News

Win Tickets to See JoJo Hermann's 'Slim Wednesday' in Birmingham April 03, 2018 11:26

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Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
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It may seem like Widespread Panic just left Birmingham, but JoJo Hermann is scheduled to return to Zydeco with Slim Wednesday on Friday, April 6th. This will be the second consecutive year that Hermann's side project has made a spring appearance in Birmingham, and we can't wait to see what's in store. In addition, the band recently announced the release of their debut album Reptile Show which will be available via all major online music outlets on Friday, April 6th.
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We're giving away a pair of GA tickets to Friday night's show. To enter the contest, simply share this post directly from the Live & Listen Facebook page, tag a friend in the comments. Make sure your privacy settings are set to 'public' so we can see the share on our end. We will announce the winner at 11AM on Friday, April 6th. GA and VIP tickets are also available for purchase by clicking here. VIP tickets include entry to a crawfish boil with JoJo + the band on the patio prior to the show. For all of the latest updates, make sure to RSVP to the official Facebook event
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Click here to check out our interview with JoJo at Zydeco from 2017!
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Watch Slim Wednesday perform "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand" in Eagle, CO here:
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An Intimate Weekend of Classics in the Capital with Widespread Panic March 20, 2018 17:25

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Words by Erika Rasmussen: Rasmusic
Photos by Jeff Fernandez: Seascape.rocks
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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.
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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.
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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?
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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.
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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?”
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Watch video footage of "Come Together" here:
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Watch video footage of "Slippin' Into Darkness" > "Machine" here:
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Watch video footage of "Driving Song" > "Disco" > "Driving Song" here:
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JoJo's Slim Wednesday Is Hitting The Road In April January 16, 2018 12:09

Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Widespread Panic's JoJo Hermann has announced a handful of spring tour dates with his latest side project, JoJo's Slim Wednesday. This run of shows kicks off on April 4th at The Basement East in Nashville, and continues with stops Oxford, MS (4/5), Birmingham, AL (4/6), New Orleans, LA (4/7-4/8), Atlanta, GA (4/10), Charlotte, NC (4/11),  Raleigh, NC (4/12), Charleston, SC (4/13-4/14), and Asheville, NC (4/15). This New Orleans style jazz funk group features the cast of JoJo Herman (keys), Greg Bryant (bass), Kevin Mabin (drums), Jonathan Jackson (saxophone), Ben Clark (trumpet), and Bill Elder (guitar/vocals).  

JoJo's Slim Wednesday creates a sound that keeps listeners dancing all night. The band focuses on the sound of New Orleans that was pioneered by artists like Professor Longhair, Dr. John, and The Funky Meters, all of which were a huge part of JoJo's musical background. John “JoJo” Hermann is known for his lead vocals on many New Orleans style jazz and blues covers and originals along with gospel-style organ playing. In capturing the quintessential sound of New Orleans, The Slim Wednesday Band will be sure to provide a night of dancing, partying, and great entertainment.

We had a chance to catch up with JoJo prior to last year's show at Zydeco. Click here to read the full interview!


Catching Up With JoJo Hermann Of Widespread Panic April 12, 2017 11:16

Interview by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen 

Photos by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography

Just last weekend, we had the opportunity to sit down with one of our longtime musical heroes, John "JoJo" Hermann of Widespread Panic.  Shortly after JoJo and his band, JoJo's Slim Wednesday, arrived at Zydeco in Birmingham (AL), we had the pleasure of hanging out backstage and getting the latest scoop on a different but certainly exciting year for the famed musician. JoJo's Slim Wednesday was preparing for the second of a seven-night run, which kicked off in Oxford (MS) and concludes this Thursday night in Augusta (GA).  

