Widespread Panic Bestows Ultimate Trust in New Orleans November 8, 2019 14:44

Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Now that I’ve had several days to regroup, it seems fitting to sit down and revisit last weekend’s Halloween festivities with Widespread Panic. After 18 years of seeing this band, I finally had the opportunity to make this special tradition a priority. Halloween is always amongst the biggest annual events for any major touring act, and Widespread Panic never fails to deliver to its fervent fan base. 

Speculation was rampant, as expected, leading into Thursday night’s show. Upon entering UNO Arena, fans were introduced to an elaborate stage setup, which included Christmas decorations, a taxi cab, a wrestling wring, and what appeared to be the back drop of a comedy club. We began wondering if these props could somehow be tied to Andy Kaufman, and this would prove to be the case later in the night. The band took the stage, and immediately invited NOLA’s own George Porter Jr. to join them on stage. Bassist Dave Schools let George take the lead on bass, while he focused his efforts on the rubber chicken, and the band appropriately kicked into The Meters’ “Chicken Strut.” They proceeded to get the entire room singing along for “Hey Pocky Way,” another Meters’ classic. 

The first set continued with The Talking Heads’ “Papa Legba,” and originals such as “One Arm Steve,” “Love Tractor,” “Hatfield,” “All Time Low,” and “Pilgrims” would follow. It had been two and a half years since the last cover of James Taylor’s “Knockin’ Round the Zoo” (JazzFest 2017), which made this set closer that much more raucous. The second set began with the theme to Mighty Mouse playing over the PA, before the band dropped into Bloodkin’s “Henry Parsons Died.” This was followed by a powerful “Surprise Valley” > “Arleen” > “Surprise Valley.” We stomped around the “Old Neighborhood” just before a rockin’ take on “Holden Oversoul.” The next bust out came in the form of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Spoonful” (LTP 10/08/14 Montgomery, AL), and “Tallboy” had the whole place going wild. 

The Halloween antics really began taking shape from here. John Bell welcomed REM’s Mike Mills to the stage, and the debut of Lou Reef’s “Perfect Day” was a beautiful surprise. At some point, a man posted up at a small table on stage left, where he proceeded to eat a meal and drink wine. Two more debuts then surfaced in the form of David Bowie’s “Starman” and REM’s “Man on the Moon” both with the help of Mills on guitar/bass and Paul Agostino on keys. “Porch Song” was an absolutely perfect way to close out this set.

The encore was without a doubt one of the more interesting live music experiences of my life. The band returned to the stage with Mills and Agostino, while drummer Duane Trucks was on bass and Dave Schools front and center. I had absolutely no idea what was going on at the time, but Schools proceeded to inform us all that “I Trusted You” for the better part of five minutes (see video below). Two more highly obscure Andy Kaufman nods followed with “This Friendly World” and “Volare,” before tour manager Steve Lopez took the stage to ask the audience to please stop smoking in the building.  This is when things got really bizarre.

John Bell invited the infamous Tony Clifton to the stage. I will go ahead and admit that I didn’t realize this was keyboardist JoJo Hermann until the following day. He began singing about “Tacos” being cheap, before a “heckler” started screaming obscenities at him. Clifton appeared to be fed up with said heckler, told her to suck one, and she jumped on stage to throw multiple drinks at the band. At this point, the band exited the stage, security escorted the woman off stage, the lights came on, and we all wondered, “what the fuck just happened?” The band would immediately offer an emphatic apology to the fans via social media, which proved to be all part of an extensive Andy Kaufman inspired Halloween gag.  Like I said, it was an interesting night, but it was also pure genius, in my humble opinion.

Watch Widespread Panic perform "I Trusted You" here:

The Panic faithful had plenty to discuss leading into Friday night’s show. Was this the last of the shenanigans, or would this be a common theme throughout the weekend?  We wouldn’t see any gags on night two, but Jesus Christ, did we get a hot show. The first set was one big “Bowlegged” > “Chilly Sandwich,” with tunes such as “”Little Lilly,” “Visiting Day,” “Walkin’ (For Your Love),” and “You Got Yours” thrown in the middle. JB had a slight technical malfunction during “Christmas Katie,” which left the frontman singing without his guitar for the first half of the song. The highlight of the set had to be the first “Entering a Black Hole Backwards” since 2014 dropping back into “Chilly Water,” which would then segue back into “Bowlegged.” That is Widespread Panic at its finest. 

