A very good day turned into an extraordinary Friday night for Jack White.
To a surprised roar from a packed Masonic Temple Theatre audience, White culminated his Detroit homecoming show by proposing to his girlfriend, musician Olivia Jean.
Making their way back out for the show’s ostensible encore five minutes later, White and Jean had another jubilant jolt for the crowd, tying the knot in an onstage wedding ceremony officiated by Third Man’s Ben Swank. Their respective bass players were the best man and maid of honor, while members of their families, including White’s mother, Theresa Gillis, stood by.
In a long history of memorable Jack White shows in Detroit — stretching back more than two decades to his White Stripes years — this one unexpectedly wound up near the top. It was the kickoff of White’s Supply Chain Issues Tour and was expected to be a standard celebratory homecoming for the artist at the Masonic, his favorite hometown venue.
But when he invited Olivia Jean onstage to join a performance 80 minutes into the set, the show instantly became the stuff of local legend. The raven-haired singer-songwriter — born Olivia Jean Markel and raised in Detroit — was introduced by White as his girlfriend.
“And I love her very much,” White said of Olivia Jean, a member of his label’s Black Belles trio. Having performed an opening set ahead of White’s show Friday, she joined her beau and his band on the romping “Hotel Yorba.”
And then, before the song’s “let’s get married” lyric in the third verse, something seemed afoot. White headed to the side of the stage, gesturing to his assistant Lalo Medina to begin videoing on his cell phone. The music dropped.
“I’ve got a question for you,” White said to Olivia Jean. “Will you marry me?”
White pulled out a ring for the overwhelmed Olivia Jean, who signaled a gushing yes. Her face tear-streaked, she helped finish the number before White carried her offstage to the buzz of guitar feedback.
A Masonic crowd, knowing it had just witnessed something special, awaited the show’s invariable encore. It came — but now with yet another surprise in store.
Swank, a Third Man cofounder, officiated an unexpected wedding ceremony as the couple took their vows.
The marriage is White’s third: His White Stripes bandmate Meg White was his wife from 1996 to 2000, while he was married to English model Karen Elson from 2005 to 2013.
Friday’s concert was the first of two Masonic shows for White as he launched his Supply Chain Issues Tour and marked the release of “Fear of the Dawn,” one of two new albums coming from him this year.
It came hours after he donned a Detroit Tigers jersey to perform an instrumental version of the national anthem at Comerica Park ahead of the team’s season-opening game with the Chicago White Sox.
Opening Day: Jack White delivers searing national anthem at Detroit Tigers’ game
More: Jack White’s Detroit vinyl-record plant is riding high
At the Masonic — before nuptials took center stage — it was a rollicking, briskly paced set from White, who sprinkled in material from his assorted band projects.
The show included concert debuts for several songs: The new album’s “Taking Me Back” and “Fear of the Dawn” opened the evening in a thick, propulsive twofer, while “Love Is Selfish” from the forthcoming July album “Entering Heaven Alive” followed a few numbers later.
A simmering cover of U2’s 1991 song “Love Is Blindness,” midway into the show with a keyboard workout from Quincy McCrary, also made its first-ever appearance in White’s live repertoire.
McCrary, drummer Daru Jones and bassist Dominic Davis made a tight, lean combo with White, while a masked mannequin in back was a memento of the moment.
Indeed, this was the biggest Detroit-centric concert since the pandemic began, and it was White’s first hometown solo show since his 2018 Little Caesars Arena visit.
The Masonic has long been close to White’s heart: His mother was once an usher at the venue, and in 2013, he privately helped settle a back tax bill of $152,000 to keep the building from foreclosure. A side theater there now bears his name.
He rose to the occasion Friday in the main hall, including the most extensive video and lighting displays he has brought on the road to date. It was a night baked in blue, from White’s recently dyed hair to his guitar cables.
Traipsing through a 15-song set that included numbers from the White Stripes, Raconteurs and Dead Weather, White offered his reliable mix of dynamic push-and-pull, leading the band into explosive moments of musical transcendence.
Ahead of the Stripes’ “We’re Going to Be Friends,” White dedicated the song to his onlooking mom — whom McCrary had entertained backstage by playing the old jazz tune “Sweet Lorraine,” White said.
And Meg White got a dedication via the Stripes’ “Ball and Biscuit,” a gloriously gnarled bit of 2003-vintage Detroit blues, menacing and ecstatic at once.
“I love you so much, Detroit,” Jack White told the crowd before launching into the night-closing “Seven Nation Army.”
Minutes earlier, he’d kicked off the post-wedding encore with the Raconteurs’ “Steady as She Goes” and its timely opening line: “Find yourself a girl and settle down.”
Contact Detroit Free Press music writer Brian McCollum: 313-223-4450 or firstname.lastname@example.org.