Let's start off by talking a little bit about Slim Wednesday. How did this project come together, and how does it differ from the 'Mardi Gras band'?
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JoJo: Well, this is basically a reformation of the Mardi Gras Band, but about a year ago, Bill Elder, who is handling the guitar duties, and frankly, a lot of the lead vocals, he woke up after Fat Tuesday and said, "Man, I guess it's Slim Wednesday."  That name just kind of stuck I guess.
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So, this is essentially the same lineup, just playing under a different name?
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JoJo: It is. It is basically the same lineup. Ben Clark (trumpet) is new to us.  He plays a lot around Nashville, and then Jovan Quallo (sax), who is just a great, great sax player, is also new.  But yes, it's essentially the same lineup. Greg Bryant on bass, Kevin Mabin on drums, who has been with us from the get-go.
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Very cool. So I wanted to talk about the material you guys are playing on this tour. What type of song rotation can fans expect from Slim Wednesday?  
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JoJo:  Well, when we first started, the Mardi Gras Band was essentially a Professor Long Hair tribute band.  All we did was "Fess," as he is affectionately known.  Then, we added some Dr. John, Allen Toussaint, The Meters...so it's very New Orleans.  We all have a shared love of New Orleans music, food, and the whole vibe.  So, it really came out of that.  We've added about 8 or 10 originals, so we're kind of breaking those in on this run. There's a little wood shedding going on right now. It's a lot of fun though.
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I would imagine so. And I know you guys kind of kicked off the year out on Jam Cruise. You always hear people talk about how that it's the greatest party in the world. I haven't been lucky enough to attend yet, but it's definitely on the bucket list. Tell me a little bit about that experience this year. 
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JoJo:  Oh yeah...I think everyone was just so blown away by the music, you know? You get on that boat, and you're thinking about this island, or that resort, and just the vacation part of it. But when you get on the boat, it's just the music that blows you away. The Meters were the headliner, and that was so special, but the musicians on that boat are really the best on the planet, you know?  They're all there in the same place, playing all of the time. It's a really amazing event.
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Absolutely. Did you have a chance to play with many other bands this year?
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JoJo: Oh yeah. I got to sit in with BIG Something, and I played with George Porter Jr. several times. Who else? Ivan Neville...quite a few of my old friends.
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I'm sure that was great to have several familiar faces around...several guys that you've been playing with and around for decades now.
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JoJo: Definitely. It's a great time to get together in such an amazing setting.
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Well...changing gears just a bit, I'd love to talk a little Widespread Panic. You guys are obviously cutting back on the long, extensive tours this year, but you've already announced quite a few festival dates, as well as the special events like Red Rocks and Halloween. Is this the type of schedule that you see moving forward?
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JoJo: Yeah, we're still playing a bunch. We're just not on the bus as much. That's really the only difference...at least for this year. I know that. At some point, we'll all get together and talk about next year, but we really haven't gotten there yet. We're just enjoying our time and taking it year by year, you know?
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As you should...so what opportunities have you been able to take advantage of with a lighter touring schedule? Is Slim Wednesday something that would've happened without all this newfound free time?
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JoJo:  There's no way we would've had the time to do a lot of this extra stuff, like the crawfish boils on this run. I get to eat more crawfish...no doubt.  It's a pretty narrow window, the crawfish season, and it's hard to get good crawfish. That's definitely one result. I recently got to attend my daughter's soccer tournament in Gatlinburg. I definitely wouldn't have been able to do that. So, those kinds of things, you know? (laughs)
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You can't put a price on those types of experiences, especially spending that type of time with your family. I'm sure it's tough to miss those events.
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JoJo:  Exactly. When you miss stuff with your kids, you don't get that back. It's gone forever. So yeah, there is a little more sense of urgency with family then there is with touring (laughs).
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I can imagine. So, you guys are about a year and a half removed from the release of the most recent album, Street Dogs. How would you say that the songwriting process evolved for you and the band over the years? Will the lighter year equate to more writing?  
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JoJo:  I'm definitely spending a lot of time at home on my piano...writing plenty of music. Where it lands? I don't really know. It might land with Slim Wednesday. It might land with Widespread. You know, when you write, it's not necessarily for anything specific.  I just take time and write new music, usually while I'm at home. I really don't know where it will land though.  We've been writing for Slim Wednesday though. We have a new song called "The Reptile Show." We've got a bunch of new songs, actually. I'm really excited about playing these new ones. It's really fun to bring out new songs and play them to a new audience. That never gets old.  There is no better feeling that writing a new song, playing it for the first time in front of a crowd, and watching people dancing to it. It never gets old.
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That's amazing. One other thing I wanted to ask you about is the whole setlist process. Obviously, so much attention is paid to this from the Panic fan base. People have high expectations for how things are going to play out each night.  Can you share a little insight on what goes into the selection process? 
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JoJo: It's pretty random, honestly. There is a color system. I know that. If we played a song four nights ago, it's red. Three nights is green. Two nights is purple. Something like that. So, the songs are kind of kept track of that way. Every night is different though. People do throw in their own ideas as well. "What about this? What about that?" It just ends up coming together.
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Do you see the change in schedule effecting this process at all?  Does that play into effect when you guys haven't necessarily been playing for a straight week or two?
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JoJo: Oh yeah...there is still a consciousness about making sure we don't play the same set as we did say a month ago. That's still in there. There are people looking after those things, thankfully. If we repeat a song, believe me, someone will let us know. (laughs) 
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That's for sure. People are always paying attention to the details. So, before we wrap things up, let's circle back to Slim Wednesday. Tonight is just night two of a seven night run for this band. What is it that makes playing these types of shows so unique and special, as opposed to the major arenas and amphitheaters that you're accustomed to?
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JoJo: You know...this is a wood shedding tour, which means that we're getting together, writing, and it's a very creative process. I'm really, really into that. And it's not just one song, but it's like ten songs. So, it's really, really fun. I'm enjoying that process, and it's something that I think everyone is really enjoying.  Last night at Proud Larry's (Oxford), we just had a blast. I think we debuted like six new songs that we had never played. It's fun. That's all I can say. It's a lot of fun.
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I'm guessing that it's somewhat of a refreshing, different feel than what has become the norm...
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JoJo: For sure. Like I said, it never gets old. And with Widespread, we do that everyday. We get in the rehearsal room and come up with something that we haven't done before. That's basically what we're trying to do every night. We try to do something that people aren't expecting...something different. That's what keeps it fun. That's what keeps us engaged.
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That's obviously been a successful formula over the years (laughs).
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JoJo: (laughs) Yeah...I hope so. We're still here. I'm just thankful for everyday right now.  
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Well, thanks so much for taking the time to sit down and chat for a few. I can't wait to see what Slim Wednesday is all about tonight.
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JoJo: Absolutely. Thanks so much, Jordan. 
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Widespread Panic Announces Three-Night Halloween Run In Vegas April 07, 2017 10:59

