Jack White performs surprise set atop Damien Hirst’s balcony at Third Man Records store grand opening

Jack White
(Image credit: Jo Hale/Getty Images)

Jack White performed a surprise two-pronged set to celebrate the grand opening of a new Third Man Records store in London, England, which saw him serenade attendees from Damien Hirst’s balcony on Saturday (25 September).

The White Stripes frontman – who established Third Man in 2001 – was marking the opening of the label’s third physical outlet, located at 1 Marshall Street, Soho, which joins up with existing stores in Nashville and Detroit.

And, to celebrate the occasion in style, the blue hair-dyed White performed not one, but two sets – one in the store’s Blue Basement and one out in the open on top of Hirst’s personal balcony.

Bassist Dominic Davis and drummer Daru Jones completed the lineup, who hundreds of people flocked to the streets – or their windows, depending on where they were – to see in action.

The five-track rooftop session included White Stripes classics Dead Leaves And The Dirty Ground, We’re Going To Be Friends and Seven Nation Army, as well as Lazaretto – a track taken from his 2014 solo album of the same name.

White also performed a live rendition of The Raconteurs’ Steady As She Goes as part of the balcony set, with Hello Operator, Why Can’t You Be Nicer To Me?, Icky Thump and Love Interruption featuring on the Blue Basement running order.

Aside from serving to open the store and flex his formidable rock ‘n’ roll repertoire, the event also allowed White to showcase his enviable, seemingly mile-long pedalboard, a shot of which has cropped up via TheGearPage – and it's absolutely filled to the brim with a wide range of weird, wacky and custom-finished effects pedals.

As would be expected, a collection of White’s Third Man pedals take centre stage. Two Third Man Bumble Fuzz fuzz pedals – a signature unit handbuilt by Chris Young of Union Tube & Transistor, who designed the pedal White used on Sixteen Saltines – feature, as does a Third Man/Mantic Effects Flex synth fuzz.

Mantic Effects crops up elsewhere, with White’s feature packed ‘board boasting a chrome-finished Vitriol distortion pedal and an Isaiah digital/analog hybrid delay pedal – the latter of which was designed in collaboration with the late Isaiah Ikey Owens, who played keys with Jack White’s The Buzzards.

The usual suspects are also present – a Boss Octave OC-2, MXR Bass Octave and Electro-Harmonix POG2 ensures the octave department is fully stacked, while a trio of Boss TU-3s – including two custom-finished silver ones – are also included, either for separate signal paths or for maintaining impeccable tuning.

Other honorable mentions from the G.A.S.-inducing ‘board include a sleek silver-finished DigiTech Whammy DT, a duo of White’s CopperSounds Triplegraph digital octave pedals, a Gamechanger Audio Plasma Coil and a handful of unlabeled units.

White was also well-catered for in the six-string department too, switching between a battered, Bigsby-equipped Fender Telecaster and a Fender American Acoustasonic Telecaster.

Visit Third Man Records to keep an eye out for any future last-minute balcony sets from the man himself.

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Matt Owen

Matt is a Staff Writer, writing for Guitar World, Guitarist and Total Guitar. He has a Masters in the guitar, a degree in history, and has spent the last 16 years playing everything from blues and jazz to indie and pop. When he’s not combining his passion for writing and music during his day job, Matt records for a number of UK-based bands and songwriters as a session musician.