 Everyone’s got their own opinion, but for me, the perfect Panic set begins with “Disco" > "Diner.” This smokin' set continued with “Blackout Blues,” “The Last Straw, and “Mercy,” before we got our first “Drums” of the weekend. They came back out guns blazing with “Chainsaw City” and “Four Cornered Room,” then “Jack” led straight into a “Red Hot Mama” from Louisiana that nearly brought the house down. The band revisited the 2017 Halloween show with The Dillards’ “There is a Time,” which was originally performed on the Andy Griffith Show, and Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me” would put the finishing touches on a damn near flawless show.

I think we were all convinced that it was Sunday at this point, but fortunately, this run began on a Thursday night. What was left in the tank for Saturday? We were in for a treat…that’s for sure. We started with a flashback to Pulp Fiction when guitarist Jimmy Herring ripped into “Rumble,” an instrumental by Link Wray & His Ray Men. The set continued with Tom Waits’ “Goin’ Out West” and “Greta,” and “Climb to Safety” would follow. Being that this song has become somewhat of a Panic anthem (even though it’s Jerry Joseph’s song), it’s reputation is somewhat controversial. I, for one, will never get tired of hearing it. On this night, I experienced one of the more euphoric body highs of my life during the first chorus. Every hair of my body was standing on edge, and it felt really fucking good.

“Junior” and “Makes Sense to Me” were next on the list, just before one of the weekend’s most exciting moments. Dumpstaphunk’s Ivan Neville joined the band for an amazing sequence of “Sleepy Monkey” > “I Walk on Guilded Splinters” (Dr. John) > “Cream Puff War" (Grateful Dead). Does it get any hotter than that?  The second set was equally as impressive. We were off to the races with “Radio Child” and “Thought Sausage.” Another bust out surfaced with John Lennon & Yoko Ono’s “The Ballad of John & Yoko.” “Honkey Red” set a super heavy, serious tone, before an absolutely perfect “Driving Song” was played. “Breathing Slow” led into another rager, “Impossible,” and Vampire Blues came next. “Pigeons” is always a treat, especially when “Papa’s Home” is looming in the distance. Trucks and percussionist Sonny Ortiz led us through another impressive “Drums,” which landed back into “Papa’s” just in time for a set closing “Action Man.” 

While I’ve seen several nods to the late Col. Bruce Hampton, it had been about eight years (02/14/11) since I had seen Panic play “Basically Frightened.” This would begin the encore and lead perfectly into “Blue Indian.” It then appeared that “Postcard” would close out the weekend. Per usual, the entire building was ready to shout, “This town is nuts. My kind of place. I don’t ever wanna leave.” Not so fast, y’all.  We were treated to a reprise of “I Trusted You,” and I’m not sure I’ve ever laughed so hard. Are you kidding me?

There were high expectations for my first Halloween with Panic, and this band never lets me down. What almost seemed like a page out of the Phish playbook made this weekend as unique as any I’ve experienced. These musical journeys always seem to leave us feeling recharged and grateful for this fortunate life we live. There is nothing I’d rather do than embark on a weekend of mayhem with some of the best friends you could ever ask for, along with one of the greatest bands to ever take the stage.

An Intimate Weekend of Classics in the Capital with Widespread Panic March 20, 2018 17:25

