White Stripes play Winnipeg bus, bridge

Detroit music duo the White Stripes played two impromptu concerts in Winnipeg: one on a bus and another on a bridge, to the delight of a small crowd of fans.

Some lucky fans of the White Stripes got up close and personal with the band, which played impromptu concerts on a bus and at a bridge in downtown Winnipeg.

The Detroit duo, in the middle of a cross-Canada tour that has them visiting every province and territory, played to very small but enthusiastic crowd just before their main show in Winnipeg on Monday night.

The White Stripes, Jack and Meg White, serenaded a handful of fans on a city bus and then got off to launch into an acoustic set on a city bridge.

Thom Johnston, who was tipped off by a friend to head to a certain location, said he was surprised to discover it was a bus stop. Then a transit bus came, with the White Stripes in it.

"I was blown away. I was sitting right across from them, and they started playing songs. It was incredible," Johnston said. "It's really admirable. They care a lot about their fans, and just take the extra time."

John Kendle, music critic for Uptown Magazine, lauded the musical pair for their dedication to their fans.

"It's very rare to find stars of the calibre of Jack and Meg White going out in the middle of the day [in the] cities that they're playing and drumming up a little bit of hype and sort of giving something back to fans."

The White Stripes delighted fans in the North recently with sold-out shows in Iqaluit, Yellowknife and Whitehorse, in addition to a spontaneous performance in a downtown park in Whitehorse. The duo also jammed with Inuit elders and ate caribou meat in Iqaluit.

The band, promoting its latest album, Icky Thump, started its 18-city Canadian tour on June 24 in Burnaby, B.C.The tourends July 16 in St. John's.

"We've never done a full tour of Canada before, and we thought, if we're going to do one after all these years, we should really do it. Let's do it all the way," Jack White said in an earlier interview. "We don't like to do things halfway in this band."

The band's visit to the Maritimes will be a homecoming of sorts for Jack White, a distant cousin of Cape Breton, N.S., fiddlers Ashley MacIsaac and Natalie MacMaster.

MacIsaac has never met White, but will be the opening act in Glace Bay, N.S., for the three-time Grammy winners.