The Raconteurs were formed in 2008 by Jack White, who had already reached fame with the White Stripes, critically acclaimed artist Brendan Benson, and Patrick Keeler and Jack Lawrence, who were formerly with the Cincinnati garage rock band, The Greenhornes. Their style was purely rock and roll with a tough, gutsy attitude. They immediately scored with their debut album, Broken Boy Soldiers, which went to number two in the U.K. and made the top 10 on Billboard‘s album chart in the U.S.
In 2008, the band played the Montreux Jazz Festival in support of their second album, Consolers of the Lonely. Montreux is one of the premier musical festivals in the world, and the enthusiastic reception The Raconteurs received is testimony to the power of the band.
Now, that legendary performance is available on Blu-ray from Eagle Rock Entertainment as Live at Montreux 2008.
The set is made up of songs from the first two albums, all written by Brendan Benson and Jack White, except for “Rich Kid Blues” written by Terry Reid, and the sly, delightful “Keep It Clean,” which is a traditional song associated with Charley Jordan originally.
Because of my fondness for songs that tell a strong story, my favorites in the performance include “You Don’t Understand Me, ” “Rich Kid Blues,” “Steady as She Goes,” “Many Shades of Black,” and “Broken Boy Soldier.” I love the humor of “Keep it Clean” and the way that White and Benson tap into a deep vein of Americana for “The Switch and the Spur” and “Carolina Drama.” The obvious blues influence of “Blue Veins” and the pure rock of “Salute Your Solution” also appeal to me very strongly.
Altogether there are 16 songs in the set. The two driving, powerful opening songs “Consoler of the Lonely” and “Hold Up” get things off to a rousing start, even though I did not connect as strongly with them. “Top Yourself” is a strong, clever song. “Intimate Secretary” and “Level” keep things rocking, and may grow on me more with further viewing and listening.
As for the video quality, the Blu-Ray offers a 1080i high definition transfer with an aspect ratio of 1.77:1. The audio is offered in three options: 5.1 DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby Digital 5.1, and LPCM 2.0 stereo. The look and sound of this Blu-Ray are stellar. Every prominent vein in the hands of the musicians, as well as textures of their faces in close-up shots, are clear. I saw no pixelation or visual distortion during the concert. As for the audio, it is absolutely true to life. Every note played sounds as clear as the visual look. The Dolby Digital 5.1 sound lets the bass, keyboard, guitar, vocals, and drums all come through clearly so that the mix is never muddled.
Thanks to skillful camera work, the viewer gets a better view of all the action than anyone in the audience could have had. When you’re in the mood for a concert but you can’t go out, a little trip back in time to Montreux with The Raconteurs’ Live at Montreux 2008 may be the next best thing.