry her during the show's encore, I was handed a postcard with a Nugs.net code on it making the bold claim that all of the Supply Chain Issues World Tour would be archived on Nugs for your listening pleasure. Holy shit. Obviously I couldn't chase the tour like I did in 2018, but now I could listen to every single Jack White live show in the comfort of my home, my car, or my headphones? Holy shit, yes. And sure enough, my old ritual of checking what crazy deep cuts Jack would pull out in setlists each morning-after became sending Rachel off to work and listening to the newest show's bootleg with Ben throughout the day. I was ignoring new music, old music, skipping podcasts. Listening to one 100 minute concert isn't that much of a tax on your music time, but, a whole tour? Dozens and dozens of 100 minute concerts? Suddenly the summer was gone and I hadn't listened to anything but Jack White live!
Of the one hundred and four shows this year, I have listened to sixty-nine* of them (as of this writing). To put that into (or out of? hard to say) perspective, if you compile every live Jack White song I have listened to this year (as of this writing!) that's 1506 songs totally in 98 hours, 13 minutes, and 12 seconds of blistering guitar solos, wailing screams, and tender acoustic ballads.
- Fear of the Dawn
- Entering Heaven Alive
- The Supply Chain Issues Tour / Masonic Temple, April 8, 2022
- The Supply Chain Issues Tour / Masonic Temple, April 9, 2022
- Live from Marshall Street
- The Supply Chain Issues Tour
*71, but I'm not doing the math.