Words by Erika Rasmussen: Rasmusic
Photos by Jeff Fernandez:
We kicked-off this last Panic weekend in DC in the best possible way, with a cozy little JoJo show at The Pearl Street Warehouse. This family reunion environment set the tone for the rest of the weekend. Big shout out to the sound guy for hooking me up with the setlist. Though certainly bigger than Pearl Street, the MGM Grand at National Harbor only seats 3,000 people. Everyone dedicated enough to head into town got a ticket (as far as I know) and we all got to settle into a weekend of running into your favorite people and your favorite songs. The location within the harbor also kept us bumping into each other all weekend and I, personally, really enjoyed the proximity. We were all united in solidarity.
Thursday, March 15, featured 6 songs they’ve played less than 100 times. For a band on the run for 32 years, those are fun songs to catch. “Hope in a Hopeless World” was especially fitting during this time and place. We were all treated to “Travelin’ Man”, which hasn’t been played in almost four years and was a FTP for Duane. He killed it, of course. Set 1 closed with two songs from The Band, so I was grinning pretty wildly, considering Levon Helm is my historical man crush. First we got “The Shape I’m In”, which they’ve only played about 28 times and then we got good ole “Ophelia” right before we closed the set with “Porch Song”. The second set was highlighted by “Come Together”, which they’ve only played 7 times before and they haven’t played since ‘05, so clearly Jimmy and Duane hadn’t had a chance to showcase this for us yet. And the song was amazing. I almost gave myself a cardiac arrest running to and dancing at the rail. (Note to self: stop that.) Night 1 closed with “For What It’s Worth”. Interestingly enough, this was a part of their very first show ever at the A-Frame house in ‘85 and they didn’t play it for almost 23 years (‘88-’11). They’ve only played “FWIW” two dozen times before and I’ve been fortunate enough to see 1⁄4 of those performances out of sheer luck. Music gods be praised.
Friday, March 16, rocked it straight outta the gate with “Chainsaw City”. This song will always remind me (and many, many people on tour) of our beloved Richard Todd and I was thrilled that his memory was a part of our weekend. We were also treated to “Travelin’ Light”. Fun fact: did you know that it’s been played exactly 1013 times before? Little “Arleen” magic for ya.... Many people found “Gradle” to be a big high point for them, considering we hadn’t gotten that song in over a year and it’s just a beautiful song. “Sleepy Monkey” was another popular favorite because, well, it’s “Sleepy Monkey”. The boys came out strong at Set 2 by opening with WAR’s “Slippin’ into Darkness” featuring tour manager, Steve Lopez, on percussion. The song and the manager are fan favorites and when Lopez joins them occasionally onstage for this, it’s a huge treat for everyone involved. A HUGE surprise for me was hearing them break out Robert Johnson’s blues classic “Love in Vain” for the first time ever. But, then again, how many Robert Johnson songs do you NOT like?
Saturday, March 17, was quite a St. Panic’s Day for all of us. Of course they had to play “Bust it Big”. How can you not play “beware of the man, who builds monuments to himself” in DC right now? A rare song they pulled out for us was “One Kind Favor”. This is a beautiful song and if you don’t know the lyrics, you should go check them out right now. Saturday saw the second ever “Sundown Betty” and it’s nice to see that join the rotation. The most Irish moment of all came in the middle of the encore, sandwiched between “Saint Ex” and “Love Tractor”. JB busted out  “Toura Loura Loura”, the Irish lullaby, with all the heart and soul of Dublin’s finest.
The weekend accomplished exactly what I’d think the band would  want. We all came together, whether it was pulling last minute tickets for your friends, sharing lodging, or phoning a friend to come spring you out of the hotel basement that you got locked into (long story). I left town with my heart full and my spirit content. I actually spent almost the entire ride home chatting with my new tour bestie (thanks, Jimmy!) and planning my next shows. Let’s carry that love and unity into the year with us. I can’t wait to see all of your smiling faces in Charleston for my Cinco de Birthday show, but I trust you’ll represent the Home Team well in Wanee without this ole girl. It was cold and windy in DC, but I think we’re all feeling the warm fuzzies after this weekend. “Tell me, brother, can you see the sun; From where you’re standing now?”
Watch video footage of "Come Together" here:
Watch video footage of "Slippin' Into Darkness" > "Machine" here:
Watch video footage of "Driving Song" > "Disco" > "Driving Song" here:

Tedeschi Trucks Band Shares Backstage Footage With John Bell August 31, 2017 15:46

Tedeschi Trucks Band brought the 'Wheels of Soul Tour' to the famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre on July 30th, and this was certainly a night to remember. The band was joined by Widespread Panic frontman John Bell for three songs, and footage from backstage rehearsals has now been shared. Bell joined TTB for covers of Leon Russell’s “Delta Lady,” James Carr’s “Dark End Of The Street” and Bob Dylan’s “Down Along The Cove.”

While footage of the "Down Along The Cove" rehearsal was previously released, today's video revealed some amazing footage of the group working on "Dark End Of The Street." See below for the official footage, and head over to TTB's Facebook page for all of their latest updates.

Watch footage of the "Dark End Of The Street" rehearsal here:

Watch footage of the "Down Along The Cove" rehearsal here:


Widespread Panic Donates $176K In Instruments To Tennessee Schools August 17, 2017 09:48


Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Two Shelby Country (TN) band programs are now fully equipped to play music thanks to a generous donation from Widespread PanicThe band’s 'Tunes For Tots Foundation' donated $176,898 in brand new instruments to both Cummings School and Raleigh-Egypt Middle and High School. Each year's 'Tunes For Tots' show is held the night before Panic's New Year's run, typically at a much more intimate venue with a premium ticket price (i.e. Ryman Auditorium, The Fillmore Charlotte). Stay tuned for further info on the band's New Year's + Tunes For Tots plans this year!

The official Tunes For Tot's Facebook page describes its mission as the following: "Widespread Panic believes that art education, and in particular music education, is integral to the overall education and advancement of children. Art allows for personal expression, appreciation of ideas, celebration of cultural awareness, sharing emotions, and gives purpose to life. Widespread Panic agrees with research findings that art education supports more traditional academic subjects as well as being a worthy pursuit in its own right." 

