The White Stripes celebrated 4.20 and Easter back in 2003 by spending the day rocking around Boston. Singer, guitarist, and songwriter Jack White and bandmate, drummer Meg White, were 19 days into the release of their fourth studio record, Elephant. As part of their promotion, the White Stripes played two Boston shows in the same day. Here’s what happened.

After spending a week in the UK to promote their new record, the duo returned to their hometown of  Detroit to kick off their spring North American tour. The record’s lead single (and opening track), “Seven Nation Army,” quickly caught fire. In fact, it would become The White Stripes’ most famous song. It is still usually the song Jack White closes his sets with. Right before the band would hit a run of promo shows in New York and then Coachella, the tour stopped in Boston.

The majestic Orpheum Theatre would host an intimate night of White Stripes rock, where all sounds came from the instrumentation of just two people. They opened their set with the second track on Elephant, a crunchy guitar-driven song called “Black Math.” From there they would play 22 more songs. Nine of them were covers, including a stunning rendition of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene.” Finally, they would stomp out the night with a roaring version of “Seven Nation Army.” It was followed by “Boll Weevil” by Lead Belly. Rock 92.9’s Adam 12 was at this show.

Adam 12’s Story 

“After three years living and working in New Mexico, I had moved back to Boston in February of 2003 to take over at midday host at WBCN. I’d missed all of my favorite Boston venues during the years I was gone. Any chance I had to get out to a show, I was taking full advantage. White Stipes at the Orpheum on Easter Sunday? Sign me up.”

He continues, “I was a bit skeptical, though. How good can a two-piece rock band be live? Turns out they can be—and were—very, very good. I remember thinking: ‘Jack White is an absolute demon with a guitar in his hands. He’s got devils running all through him!’ Any doubt I had about the legitimacy of the White Stripes was dead and gone that night at the Orpheum.”

But What About Show #2?

Well, it remains a bit of a mystery. Tucked deep into a few seldom concert archives you will see The White Stripes aligned to a second Boston show on April 20, 2003. It was at the Paradise Rock Club. The setlist was a concise eight songs. The first two songs on the Paradise setlist (“Hardest Button To Button” and “Baby Blue”) were not played at the Orpheum.

Our best guess here is that this was a private, special event, perhaps for contest winners. Nonetheless, The White Stripes playing two shows on a Sunday in Boston, is a day to remember. The band would return for a three-night run in 2005, and one last show as a duo  in 2007.

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