The White Stripes have continued celebrating the 20th-anniversary of the band’s sophomore album, De Stijl, this week with the release of archival footage from their television debut. This video follows two previous archival releases celebrating the De Stijl anniversary, “Hello Operator” and “Death Letter” live at Jay’s Upstairs in Missoula, MT on June 15th, 2000.

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Filmed live for the Detroit, MI public access television program Backstage Pass on May 28th, 2000, this clip sees Jack and Meg White performing two songs from the De Stijl album which would see an official release just three weeks later. The garage-rock duo began with “Apple Blossom”. Jack played his red and white Airline guitar, as was customary during the early part of The White Stripes’ career. In later years, Jack would often perform the song on keys, however, he had not yet added the instrument to his repertoire. Performed basically as it appeared on the album, aside from using an electric guitar as opposed to acoustic, this rendition seemed a bit sterile when compared to other live versions, perhaps due to the nerves of being on television for the first time. It wasn’t bad by any means, but it did lack the energy that defined the band over their career.

“A blues song is simple and raw and not polished, but it is perfect because it’s based on a simple idea,” the show’s host said, quoting Jack. The next song, a cover of Son House‘s “Death Letter”, embodied this sentiment, which explains why it went on to be the most popular song on the album apart from “Apple Blossom”.

With his Kay Hollowbody strapped across his shoulders and a glass slide in hand, Jack opened the song with Son House’s legendary riff, before Meg joined in with a customary blues kick and snare after a couple of measures. Both members seemed to loosen up during “Death Letter”, evidenced by Jack’s free-flowing vocals and more dominating stage presence. Unfortunately, the episode concluded just before Jack began the solo—which is always a highlight of the song—but there are plenty of live versions available for anybody interested in seeking them out. Watch The White Stripes make their television debut via the video player below and head to the band’s YouTube page for more videos.

The White Stripes – “Apple Blossom”/”Death Letter” – 5/28/00

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