Watch the video shared by Shelby County Schools here:


Widespread Panic Announces Three-Night Run In St. Augustine May 8, 2017 09:59

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Southern jam veterans Widespread Panic have added a three-night run at the St. Augustine Amphitheatre in St. Augustine, FL  to their consistently growing tour schedule. These three shows are scheduled for September 15th - 17th. For what was thought to be a "lighter" year, the band now has well over 20 scheduled dates for 2017, and it's dedicated fan base will have yet another opportunity to catch multiple shows. Tickets are scheduled on go on sale this Friday, May 12th at 10:00 PM EST.  For further details and all of the latest Panic updates, head over to the band's official website.

Watch Widespread Panic perform "Postcard" in St. Augustine (2016) here:

Hampton 70: A Musical Celebration Like No Other May 4, 2017 15:45

Photos by Dave Vann  -  Words by Jordan Kirkland

When I heard that there would be a 70th birthday celebration for Col. Bruce Hampton at The Fox Theatre, I knew that I had to be there. After reading through the star-studded lineup, there was no doubt that this would be one of the most unique musical experiences of my life. With members of Widespread Panic, Phish, Aquarium Rescue Unit, The Allman Brothers Band, Gov't Mule, Blues Traveler, and so many more scheduled to perform, the possibilities for this show were endless. This lineup was a true testament to the immeasurable influence that Col. Bruce Hampton made on the world of music, and the ultimate experience was one that no one could prepare for.

The show got started just after 7:30 PM, with the evening's emcee introducing a cast featuring many frequent Col. Bruce collaborators, such as Darren Stanley, Matt Slocum, Carter Herring, and Ike Stubblefield.  The Colonel was eventually brought to the stage, wearing a blue blazer, and led the group through "There Was A Time."  The show's first featured guest was Oliver Wood, who was backed by Slocum, Darick Campbell, Duane Trucks (Widespread Panic) and others. As soon as Wood began working through two originals from The Wood Brothers catalog ("Sing About It" and "Postcards From Hell"), it became apparent that anything was fair game. Before long, Susan Tedeschi was on stage trading lines with Wood.  San Diego Padres' pitcher Jake Peavy and 14-year-old guitar prodigy Brandon “Taz” Niederauer were then introduced and led the charge through "Oh Pretty Woman" and "Shake Your Hips."

Next up was a serving a blues and jamgrass royalty, as Rev. Jeff Mosier took the stage alongside John Popper of Blues Traveler and Vince Herman and Drew Emmitt of Leftover Salmon. This combo, backed by Trucks, Kevin Scott, Emil Wrestler, Matt Slocum would eventually be joined by legendary drummer Jeff Sipe, aka Apt. Q-258 for a rousing take on "She Caught The Katy." It wasn't long before Kevin Kinney, Hardy Morris, Todd Snider, Peter Buck, Dave Schools were brought out to continue the magic. At this point, it was nearly impossible to keep up with who we had seen versus who was yet to come, but we would be quickly reminded as Warren Haynes (Gov't Mule), Chuck Leavell (Allman Brothers Band / Rolling Stones), Jon Fishman (Phish), and saxophonist Karl Denson took the stage. The energy reached a new level during "Rip This Joint," and the combo of Fishman and Sipe during "Compared To What" and "Good Morning 'Lil School Girl" was as heavy as it gets. 

Duane Trucks stepped in for Sipe and joined Fishman behind the kit for "More Trouble Everyday," which would lead up to one of the evening's many highlights. The cast of Derek Trucks, Haynes, Leavell, Schools, Buck, Fishman, and (Duane) Trucks played the Allman Brothers Band's "Jessica" to absolute perfection. John Bell of Widespread Panic made his first appearance for "Time Is Free," and would stick around for "Don't Cry Not More," which would also feature Tedeschi on vocals.  

Watch the performance of "Jessica" here:


As the show proceeded into its third hour, the Colonel returned to the stage for the evening's final performances. After leading the way through "Yield Not To Temptation," Hampton took the microphone for one of his long-time staples, "Fixin' To Die."  Watching the Colonel turning, pointing, and singing those words to so many of his oldest friends and collaborators will forever be a surreal memory.  He would remain on stage for the final three songs of the nearly four hour set: "Don't Go In The Room," "Space Is The Place," and a cover of Cream's "I'm So Glad" that had an especially spiritual feel to it.

After the stage briefly cleared, nearly forty performers returned to the stage for one last nod to the godfather of jam. The encore began with in classic fashion, as ARU drummer Jeff Sipe led the massive group through "Zambi Military Ensemble," creating the feel of am early 90's Aquarium Rescue Unit Show. This epic celebration would end with none other than "Turn On Your Lovelight," with Tedeschi, Wood, and Hampton rotating verses.

