Jack White's Secret One-Off London Show With Punchdrunk

David James Swanson

Rocker plays secret show in the basement of an abandoned office block to fans clad in blue medical gowns.

Last night at midnight in central London, Jack White played a secret show in the basement of a disused office block to fans clad entirely in powder-blue medical gowns.

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The event was a collaboration between Jack and theater mavericks Punchdrunk, who temporarily had transformed the space into the Vescovo & Co. Clinic for contagious diseases, staffed with doctors, nurses and orderlies at the time of a disease outbreak. The locale was a take on White's new Third Man/Columbia album, Lazaretto, which debuted at No. 1 last month on the Billboard Top 200. Lazaretto is the name for a quarantined hospital meant for patients with infectious diseases, especially leprosy and the plague.

Drawing on those themes, the experience began with an elaborate online treasure hunt. A spoof medical infomercial from 1948 appeared in the archives of online medical resource the Wellcome Trust, which contained various obtuse clues leading Jack's superfans to a website belonging to the fake medical organization Vescovo & Co. Thousands of fans submitted their details to this website as part of an online screening for a contagious disease. A lucky few progressed through the screening process and received a telephone call, inviting them to an out-of-hours appointment at the Vescovo Clinic. Punchdrunk created the clinic across multiple floors of a disused building owned by the Vinyl Factory.

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Upon arrival, fans were asked to change into blue medical gowns before being subjected to a variety of treatments and tests in a maze of medical rooms. Chaos descended as an outbreak alarm was raised and terrified fans were herded into a smoke-filled isolation chamber. Finally a screen was dropped to reveal Jack and his band in full medical uniforms, who proceeded to belt out a 30-minute set before Jack himself succumbed to the mysterious disease. The rock star fell to the ground in a fit of convulsions before being strapped to a stretcher and wheeled off to a waiting ambulance. He's OK, folks.