Acoustic Sounds

The White Stripes

Live In Las Vegas



Label: Third Man Records

Mixed By: Bill Skibbe

Mastered By: Bill Skibbe (Third Man Mastering)

Lacquers Cut By: Warren Defever (Third Man Mastering)

By: Dylan Peggin

January 12th, 2024



The White Stripes Took a Gamble on “Live In Las Vegas”

The duo’s highly coveted live album gets reissued for the first time

Alright, Las Vegas, let’s lose our money and lose our minds!

On September 20, 2003, The White Stripes took hold of Sin City and rocked it into oblivion. The Detroit garage rock duo blitzed through a setlist of familiar favorites, such as “Hotel Yorba” and “Fell in Love With A Girl.” Their then-new album, Elephant, took precedence with blistering renditions of “The Hardest Button to Button” and “Black Math.” The show caught its breath once drummer Meg White stepped away from her drumkit and took the lead vocal spotlight for “In The Cold, Cold Night.” It’s uncanny to imagine the then-new “Seven Nation Army” sandwiched in the middle of the set, long before it would become a sports anthem and the climactic finale of future White Stripes shows. 

The White Stripes’ “no setlists” policy gave each show an atmosphere of its own, never replicating the same flow on a different night. How often did audiences hear “Offend in Every Way” attempted, only to be aborted due to Jack’s inability to play a D minor chord because of a finger injury? That’s right, never. Jack never hesitated to go into uncharted territory, such as belting off-the-cuff verses not found on the album version of the Citizen Kane-inspired “The Union Forever.” A tease of “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is sprinkled into the ferocity of “Cannon.” Attendees of other shows probably never heard the exceptionally dynamic rendition of “St. James Infirmary Blues” the band performed on this occasion. By the show’s end, Jack and Meg had the audience singing along to their cover of Charley Patton’s “Boll Weevil.” That night at The Joint within the Hard Rock in Las Vegas proved The White Stripes were leading the 2000s garage rock revival.

The White StripesAt the time, V2 Records saw this show as a prime opportunity to execute a promotional campaign. The label flew out 40 fans to witness the show, meet the group, and receive the ultimate concert souvenir that beats the $40 t-shirt and $10 beer: a triple record set of the show they attended. It bore no jacket, tracklist, or other possible indicators, just “The White Stripes Live In Las Vegas” rubber-stamped on plain white labels. The release, limited to 100 copies, became one of the most highly coveted White Stripes vinyl pressings, selling on Discogs at one point for $900!

2023 marked the 20th anniversary of The White Stripes’ paramount album, Elephant. Third Man Records pulled all the stops to commemorate this occasion for every targeted consumer: a colored vinyl reissue for indie retailers, an expanded digital release for streamers, a freshly prepared mono mix for Vault subscribers, and an Analogue Productions UHQR pressing for audiophiles. Just before the year could wrap up, Third Man drove the sentiment home by rereleasing the highly coveted Live In Las Vegas as the 58th installment of The Vault.

Live In Las Vegas comes housed in a trifold jacket designed by long-time Third Man collaborator Rob Jones. Stacks of coins and cards bearing the Queen of Hearts and King of Clubs reference the gambling lifestyle often tied to the city nicknamed Lost Wages. The inner trifold shows a spread of various dice, creating a formation of Jack and Meg’s faces and their signature peppermint swirl graphic. The White Stripes’ color scheme, being red, white, and black, doesn’t just lend itself to artwork design. It makes for an obvious choice of colored vinyl selection, with each of the 3 LPs pressed on those respective colors. While the show takes up five sides of vinyl, a digital etching of a roulette spinner takes up the sixth. An iron-on patch, bumper sticker, and card art prints provide the fix for extra included ephemera. 

The bonus 7-inch, pressed on red sparkle vinyl, centers around one of Elephant’s highlights, the bluesy “Ball and Biscuit.” The A-side consists of Jack White joining Bob Dylan on stage for a rendition of the song at Detroit’s State Theater in March 2004. The arrangement is straightforward, with Dylan and White trading off lead vocals. This freshly mixed version can put the bootlegged audience version to rest. The B-side is devoted to the White Stripes’ first live airing of the song at London’s Shepherd’s Bush Empire in May 2002. The timeline drives its historical significance since the group recorded Elephant around the same time at London’s all-analog Toe Rag Studios.

The Vault edition of Live In Las Vegas provides exclusivity, with Bill Skibbe offering a fresh mix of the show from the multitracks. Third Man Mastering’s Warren Defever brings Skibbe’s mix to life on vinyl. The result is a well-balanced mix that encapsulates the rawness of a soundboard recording with the audience captured exceptionally well. Meg’s kickdrum pierces through the mix, and the cymbals sound crisp. It’s a shame the microphone placement for the snare drum was lackluster since it comes across as muffled sounding. Jack’s guitar tone is rich, and his vocals are upfront. The moments where Meg goes for a simultaneous kickdrum-and-cymbal hit when Jack strikes a power chord come across like a total punch to the stomach; it’s that powerful! 

The re-release of Live In Las Vegas is the perfect cherry topper to a line of retrospective releases focusing on when The White Stripes finally hit paydirt.

"We took a gamble coming here, and it paid off, thank you."

Note: though Third Man doesn't like the re-sellers, since this was the December, 2023 Vault offering, the only way to get it now is through re-sellers so for those who might want this one there are some available on Discogs

Music Specifications

Catalog No: TMR-953

Pressing Plant: Third Man Pressing (TMP)

Speed/RPM: 33 1/3

Weight: 180 grams

Size: 12"

Channels: Stereo

Presentation: Multi LP