As Colonel walked over to young Taz (Brandon Niederauer) and signaled him to solo, we would all witness the unthinkable. Col. Bruce appeared to take a knee, as if giving praise to the young prodigy, and proceeded to slowly, peacefully lay down behind him (with an arm propped onto a monitor). This was a man known for his wild theatrics, giving no reason for initial concern as he lied motionless on the stage. Video footage shows those surrounding him smiling and laughing at each other, waiting for his dramatic rise for the song's conclusion. But as several minutes passed with no movement, a feeling of concern was felt throughout the theatre, and it became evident that this was no joke. Several people rushed from the side stage to check on Hampton, the music abruptly stopped, and Billy Bob Thornton quickly addressed the crowd as the curtains were frantically closed.  

Those closer to the stage could see the immediate medical attention being applied to Col. Bruce, as the majority of us exited the building in total shock and confusion. Multiple ambulances were on the scene within minutes, and many witnessed Hampton being taken away in a frenzy to the hospital. Within the next two hours, the news began to spread that world had lost Col. Bruce Hampton. I can honestly say that this was a wave of emotions that I'd never dreamed of experiencing. The entire evening was surreal; witnessing so many musical heroes on stage together.

Watching the Colonel get carried off stage is an image that I'll never forget. But as the tributes and memoirs have piled in this week, this ending does seem beautifully poetic in many ways. Col. Bruce left this earthly life during the closing moments of his own musical celebration. His final act was showcasing and praising one of music's brightest young stars, while surrounded by 30+ world class musicians who considered him one of their greatest influences. Hampton 70 was truly a celebration like no other; honoring one of the most unique souls to ever walk this planet. While his presence will be missed by so many, we should all take comfort in knowing that his influence will be felt across the musical spectrum far beyond our time.

Setlist: Hampton 70 - A Celebration of Col. Bruce Hampton - 05.01.17

Set: There Was A Time, Postcards From Hell, Sing About It, Feelin’ Good, Oh Pretty Woman, Shake Your Hips, She Caught The Katy, Working On A Building, Put Down That Cane, Play A Train Song, Stupid Preoccupations, When You Come Back, Rip This Joint, Compared To What, Good Morning Little Schoolgirl > Trouble Every Day, Jessica, Time Is Free, Trondossa, Smokestack Lightning > Cry Cry Cry, Basically Frightened, Fixin’ To Die, Space Is The Place, I’m So Glad

Encore: Zambi > Turn On Your Lovelight


Widespread Panic Announces Three-Night Halloween Run In Vegas April 7, 2017 10:59

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
While Widespread Panic won't be touring quite as extensively in 2017, there continues to be plenty of opportunities to catch the southern jam veterans on the road.  Following the band's three nights in Milwaukee the week before, Panic will travel to Las Vegas, Nevada for another three-night run on October 27th-29th at the Park Theater.  This will be the band's first Halloween run in Vegas since 2005 and 2006.  Tickets for all three shows go on sale April 14th at 10AM PST via  
Watch Widespread Panic perform "Soul Kitchen" & "Paranoid" from the 2016 Halloween run in Broomfield, CO here:

Celebrating 31 Years Of Widespread Panic [Audio/Video] February 6, 2017 16:02

On this day in 1986, local Georgia musicians John Bell, Michael Houser, Dave Schools, Todd Nance took the stage at The Mad Hatter Ballroom in Athens (GA) for the first official performance as Widespread Panic.  The band was opening for Strawberry Flats, and the show was said to be an Aid For Africa benefit.  Just two years later, the band would release its first album, Space Wrangler, which also featured the addition of Domingo "Sonny" Ortiz (percussion).  Keyboardist John "JoJo" Hermann would be added to the full-time roster in 1992.  Panic suffered the devastating loss in the death of Michael Houser in August of 2002, who was initially replaced by George McConnell, before Jimmy Herring took on the long-term duties as lead guitarist in the fall of 2006.

Since their inception in Athens, Georgia, in 1986, Widespread Panic has risen to elite status among American jam bands. Following in the steps of other Southern rock jam bands such as The Allman Brothers Band, they draw influences from the Southern rock, blues-rock, progressive rock, funk and hard rock genres. They are frequently compared to other jam band "road warriors" such as the Grateful Dead and Phish.  Widely renowned for their live performances, as of 2016, they hold the record for number of sold-out performances at Red Rocks Amphitheatre at 54 and Philips Arena at 20.

