…and likely, neither did you.
Officially mark July 13, 2007 on your calendar as the day where Stripesmania hit Halifax. Although I could only follow the cascading series of events from my computer screen at work, what I saw was nothing less than a city collectively losing its marbles. Flipping back and forth between different message boards in between editing articles and projects, I read of small armies – HUNDREDS of people – following unproven leads to Citadel Hill (reports are that the band WAS there at least once today, but that they were filming material for their DVD – not playing) and to the Public Gardens (one report was that the Gardens gates were shut and the band was rehearsing – nope). I read of radio stations who were CLEARLY in the dark as the rest of us acting as “authoritative” sources on where the band was going to play. I read of madness, sheer madness.
The truth about the show came out first through a couple of posts over at halifaxlocals and then through the CBC around 3:30-4ish, but it’s doubtful that few followed through on them after an entire day of bullshit. Then these rumblings were confirmed when the official word from the band’s staff was posted on the unofficial message board they’ve been leaking the secret show notices to:
LOCAS POOL HALL
5187 sultar [sp] street
I checked my watch. It was 4:17.
The first X, labelled McNutt, is where my office at Dalhousie is located. The White Stripes were playing over a kilometre away and I had less than 15 minutes to get there. I grabbed my stuff, rushed out the door – sending text messages to my friends as I went – and ran like the wind. I’m not exactly Captain Fitness, but I was using every ounce of strength that I had to try and get to Locas on time. At Spring Garden and South Park I was able to hail a cab that took me almost to the bottom of Spring Garden. With every ounce of energy left I bolted out the cab door, left a gratuitous tip and…saw a really, really big line outside of Locas.
My roommate Dave, who was closer to the venue than I was, was waiting in line roughly 30 or 40 feet from the door, and several more of my friends had wiggled into different spots. It ran completely around the corner – there must have been a couple hundred people easy. So there we waited, hoping that by chance that no one had been let into the venue yet and that we still had a chance.
No dice. The cops came by and told us that the venue was full and that we weren’t getting in – reportedly somewhere between 80 and 100 people got to see the show. Still, some of us stuck around on some slim chance that something cool would happen. From inside we could almost hear the band play, but really couldn’t make out anything going on. Reports from fans who had better ears than I did say that the band played four or more songs, two of which included “Icky Thump” and “Screwdriver.”
After all the fans who did get in filed out, sharing their “THAT WAS FUCKING AWESOMEs” and “WOOO WOWs” with the disappointed masses, a couple of guys with the Stripes’ crew came out selling leftover Icky Thump T-shirts (XL only) for $5. Another frenzy emerged, but it seems like they had quite a few so a lot of the little people went home slightly happier.
And that’s that! I’m a little disappointed – it would have been nice if the band had chosen a venue that could hold more people – but seeing that I’m getting to see the band the next two nights I can’t complain too much. Hopefully tomorrow’s secret show is one that more fans will get to attend, given how quickly the Glace Bay show sold out
Edit: We’ve got some actual photos and video thanks to Halifax’s local newspapers. The photo below comes from the Chronicle Herald – read the full story to also see photos of Jack and Meg on Citadel Hill. For video, you can watch a clip of the Locas secret show captured by the Daily News, or you canwatch the CBC news story about the show.