panic

Widespread Panic April 21st & 22nd

widespreadAmphitheater, Raleigh North Carolina

The Holiday Inn Brownstone, where we were staying, is the main hotel for most of the Panic fans this weekend. By Friday morning the parking lot already had people partying and blasting their live shows thru their car speakers. Our crew decided to rent a large SUV Limo for the show. When we all left for the show that day, we were riding in style.

The Walnut Creek Amphitheater is a wonderful venue to see a show. Not only are there enough bathroom and plenty of areas to eat and drink, but the folks who worked there were some of the nicest employees I have ever dealt with at a show. After getting our beverages, we quickly ran to our seats under the Amphitheaters covered section. Right then the first wave of screams came from the crowd as Panic took the stage and delivered a large "Proving Ground – Chilly Water – Proving Ground" sandwich. John Keane who has produced many of Widespread Panics albums joined them on stage for most of this first set. He sat in on the next two songs, "C Brown" and "Porch Song" switching between guitar and pedal steel guitar the whole time.  Next Panic served up another sandwich by playing "Driving Song – Tie Your Shoes – Driving Song".  I took a minute to look back at the crowd and saw the whole place dancing like this was their last show ever. The first set wrapped up with "Ain't Life Grand" and a Jerry Joseph cover "Chainsaw City".

The second set opened with a new Panic song, "Second Skin". Widespread will be issuing this song on their soon to be released CD, "Earth to America".  The next song was a cover of War's "Low Rider", followed by "Junior" and a song I have not heard in awhile "Love Tractor".  During set break they played the Rolling Stones album 'Exile on Main Street' so it was not too surprising, when after Drums, they played a killer version of "Stop Breaking Down Blues". The second set finished up strongly with versions of "Traveling Light" by JJ Cale, "This Part of Town" an old Michael Houser tune, and "Solid Rock" a Bob Dylan cover from his religious days that will also be released on the new album in June.

The night ended with a slow encore of "Nobody's Loss" followed by another uplifting cover of Jerry Josephs "Climb to Safety". The band left the stage and the crowd worked their way back to their cars and headed home for the night knowing they had just been to a party with thousands of friends.

**

-Day two at Walnut Creek Amphitheater.

It seems the older I get the harder it is to rebound from the concert the night before. I move a little bit slower to my seat, but my feet still want to dance when the lights go down. Tonight's show opened with a Widespread Panic classic "Diner". It almost felt like a huge sing along from their first song into "Blackout Blues".  The crowd let the band sing again on the next few songs, "Thin Air (Smells Like Mississippi)", "From The Cradle", and my favorite Widespread Panic tune "Holden Oversoul". If ever I felt like I wanted to dance, this was the time.

John Keane was back again tonight playing thru the end of the first set again on "Blue Indian", "Travelin' Man", and "Wondering". The first set finished up with a rockin' tune I have never heard the band play called "Georgia On A Fast Train".

Thank God we had our same seats under the roof tonight, because the weather was going to change real quick. No sooner had I left the bathroom and got a few beers for the second set that I felt the rain come. Not just lightly mind you, but fast and hard! By the time I made it to the covered area I was soaked and every person in the place was trying to get into our seats. Needless to say I had to 'move' a few people out of my way and play security for all of my friends trying to get back into their seats. Right away all you could hear was the rumor of a Hatfield. Who was Hatfield and what is the song about? You will have to Google that for yourself. All I can tell you is it deals with cooking up some rain.

The second set started like this "Old Neighborhood, Pigeons, Good People, Rebirtha > Jam". Then came the song everyone wanted to hear, even the wettest of wet fans standing in the rain on the lawn. "Hatfield" is an older Widespread Panic song, but it always seems to come alive when the rain is pouring and the crowd is feeling the thunder. After that epic song I could not expect the best part of the whole two nights run would be what came next.

"Ribs And Whiskey" is a great song with even better lyrics 'seen your sister naked, ain't nothing I tried to see'. Then Sam Holt, Michael Houser's old guitar tech came out for a long missed "Machine" into "Barstools and Dreamers" song. This combo is something older Panic fans could truly appreciate as Holt played his guitar just like Houser used to. The set ended with another JJ Cale cover "Ride Me High" and a Widespread Panic heavy guitar riffing song called "Give".

The two night show ended with a sweet encore of "Clowns Come Home", a Neil Young cover of "Don't Be Denied", and a wonderful "Imitation Leather Shoes".  The two nights were over, the fans were spent, and the last thing I heard that brought a smile to my face was from a lady by the exit, "Thanks for coming, ya' all come back real soon". You know what….I think I just might.