Click here to listen to Widespread Panic's first performance via

Watch Widespread Panic's complete show from 03.12.88 in Atlanta here:

Watch post-show footage from Widespread Panic in 1988 here:

Widespread Panic Shares Pro-Shot Footage of "Burning Down The House" January 23, 2017 13:47

Photo by Clay Carroll: Carroll Production

Veteran jam group Widespread Panic was one of many bands who closed out 2016 with a massive New Year's Eve celebration.  After many years of rotating the event between Atlanta, Denver, and Charlotte, this year's location was Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN.  As is tradition on New Year's Eve, the band would call on many friends and special guests to make this an unforgettable experience for the Panic faithful.  Love Sponge String Quartet (strings), Randall Bramblett (saxophone), The Megablasters (horns), The McCrary Sisters (voclas), and David Davidson (fiddle) would all make appearances throughout the night.  

After three sets full of Panic originals and covers from the Paul Simon, Joe Cocker, and Van Morrison catalogs, the band took the stage for an encore for the ages.  The McCrary Sisters would lend a hand on Buffalo Springfield's "For What It's Worth," before Bramblett and The Megablasters would return for the band's second ever performance of the Talking Heads' "Burning Down The House."  Fortunately, Widespread Panic has shared pro-shot HD video footage of "Burning Down The House," which can be watched in full below. 

Watch Widespread Panic and friends perform "Burning Down The House" on 12/31/16 here:

Complete setlist via

12/31/16 Bridgestone Arena, Nashville, TN
1: Blue Indian, Holden Oversoul, May Your Glass Be Filled*, Her Dance Needs No Body*, Crazy*, Still Crazy After All These Years**, Expiration Day*
2: Pigeons, Henry Parsons Died, Rebirtha, Sharon***, Tail Dragger***, Tall Boy***, Can't Get High****, Ain't Life Grand*****
3: Disco, A Little Help From My Friends******, Hope In A Hopeless World******, Up All Night****** > Moondance******, Bust It Big****** > Drums > Chilly Water, All Time Low****, Red Hot Mama******
E: For What It's Worth****, Burning Down The House******
* with Love Sponge String Quartet on strings
** with Love Sponge String Quartet on strings, Randall Bramblett on saxophone
*** with The MegaBlasters on horns
**** with The McCrary Sisters on vocals
***** with David Davidson on fiddle, The McCrary Sisters on vocals
****** with Randall Bramblett on saxophone, The McCrary Sisters on vocals, The MegaBlasters on horns
[Only 'Still Crazy After All These Years'; Set 1 seated; Last 'Burning Down The House' - 12/31/13, 219 shows; Last 'Moondance' - 12/31/09, 472 shows]

Watch Widespread Panic Cover Nirvana's "Lithium" In Broomfield November 2, 2016 11:12

Jam veterans Widespread Panic just wrapped up an unforgettable Halloween run in Colorado, and footage from special occasion is starting to surface.  Halloween season is a time where bands must get as creative as possible, as they know that their counterparts will be doing the same at their respective shows.  This run saw Panic perform a Black Sabbath tune during the encore at eight consecutive shows.  They also included a tune by The Doors during all three nights of the Halloween run in Broomfield.  While Sunday night's "Halloween" performance was full of highlights, the biggest surprise of the night may have come in the form of a cover of Nirvana's "Lithium," which ultimately closed the second set.  Video footage from "Lithium" can be watched below courtesy of YouTube user MrTopdogger.

Watch Widespread Panic perform Nirvana's "Lithium" on 10.30.16 here:

10/30/16 1st Bank Center, Broomfield, CO
1: Waitin' For The Bus > Jesus Just Left Chicago, Happy, Angels on High, Goodpeople, Heaven, Angels Don't Sing The Blues, Hallelujah, Tall Boy, Ain't Life Grand
2: Slippin' Into Darkness*, Machine > Barstools and Dreamers, Vampire Blues, Henry Parsons Died, Beat On The Brat, I Wanna Be Sedated, Chilly Water > I Walk On Guilded Splinters > Bust It Big > Chilly Water, Lithium
E1: Soul Kitchen, Paranoid
E2: Postcard, End Of The Show
[Only 'Lithium'; Last 'Beat On The Brat' - 10/31/03, 882 shows; Last 'Paranoid' - 10/31/87, 2811 shows; Last 'Soul Kitchen' - 10/28/00, 1142 shows]

Widespread Panic & Umphrey's McGee Rock The Tuscaloosa Amphitheater September 16, 2016 00:00

Words by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Photos by Craig Baird: Live & Listen

Thursday night in Tuscaloosa was one that won't be forgotten any time soon, as jam veterans Widespread Panic and Umphrey's McGee joined forces for one of the better rock shows one could ask for.  With Panic slated for two sets and Umphrey's getting a full 75-minute opening spot, the stage was set for a rowdy occasion at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheatre.  This would be the first of a two-night Umphrey's/Panic run, and the music couldn't start soon enough.

