CHICAGO — On a cold December day, Jack White’s surprise show at Empty Bottle Wednesday had some fans braving the elements.
Kate St. Kane, of White’s own Detroit, has been a fan since 1999. She lined up with her friend at 7:30 a.m. to be the first fans in the Empty Bottle, which has a capacity of only 400, when doors open at 7:30 p.m.
St. Kane, who is attending her 16th Jack White show this tour, has seen White in 38 states.
“Alaska and Hawaii are all but a dream,” she said.
As another fan stopped her car to chat to St. Kane and her friend, they gave a simple reason why they’re there.
“It’s a small joint — we want up close!” they said.
Li, from Toronto via Beijing, has seen Jack White 20 times. In his native China, Li said that White is very popular in big cities.
“’16 Saltines’ did it for me and I just started following ever since,” Li said.
When asked what they want to hear Wednesday night, both Li and St. Kane cited “Let’s Shake Hands” — which the White Stripes opened with at their first Empty Bottle show on January 15, 2000.
“Knowing Jack, he’s not going to do what people want to do,” Li said. “I’ll be happy with whatever.”
Fans made sure they were dressed for the occasion, which sold out in a few seconds. Chicagoan Samantha Suarez showed up in a custom shirt that White sports in The White Stripes 2001 album cover of “Elephant.”
“I really hope he sees my shirt,” Suarez said.
Some people around the Empty Bottle didn’t have a ticket, but were looking for a highly-coveted autograph.
Tucker Walton, a concert poster collector, is hoping to get his poster from Pittsburgh signed with White’s bus a few feet away.
Tickets went on sale to the general public Tuesday at noon. Within seconds, they were sold out.
At the end of the month, the Empty Bottle is hosting Chicago’s Dehd for three shows, including one on New Year’s Eve.