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Photo by Craig Baird: Home Team Photography
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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 Ticketmaster.com.  
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Watch Widespread Panic perform "Soul Kitchen" & "Paranoid" from the 2016 Halloween run in Broomfield, CO here:
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JoJo Hermann's 'Slim Wednesday' Is Hitting The Road This Spring February 08, 2017 12:29

While we won't be seeing quite as many shows from Widespread Panic in 2017, keyboardist JoJo Hermann shows no signs of slowing down.  Earlier this morning, Hermann announced a handful of spring tour dates with his latest side project, JoJo's Slim Wednesday.  This New Orleans style jazz funk group features the cast of JoJo Herman (keys), Greg Bryant (bass), Kevin Mabin (drums), Jonathan Jackson (saxophone), Ben Clark (trumpet), and Bill Elder (guitar).  See below for the band's official bio, as well as a complete list of tour dates.

JoJo's Slim Wednesday creates a sound that keeps listeners dancing all night. The band focuses on the sound of New Orleans that was pioneered by artists like Professor Longhair, Dr. John, and The Funky Meters, all of which were a huge part of JoJo's musical background. John “JoJo” Hermann is known for his lead vocals on many New Orleans style jazz and blues covers and originals along with gospel-style organ playing. In capturing the quintessential sound of New Orleans, The Slim Wednesday Band will be sure to provide a night of dancing, partying, and great entertainment.

