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Jack White and Brendan Benson celebrate at Third Man Records

By Gary Graff
ggraff@medianewsgroup.com, @GraffonMusic on Twitte

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DETROIT -- "It's open mic night at Third Man Records -- who's next?" Jack White joked on Tuesday, July 9, as he and Raconteurs mate Brendan Benson took the stage for a special acoustic show at White's Cass Corridor store.

Coming three days before the group opened its next North American tour, the 45-minute show was certainly an auspicious occasion. As Third Man exec Ben Blackwell noted in his introduction, it was taking place 20 years to the day that the two Detroit natives first performed together (with Blackwell on drums) on the lanes at the nearby Garden Bowl. It was White's 43rd birthday as well -- which Benson took note of mid-way through the 12-song set, leading the crowd, filled with family and friends as well as fans, in singing "Happy Birthday."

And it was also a bit of a home town celebration for the pair and their Raconteurs mates -- who were among the 375 in attendance at the show, which was announced only the evening before -- after the No. 1 debut of "Help Us Stranger," their third album overall and first in 11 years.

White and Benson kept things low-key, intimate and music-centric throughout, mixing several songs from the new album including the title track, with covers of Pink Floyd's "Fearless" and Little Richard's "Lucille" (which Benson opened with a bit of the Go-Go's "We Got The Beat"), White's solo hit "Love Interruption" and the White Stripes' "As Ugly As I Seem" and "We're Going to Be Friends." The latter was even an on-the-spot audible that White dedicated to an eight-year old fan named Stella, from Swartz Creek, who was sitting on the side of the stage.

The two also gave props to each other, with Benson performing the White's "Sugar Never Tasted So Good" and White returning the favor with Benson's "Metarie."

The Raconteurs tour begins in earnest Friday and Saturday, July 12-13 -- after a pair of warm-up dates last week in Aspen, Colo. -- at Detroit's Masonic Temple Theatre. Tickets remain for Saturday's show, $45-$79.50. 313-638-2724 or themasonic.com.

Web Site: www.themaconic.com

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