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White Stripes Celebrate Their 20th Anniversary By Releasing Rare Debut Performance

Third Man Records
Third Man Records

Twenty years ago today, a couple calling themselves the White Stripes performed their debut set during open-mic night at the now-defunct Gold Dollar Detroit. They’re celebrating that evening by releasing The First Show: Live on Bastille Day, kicking off what promises to be a year-long anniversary celebration.

The faux brother-sister duo’s eponymous first album arrived a couple of years later in 1999; the White Stripes’ final release, Icky Thump, then followed exactly eight years after that. The band finally called it quits in 2011, after staging only a handful of additional shows.

Now, you can hear where it all began, as Meg and Jack White perform a cover of the folk song “St. James Infirmary,” as well as “Jimmy the Exploder” and “Love Potion No. 9.” Jack White was a much more tentative frontman back then: “All right,” he told the Monday crowd according to the Detroit Free Press, “we get to bore you for two or three songs.”

Stream the White Stripes Open-Mic Night Debut

The First Show: Live on Bastille Day is now on all major digital services; you can also check out the set through the above stream. Third Man Records previously released a soundboard recording on seven-inch vinyl for the White Stripes’ Vault subscribers in 2012, but this is the first time the entire nine-minute debut performance has been widely available.

By the way, the White Stripes eventually made a confident return to the same Detroit venue some two years later. According to Noisey, they “tore s— up.”

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Next: How the White Stripes Broke Out With 'White Blood Cells'

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