Umphrey's took the stage promptly at 6:30 PM, opening up with "Similar Skin," the title track from the band's 2014 studio release.  "Wappy Sprayberry" opened things up for some extensive jamming, before ultimately moving into a newer tune "Speak Up." Ryan Stasik then busted into the all-too-familiar opening notes of "Puppet String," one which always draws a strong reaction from the UM faithful.  It was then time for Jake Cinninger (guitar) to take the lead on "Glory," one of the most peaceful, beautiful songs in the band's extensive catalog.  "Educated Guess" provided another heavy-hitting rocker from Similar Skin, and "Women, Wine, and Song" made for one of the biggest sing-a-longs of the night.  
Umphrey's McGee at Avondale Brewery - July 7th 2016
Next up was "Bad Friday," which quickly turned this occasion into Alabama's biggest dance party.  Many of us felt like that might have been the end of the set, and thankfully, this was a false assumption.  This band tackles cover tunes as well as any band in history, and David Bowie's "Let's Dance" was no exception.  Cinninger handles Bowie's vocals with fine form, and you would be challenged to find a better rendition of this classic tune.  A seamless segue back into "Puppet String" would bring this scorching opening set to a close.
After about 30-minutes of turnover, the lights went down, and Widespread Panic took the stage, much to the delight of the lively Alabama crowd.  The Panic faithful was paying extra attention on this night, as the band had not repeated a song in its first six shows of the tour.  Would they continue this trend and make it seven shows?  It sure seemed that way as the set kicked off with Vic Chesnutt's "Le'ts Get Down To Business", "Travelin' Light," and "Little Kin."  The trend continued with Bloodkin's "Henry Parsons Died," which always seems to light a fire in the set.  Another nod to the late Chesnutt came with "Sleeping Man," before "Up All Night" brought about the first repeat of the tour.  
While this was an entertaining and impressive streak, so much more was now on the table, and no complaints were issued on this night.  The first taste of Street Dogs came in the form of "Cease Fire" > "Jamais Vu," a pairing that has become pretty consistent in the last few years.  The party shifted into high gear as Jimmy Herring hit the first licks of The Guess Who's "No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature."  Panic is known for their unique spin on countless covers, but this one is up there with the best of them.  John Bell thanked and assured the crowd that they'd be right back, and that was it for the first set.
Set two kicked off in explosive fashion with a cover of The Talking Heads' "Papa Legba."  Next up was "Happy," which JoJo Hermann ultimately took straight into "Greta," one of the bigger highlights of the night.  Is there a better sing-a-long in the Panic catalog?  I guess that's up to the individual, but "Greta" just never gets old.  The segues continued and this time it was into a scorching take on "Solid Rock," which was proceeded by "Tall Boy."  It's safe to say that JoJo brought his a-game to Tuscaloosa, and thankfully there was much more where that came from.
I'm not sure if there is a more quintessential Panic tune than "Surprise Valley," and the boys proved that yet again.  That song defines the sound of the band for me, and I'd honestly be fine with hearing it at every show.  A brief take on "Drums" came next, which moved swiftly back into "Surprise Valley."  The darker, bluesy "Me and The Devil Blues" and "Holden Oversoul" would follow, before "Porch Song" closed out the second set in epic fashion.  After a brief exit, the band returned to the stage and gave another nod to Bloodkin with "End of the Show."  Everyone knew this would lead into another rocker, and JoJo took the lead on this one with "Blackout Blues."  This one always seems appropriate at the end of a set or in the encore, and just like that, this massive occasion in Tuscaloosa had come to an end.
This was only my second opportunity to catch a show at the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, and I can't say enough about this venue.  In my opinion, this is the premiere outdoor venue in the state of Alabama.  While Oak Mountain and The Wharf have plenty to offer, there truly is not a bad seat in the house in Tuscaloosa, and the overall design maintains an intimate element that can't be argued.  Being able to catch Umphrey's and Panic on the same night was really special, and the fact that we get to do it all over again tonight is extremely convenient.  One can only wonder what type of collaborations we can expect in Alpharetta tonight, and fortunately we only have to wait a matter of hours to find out.