Other Lynel Honerman Reviews:

The Bad Plus

WideSpread Panic 11/3/2005 Fillmore in Denver CO

Rose Hill Drive does Zepplin One

Hairy Apes BMX and the Dead Kenny G's

Cripple Crow CD by Devendra Banhart

Widespead Panic Rocks Vegas

Widespread- for the Grateful Web

Halfway through the Jack Johnson set, on the soccer field, in the dark, it suddenly seems like Altamont. The ground is covered with plastic water bottles and beer cups, making it hard to walk properly as we make our way toward the stadium to catch the Widespread Panic gig.  Some people are actually sitting beneath the crazed throng, on their blankets, only to be trampled over and then barraged with heartfelt apologies.

I arrive at Panic not knowing what to expect.  I have never seen them, much less heard them.  I know they are huge.  I know their following is intense. Truthfully, I have absolutely no interest in this band, but their reputation is such that I feel compelled to check them out.

I arrive with my friend, we'll call him "R," and manage to stake out two very nice seats, about halfway up the stage right riser at the fifteen yard line. These same seats were in the VIP section whenever the Dead played at this place, so you know they're good seats.

The band comes out and jumps into this country rocker, hard-edged like the Outlaws but with a Marshall Tucker kind of flavor.  In fact, it seems like Marshall Tucker on crystal meth.  It is so horrible I have this sudden flash that ten million years ago someone stepped on a moth and Jerry was never even born and this was the band that rocked a generation and started a whole new culture, but a culture rooted more in Dale Earnhardt than Kerouac or Cassady.

But then something happened.  It all started to make sense.  Suddenly I realized just how hard these fuckers were rocking, and how good they were at it. Suddenly I tasted something I hadn't tasted since I saw Hot Tuna at the old Academy of Music...  

This was some hard rockin' shit.  The bass player, Dave Schools, was dropping bombs left and right, driving the music to insane depths and heights. I could not believe how tight these guys were.  And how hard they rocked. I say this in all honesty: this was the hardest I have ever seen a band rock.  Ever.  And this was one of the best live concert experiences I ever had, hands down, slam dunk.

What fascinated me was that the harder those fuckers rocked, the more relaxed the crowd got, like they had to sit down just to process exactly how hard, and articulately, these motherfuckers were rocking.  It was insane.  It was so brazenly physical, yet also so mental.  I turned to this girl next to me and told  her, "This is some rockin' shit." She just looked at me and nodded emphatically...

The next thing I know, Trey hits the stage and they dip into "Slipping Into Darkness," which was astounding, and then two more numbers, with Trey and Schools and all of them in each others' faces just tearing it up. And the longer they play, the more I'm worried that I need to get out of there and make it over to the Hard Rock where Phil will be performing his midnight show at The Joint...

But I can't leave.  And why should I?  I'm seeing one of the greatest acts I've ever witnessed and I'm supposed to leave?

Two friends of mine spot me and tell me it's time to go.

"Why?" I wonder.
"Because we're gonna miss Phil.  It's gonna be a fuckin' madhouse over there."
"But this band is great!"
"I know, I know.  They are.  But we need to go."
"But there's no way Phil is gonna be better than this.  Seriously.  It's impossible.  There's no way."

"Look.  They're doing a drum solo now.  They'll probably do two more songs and then an encore.  You heard it already.  They're great.  You saw it.  Now let's get the hell out of here while we can."

He was right, of course, so we left...

I'll Have The Widespread Panic With A Side Of Galactic

The Jazz Aspen Festival is more of a gumbo of American music than jazz musicians' guild these days, but who's complaining? With the aspen trees barely showing signs of an approaching Fall, hot days were lending themselves to much colder nights and the perfectly sized crowd seemed poised for a great weekend of music. The melancholy recognition of those suffering in the South was braided throughout the sets, yet the bands got down to business.

The first day of music was kicked off with Widespread Panic's close friend, Jerry Joseph, and followed by Johnny Clegg. The crowd was surprisingly light as Panic took to the stage around 6:15 on Thursday evening and launched into an extended Rebirtha with taunts and teases that segued nicely into Junior. Old Neighborhood and Good People seemed to be a nod to those suffering in New Orleans, which was appreciative, but slowed the set a bit. In an attempt to shift gears, the band began the familiar progression of the crowd-pleasing J.J. Cale cover, Ride Me High. Run For Your Life is an interesting Beatles choice for Panic, but they pull it off well and it proved to be a nice mid-set treat. I was excited to hear an older Pigeons as well as another J.J. Cale cover, Travelin' Light. A set closing Give ended a modest, slow-paced set as the sun also took a break behind the surrounding hills of Snowmass.

The second set started with a rockin' version of Disco as Dave Schools rolled the band into the well-accepted new tune, Second Skin. A personal highlight of the evening for myself had to be the Blind Faith cover Can't Find My Way Home. John Bell (JB) sounded great and reminded me of the original soulful singing of Winwood & Clapton. After a fairly standard Rock came the slow spacey jam in the key of D that could only mean one thing, Driving Song. Driving Song segued fairly abruptly into R.L. Burnside's Snake Drive, which I believe is the only second time its been played. I remember it being pretty straightforward rock with a freight train kind of feel. Snake Drive dissolved into a short and sweet Drums that inevitably led back into Driving Song. Knocking 'Round the Zoo really got the crowd excited as the set closed with a low-end thumping Imitation Leather Shows.

