After a 72 hour breather between shows, Widespread Panic arrived in the Dallas/Ft. Worth Metroplex to start winding down their Fall Tour. The tour has taken them from the East Coast to the West Coast, to the Southwest, and will culminate in a three night Halloween run at the UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans. That will be it for Panic, until their Dec 30 and 31 shows at the Pepsi Center in Denver.
Last night at the Verizon Theatre, Panic put on a great show. I’ve never been a big fan. I’ve only seen them twice before, unlike many of the fans I spoke with at the venue, that have seen them dozens of times. They’re like a modern day Grateful Dead when it comes to fan loyalty. I never really understood the thing that makes WSP such a cult band. I think last night the penny finally dropped. I’m not sure if it was because it had been more than a month since I’d seen any live music, or if maybe it was the fact that I was in the photo pit, that crossroads where the band’s and the fan’s energies collide. Whatever it was, you can now count me among the converted.
Sections of the 6000 capacity theater were closed off to create an intimate setting for about 2000 fans. There was an area, directly in front of the stage, where they removed the seats to create an open area. This was the place to be. The band came on about 8:10pm, and took their set-break about an hour later. They returned after about 40 minutes, and played for another hour and 25 minutes. In this time period they packed in 21 songs and an extended drum duet.
Some musical highlights of the show were: a smokin’ hot version of Let It Rock, a great first set-ender, Flicker, a haunting Dream Song to open the second set, and Mr. Soul, which I initially called as Jumpin’ Jack Flash. Jimmy Herring was rocking hard all night.
If you look at how bands are constructed now, you’ll find that the ones with the full sound, like Umphrey’s McGee, moe., even going back to the Grateful Dead, have two drummers/percussionists and two guitars. Widespread Panic follows this format and consists of John Bell on guitar and vocals, Jimmy Herring on guitar, Dave Schools on bass, Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz on percussion, John “Jojo” Herman on keyboards, and Todd Nance on drums.
Set I Makes Sense to Me Thin Air Sometimes > Christmas Katie > Let It Rock Conrad the Catepillar Tortured Artist > I'm Not Alone Flicker
Set II Dream Song Three Candles Solid Rock Mr. Soul Bears Gone Fishin' > Ain't No Use > Drums/Grand Prairie Jam > Papa John No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature Better Off Thought Sausage