John "Jojo" Hermann Slim Wednesday Tour Dates:

Feb. 23: City Winery | Nashville, TN
Apr. 6: Proud Larry's | Oxford, MS
Apr. 7: Zydeco | Birmingham, AL
Apr. 8: Duling Hall | Jackson, MS
Apr. 9: SouthSounds Festival | Mobile, AL
Apr. 11: City Winery Atlanta | Atlanta, GA
Apr. 12: Charleston Pour House | Charleston, SC
Apr. 13: Sky City | Augusta, GA

Watch JoJo's Slim Wednesday perform "Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand" via ShowLoveMedia here:


Members Of The Meters & Widespread Panic Announce Jazz Fest After Show January 10, 2017 13:43

It's that time of the year again, when all of the pieces for the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival (Jazz Fest) are beginning to fall into place.  Foundation of Funk, which features George Porter Jr. and Zigaboo Modeliste (The Meters) teaming up with a rotating cast of musicians, has just revealed arguably its most exciting lineup to date.  The supergroup will headline an official Jazz Fest after show at NOLA Republic on Thursday, May 4th with the help of Widespread Panic's Jimmy Herring and JoJo Hermann.  This group of performers are certainly no strangers to the annual New Orleans celebration, as Porter and Zigaboo have been staples in the scene for decades, and Widespread Panic has performed at the festival a total of nine times.  

This Foundation of Funk set will follow a previously announced Mardi Gras performance (Friday, February 24th) at Tipitinas, a night where the lineup will feature Anders Osborne and Jon Cleary.  Tickets for Foundation of Funk with Jimmy Herring and JoJo Hermann will go on sale to the general public this Friday, January 13 at 11am. Fans can get a code for pre-sale tickets by signing up for the Nolafunk email list (those tickets will go on sale Wednesday, January 11 at 11am).

Watch Foundation of Funk (feat. Eric Krasno & Neal Evans of Soulive) perform at The Rex Theatre on 05.19.16 here:


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.  
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Umphrey's McGee at Avondale Brewery - July 7th 2016
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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.
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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.  
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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Widespread Panic's JoJo Hermann Reveals Band's Plan to End Extensive Touring April 14, 2016 20:43

Photo by Jordan Kirkland: Live & Listen

Rumors have been circulating for several months now in regards to the future of Widespread Panic.  After the decision to part ways with founding member and drummer Todd Nance, a break from the band's vigorous touring schedule seemed imminent.  An interesting article from The Clarion-Ledger titled "Widespread Panic intrinsically connected to Mississippi" surfaced on Thursday night, highlighting the band's long running history and deep roots in The Magnolia State.  

The two closing closing paragraphs of the article have quickly become the real story.  Widespread Panic keyboardist JoJo Hermann, a former resident of Oxford, revealed that he plans to spend more time in the city after this year, as the band plans to end extensive touring after this year's New Year's Eve Show.

“We’re really wearing it out this year because we’re basically going to call it touring-wise after this year; we’re not going to tour anymore,” Hermann said, emphasizing that the band is breaking up or retiring.  The band will continue to play shows at places like New Orleans Jazz Fest and at Red Rocks.  It is worth noting that we do believe that the author of this article failed to include the word "not" before "breaking up or retiring".

Hermann continued, “We’re still all brothers and still going to play together ... It is really not that big of a deal, I don’t think,” Hermann said. “It’s part of life… I’ll go home and figure out what I’m going to do for the rest of my life. I will probably go back to Proud Larry’s (in Oxford) and set up a piano.”

While this news does not come as a complete shock to the Widespread Panic faithful, the way in which this news was released to the public is certainly interesting.  It's been an amazing 30 year run, and we look forward to seeing what's in store for the remainder of 2016.