An emotional Old Joe encore was a bittersweet reminder of the passing of original guitarist, Mikey Houser, but quite nice to hear. An aptly played Bayou Lena with Wally Ingram helping Sonny on percussion would have left any Panic fan happy but they didn't stop there. They decided to end things with a short ripping version of the live favorite, Fishwater. All in all, Panic's first night was good but I couldn't help but feel the band was taking a warm-up lap of sorts. So, we shuffled on to our Magic Shuttle Bus to take us home and looked forward to another music-filled tomorrow.

GALACTIC – Friday Afternoon Set

The afternoon of Galactic's set could not have been more beautiful. The sun was shining, kids were running around and the token throwing of the football had all signs pointing to a great day of music. If you're familiar with Galactic's New Orleans style of music, you know their sound is big, festive and much like a parade of funk dancing down Bourbon Street. But, when Galactic took the stage on Friday afternoon, you could tell their hearts were heavy with thoughts of their friends, family and beloved city. Stanton Moore struggled through a few words about donations before the band tried to settle into their set. If ever there was a time for music to act as a healer, it was now. The band played well but the festive atmosphere of the guys seemed to be lacking, and rightfully so. They played the bayou-based Dirty Dozen Brass Band's Lickity Split and wished them and their families well. Something was telling me Galactic was going to wait until the late night show to throw down. The setlist was:

I: Garbage Truck, Crazyhorse Mongoose, Lickity Split, Double Wide->Go Go, BK Instrumental, Clock Intro->Clock Stopper, Groovy Lady, Blackbird Special, Black-Eyed Pea

WIDESPREAD PANIC – Friday Night

The New Orleans nods continued as Panic kicked off the second night with Talking Head's cover Papa Legba, a song about a voodoo god. Thin Air (Smells Like Mississippi) and Doreatha gave George McConnell a chance to give his quick licks on lead guitar. A standard Weight of the World led to another aptly played tune, Down, as the lyrics "take along some of your favorite things 'cause you're gonna need 'em" rang with realism. The feel good country rock of Papa Johnny Road got everyone dancing for the upcoming Diner and crowd-cheering Tallboy. The first set ended with yet another not-so-subtle tune tied to the disaster in New Orleans, Climb to Safety. A great set closer. It was both chilling and uplifting to hear Bell and the crowd sing, "we must grab each others collar, we must rise out of the water and you know as well as I do it's no fun to die alone."

A giant of a second set began with old time favorite Love Tractor and led into Bust It Big. The Chilly Water>Worry>Chilly Water sandwich was appropriately well received and I, for one, was glad to hear the slower, emotional I'm Not Alone. The set kept moving with a newer You Should Be Glad, then older Tie Your Shoes that segued into Jack, and eventually led into Hot Tuna's Bow-Legged Woman. Porch Song, a Widespread Panic concert staple, closed the set and the show proved to be pure rock as Panic can only play it.

To finish us off, the band played yet another three song encore. The always-danceable All Time Low plowed its way into a frenzy and gave way to War's Slippin' Into Darkness. The final tune, Action Man, was more of an exiting tune for me by this time. What can I say? I had to go see Galactic again.

GALACTIC – Friday Late Night Set

The Snowmass Conference Center is not your normal venue. A little surprised and a little late, (hey, cut me some slack-this is my eighth straight hour of music) I meandered into the bouncing crowd. Already I could tell things were much more livelier than earlier in the day. Maybe it was the absence of the afternoon heat or the smaller confines of the Conference Center, but the people were moving and the music was loud. The band seemed to be enjoying themselves a little more too which always is a good thing. A guest appearance from P-nut on the midi-sax on Hot Pants Road was nice as was the show ending mega-medley Tippi Toes->Funkybird->Tiger Roll->Space Headz. In a growing trend these days for Galactic, they chose to wind things down for their encore and played a crowd settling Quiet Please.

I: It Ain't What You Think, Forbidden Horn, Baker's dozen, Blues For Ben, Moil, Workin' In A Coal Mine, Chicken Pox, Live Wire
II: Daydreaming, Santa Cruz, Mario Groove, Hot Pants Road*, Calypso Minor, Hit The Wall, Tippi Toes->Funkybird->Tiger Roll->Space Headz
E: Quiet Please

All in all, the weekend was a success for myself and the bands I was lucky enough to catch. For such a relatively small festival, there were great musicians all over the area and music coming at you from all sides. But even if I didn't see all the acts, in the end it doesn't matter who's playing the music, as long as the music moves your feet.