Watch HD Video Footage of Widespread Panic & Tedeschi Trucks Band in Birmingham August 4, 2016 11:03

Photo by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Just four months ago, Legacy Arena in Birmingham was treated to an extra special evening of music featuring Widespread Panic and Tedeschi Trucks Band.  While Widespread Panic is typically known for performing two sets of music, this was a unique occasion featuring far more than "just another opening band".  Tedeschi Trucks Band kicked things off with a set full of hits such as "Made Up Mind", "Bound For Glory", "Let Me Get By", and Derek and the Dominos' "Keep on Growing".  The highlight of the set came when the band took "Don't Know What It Means" directly into an emphatic cover of Joe Cocker's "The Letter" to close out the set.

After a 45-minute intermission, Widespread Panic took the stage, and "Ain't Life Grand" kicked off the set.  Panic continued with originals like "Weight of the World", "Better Off", "Proving Ground", "Sell Sell", "Airplane", and "Papa's Home".  Drummer Duane Trucks and percussionist Sonny Ortiz provided the always entertaining "Drums" before the band busted back into "Papa's Home".  Pianist JoJo Hermann led the band through a rocking take on "Blackout Blues", which ultimately led into a cover of Vic Chesnutt's  "Protein Drink" > "Sewing Machine" to close out the set.

Photo by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

As many expected, this particular night's encore was an instant classic.  Panic returned to the stage with special guest, Derek Trucks.  This would be the first time Derek has performed with Panic since his younger brother, Duane Trucks, became the band's new drummer.  "Gimme" kept a mellow vibe and allowed Trucks to "warm up" a bit before a rousing take on "Surprise Valley".  John Bell then welcomed Susan Tedeschi back to the stage for a flawless cover of Robert Walter's "Me and the Devil Blues".  Many would think that a three song encore would be enough, but the band then welcomed Alecia Chakour and Mark Rivers (Tedeschi Trucks Band) to the stage for a massive family jam on The Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want".  Forunately, Widespread Panic has shared pro shot footage of "You Can't Always Get What You Want," which can be watched in full below.

Watch Widespread Panic and members of Tedeschi Trucks Band perform "You Can't Always Get What You Want" here:

Setlist: Tedeschi Trucks Band - Birmingham, AL - Legacy Arena at BJCC - 4/23/16

Set: Made Up Mind, Laugh About It, Keep On Growing, Bird On A Wire, Idle Wind, Sticks and Stones, Bound For Glory, I Pity The Fool, Let Me Get By, Don't Know What It Means, The Letter

Setlist: Widespread Panic - Birmingham, AL - Legacy Arena at BJCC - 4/23/16

Set:  Ain't Life Grand*, Weight of the World, Honky Red, Better Off, Proving Ground > Bust It Big, Sell Sell, Airplane > JAM > Papa's Home > Drumz > Machine Gun Jam > Papa's Home > Blackout Blues > Protein Drink > Sewing Machine (103 mins)

Encore: Gimme^ > Surprize Valley^, Me and The Devil^^, You Can't Always Get What You Want^^^ (49 mins)

* JB on Tiny Gitar (mandolin) / ^ Derek Trucks on Guitar / ^^ Derek Trucks on Guitar, Susan Tedeschi on Vocals & Guitar / ^^^ Susan Tedeschi on Vocals & Guitar, Derek Trucks on Guitar, Alecia Chakour & Mark Rivers on Vocals

Throwback: John Bell & Michael Houser Play "Driving Song" Acoustic December 17, 2015 11:28


In January of 2001, John Bell and Mikey Houser of Widespread Panic performed "Driving Song" during an acoustic session on the porch of John Keane's house in Athens, GA. Parts of this sequence were used in the movie The Earth Will Swallow You. The entire song was published on YouTube in 2014 by Geoff Hanson.  

The Earth Will Swallow You is a film by brothers Geoff and Christopher Hanson detailing the Widespread Panic's 2000 Summer Tour, though a substantial portion of the film is behind-the-scenes footage of studio sessions, traveling, and interviews. It includes footage from their performances at larger venues such as the Red Rocks Amphitheatre and San Francisco's Warfield Theater. There are also several clips from smaller venues and impromptu settings (New York City's Central Park).

Much of the concert footage highlights their appearances with other artists, including Taj Mahal, Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Jorma Kaukonen, Merle Saunders, and Cecil "P-Nut" Daniels. Most of these artists are given a brief interview segment as well. Perhaps the real highlights of the film are the rare glimpses into the band's life off the road. Much attention is given to their recording in various studios (John Keane's studio, where many of their albums were recorded, bassist Dave School's house), time spent with artists close to the band (Vic Chesnutt, Col. Bruce Hampton), and, more importantly, one-on-one interviews with each member of the group.

Video by Geoff Hanson