Widespead Panic In The Magic City: Trouble Set Me Free February 20, 2018 11:26
Words by Erika Rasmussen
Photos by Clay Carroll: Carroll Production
This past weekend at the BJCC in Birmingham, AL, was a time of reflection and a time of healing. Widespread Panic’s songs and face-melting jams provided some much needed therapy. This is a time of violence and culture clashes. We've seen it in the form of mass shootings nationally and the nitrous mafia scene right on Shakedown. But tour time also includes the greatest examples of people helping each other out. I watched the kindest vendor take time to sit and talk with a guy who’d had a little too much, too fast. He kept this tall fella from falling to his feet and from wandering into trouble. I saw my friends rallying to find those last minute tickets for everyone seeking a night of solace. I stopped by Avondale Common House, owned by fans and packed by other happy fans. I got to take part in a big carpool since my poor engine is struggling and we all threw in on a hotel room together. Again. It’s this family spirit that keeps us coming back to the shows. It’s the therapy of listening to JB pour his heart and soul out into the mic. It’s the chance of getting to see the people that you love from all over the country, even if just for a quick hug in the hallway. (Lookin’ at you, Sweet Melissa…)
Night 1, Set 1 opened with “Pleas > Makes Sense to Me” followed by “Little Kin”. And then, did we get to catch a breath? Nope. Straight into “Action Man”. I don’t think anyone had a breather until JoJo slowed it down with “Street Dogs”. And THEN, we got a “Red Beans Cookin’”. And I mean, COOKIN’. We haven’t sampled that tasty dish since 9/24/16. Yum. “Red Beans” went into “All Time Low” and I asked a friend if they, too, always sing the Dottie Peoples part during this song. They agreed that they did, pretty much every time.
Set 2 was full of currently relevant references. “Greta’s got a gun, this ain’t no flower child…”. My personal favorite political commentary of the night came during “Flicker”. “Talking it to death, Just because you mean it, Doesn’t mean we’ve seen it…”. That’s a beautiful way to sum up the feelings of the country right now and our frustration with inaction. But, “I’m Not Alone” says, “And then I turn a little bit scared, Well I feel a little bit easier, Knowing that you’re all here…”. Don’t you always feel better when you’re surrounded by a crowd full of your friends and people like you? And bonus points to me for having carried my custom “This clearly isn’t me” clear vinyl bag to follow the new BJCC bag policy. Which they later retracted. Sigh.
The three-song encore kicked off with “Gimme”, not heard since 5/4/17. Everything seems like a news commentary to me right now, so “Throw myself at the ground, Look away before I hit…” feels especially timely. We closed the night with the staples of “Red Hot Mama” and “Chilly Water” (and where in hell did y’all find water at the end of the night, people?!?).
Night 2, Set 1 started with a “Ribs & Whiskey” opener, which will never get old to me. Of course, I was wearing a Jack Daniels tank top at the time, so I may be a wee bit biased. We got to revel in “B of D” and if you can’t get down to that, man, lemme refer you to a dance therapist. My favorite delight of the set was the “Lawyers, Guns, & Money”. Not only is this the theme song of our badass friend, Rayner, but it’s also one we haven’t heard since 8/12/17. And hasn’t the shit hit the proverbial fan? Hmm?
The second set jumped right off with a “Let’s Get This Show on the Road”, which I like for the final night’s final set. According to Panic Stream and Everyday Companion, we haven’t gotten this show on the road since 10/26/16? What?!? About time. After a tear-jerker of a “Mercy”, we had a hot “Stop-Go” that hasn’t been around in almost six months. And did anyone else hear a “Fire on the Mountain” tease in there?
The final encore began with “Trouble”. Whew. Let me sing you the song of my people, I tell ya. Next up was a beautiful “Honey Bee” that’s only the third ever. This began as a touching tribute to Tom Petty at Halloween ‘17 and again at NYE.
The boys wrapped it all up with a “Rockin’ in the Free World”. Panic has only covered this Neil Young classic four times before, the last of which was 10/25/15. The entire crowd was screaming along to “There’s one more kid that will never go to school, Never get to fall in love, Never get to be cool”. But isn’t that all you can do now? Keep on rockin’ and bein’ the good people? The ones your mama warned you about?
Setlist: Widespread Panic - The BJCC - Friday, February 16th 2018
|1: Pleas > Makes Sense To Me, Little Kin, Action Man, Street Dogs For Breakfast > Red Beans, All Time Low > Jam > Space Wrangler > Bowlegged Woman|
|2: Greta > Jam > Walk On, Tortured Artist > Flicker > Driving Song > I'm Not Alone > Jam > Driving Song > Tie Your Shoes > Jam > Drums > Diner > Sleeping Man, No Sugar Tonight/New Mother Nature|
|E: Gimme > Red Hot Mama > Chilly Water|
|['In Memory Of Elizabeth Reed' jam before 'Walk On']|
Setlist: Widespread Panic - The BJCC - Saturday, February 17th 2018
|1: Ribs And Whiskey, Send Your Mind, Proving Ground, Walkin' (For Your Love), Holden Oversoul > Jam > The Last Straw, B of D, Lawyers, Guns, And Money, Ain't Life Grand|
|2: Let's Get The Show On The Road, Blackout Blues, Who Do You Belong To? > Jam > Mercy > Weight Of The World, Big Wooly Mammoth > Papa's Home > Drums > Stop-Go, Blight, Climb To Safety|
|E: Trouble, Honey Bee, Rockin' In The Free World|
Watch a clip of "Rockin' In The Free World" here:
Watch a clip of "Big Wooly Mammoth" here"