Jack White abruptly ends Radio City Music Hall show, drawing wrath of New York crowd

Dylan Stableford
The Upshot

Jack White abruptly ended his sold-out show at Radio City Music Hall on Saturday night, drawing the ire of fans who saw the former White Stripes frontman perform for just 45 minutes without an encore.

White, who is touring behind his recent solo album "Blunderbuss," was apparently unhappy with the historic New York venue's sound and left the stage, leaving 5,000 or so concertgoers--most of whom paid at least $40 per ticket--disillusioned.

Many fans, thinking it was an unusually early encore or setbreak, remained in the concert hall, some clapping and cheering to encourage White's return to the stage. But when ushers began to inform them that the show was over, their disillusionment turned to anger, and things got ugly.

"F--- Jack White!" some chanted as they left Radio City. Others returned concert merchandise they had just bought.

"I've been waiting for an encore for longer than Jack White's set," Jeremy Current wrote on Twitter.

"I just paid $90 a ticket to see Jack White play for less than an hour?" Brian Pluta tweeted. "F--- that guy."

"This is the angriest I've seen wealthy ex-hipsters since they canceled Arrested Development," @microtony wrote.

"Jack White does NOT DESERVE to play in NEW YORK," John Kushay tweeted. "EVER again."

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It's unclear why White ended the show so abruptly. Some speculated he was irked by a less-than-enthusiastic response from the audience ("Jesus Christ, is this an NPR convention?" White asked at one point) or what Buzzfeed said were "a huge amount" of the tickets that went to scalpers. Others, though, claimed it was the poor acoustics.

"Mystery solved," Hunter Walker, a reporter for the New York Observer, tweeted. "Security guy [at] Radio City said Jack White 'wasn't happy with the sound.'"

Earlier this week during a performance in Boston, White apparently complained about the sound, too.

"Jack White is a control freak," the Boston Herald's Jed Gottlieb wrote in his review. "Yes, he's obsessed with a sound, image and branding devoted to making him look like a mad genius. As he should be, that's what's rock 'n' roll is about." White eventually "relaxed into the night," the Herald said, with "a set of new songs, White Stripes classics, Raconteurs gems and a Hank Williams cover."

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The 37-year-old Detroit native is something of a rock-and-roll diva, banning cellphones at his concerts. "All musicians can't stand looking out from the stage and seeing a thousand blue rectangles staring back at you," White told the New York Post in a recent interview. "No one likes it--you can ask anyone."

What is clear is that Saturday's show was the shortest of White's current tour. According to Gigwise.com, his performances usually last about two hours, encores included.

White is scheduled to play Radio City Music Hall again on Sunday.