Back in 2002 there were two bands that were carving themselves a new chunk of rock and roll to feast on. The Strokes, with their effortless NYC cool garage sound, had been changing the world one dancefloor inide classic at a time. While The White Stripes had modernised blues for the 21st century. When the two connected at a show in 2002 the results were mesmeric.
The gig, taking place at Radio City Hall, was already a sign of the times. The Strokes were no longer the ‘hottest new act’, they had swiftly become the epitome of cool, dressed in ripped janes and leather jackets, and now the release of their seminal debut album Is This It? had marked them out as the future of rock and roll.
Meanwhile Jack White was making his own waves in the musical world with his absurd mastery of the guitar. An instrument many had thought dead was suddenly given a new lease of life in the maniacal hands of White. Accompanied by Meg on drums the pair, as The White Stripes, had dragged Americana out of the Starbucks consumerism of the late 90s and offered a new take on garage rock.
The meeting of these two musical powerhouses for one special performance was, therefore, as exclaimed and brilliant then as it is now with our 20/20 hindsight and our knowledge of the catalogue of work these two acts were yet to produce.
Back to August 2002, before smartphones had taken over the world, these two acts converged to create a special moment in the history of rock and roll and the lives of all who saw it. The gig was already of significant importance to The Strokes. As New York dwellers, the venue would’ve acted as inspiration for the band during their early days of garage gigs and single-digit audiences. It’s fair to assume they would’ve been ready to give the huge crowd a great show.
Another obstacle for the band’s nerves to overcome would’ve been leading man Julian Casablancas’ medical condition. The singer had recently broken his leg after a freak wrestling act, and so was forced to perform on a stool. Anyone who saw the band at this time in their career could attest to Casablancas not being the most mobile of singers on his best day. But, on this occasion, he still managed to deliver an incredible show.
The band would then launch into what was possibly their most ‘controversial’ song, the brilliant ‘New York City Cops’. Not even a year after the horrendous events of 9/11 the band were treading on eggshells pulling this one out at an NYC venue. But pull it out they did and they tore up the venue with an astonishingly powerful performance.
Only one thing could add to it; a ferocious Jack White, clad head to toe in blood red, powered by the crowd, and wielding his guitar like a medieval axeman. He rips through the song adding his own solo line and adding to the triumphant hometown performance.
Watch below as Jack White joins The Strokes to perform ‘New York City Cops’ in 2002