December 31, 2013
The banner was updated: Â Widespread Panic â€“ 20 consecutive sold out shows.Â No one quite really knows what defines â€œsold out,â€ but the banner hangs in the rafters of Philips Arena nonetheless. And, as 2013 turned into 2014, this New Years Eve added that 20th notch with a bang.
In typical fashion, the band played three sets, the first of which was acoustic*. The asterisk is necessary, since it really signifies that John Bell performed seated with an acoustic guitar. The first set opened with a very special treat, a trio of Â Neil Young covers from the album Time Fades Away. The band opened with “Journey Through the Past;” even those not familiar with the song could not mistake it as a Neil Young cover, as JB has a beautiful way of covering his songs. Next up was “Donâ€™t Be Denied,” always a treat and always a crowd favorite.
When they moved into “Time Fades Away,” it left a lot of people wondering if it would be a full set of Neil. However, those hopes were short lived with the arrival of “And It Stoned Me.”
The second set brought increasing energy opening with a fun “Holden Oversoul > Who Do You Belong To,” and “You Got Yours” will forever be special, if not for the Mikey aspect alone.
As the New Year approached, Steve Lopez counted it down, fireworks exploded, confetti dropped, champagne was toasted, and “Auld Lang Syne” played over the PA. The energy escalated from there with Kool and the Gangâ€™s version of “Celebration,” with the crowd singing along.
The band came back in, and the third set started with something that fans have talked about for years. The opening notes from the Megablaster horns were unmistakable, and from the opening lyrics of “Burning Down the House,” the crowd was in full rage mode. The excitement was so high that most seemed to not care that the song’s execution was far from perfect. The vocal range of that song is hard to pull off anyway, but the tempo was a bit too fast and there was not a lot of coherence amongst the band and added horns. However, that was not really the point â€“ they finally played “Burning Down the House!”
The next cover of “Come On (Let the Good Times Roll)” was played much better and was a very nice segue to keep the energy high while sticking to the party theme of the New Year. The rest of the set played out with “classic new” and “classic classic” Widespread Panic, with a well placed and well played cover of “Spill the Wine.”
They ended the show with “Ain’t Life Grand,” the song that was the standard first song of the New Year for many years’ past, and as the house lights came on, most did believe that life was grand.
Set I: Journey Through The Past^, Don’t Be Denied, Time Fades Away^, And It Stoned Me, Expiration Day, Pickin’ Up The Pieces*, Blue Indian, Climb To Safety
Set II: Holden Oversoul, Who Do You Belong To?, You Got Yours, Papa’s Home, Old Neighborhood**, Angels On High**, Devil In Disguise**, Tail Dragger**
Set III: Burning Down The House**^, Come On**^, Bust It Big**, Jack ~> Chilly Water ~> Surprise Valley, Pilgrims, Surprise Valley***, Spill The Wine****, You Should Be Glad**, Love Tractor
Encore: Stop Breakin’ Down Blues, Ain’t Life Grand
* w/ Randall Bramblett on sax
** w/ the Megablasters on horns
*** w/ the Megablasters on horns & Paul D’augustino on keys
**** w/ the Megablasters on horns & Paul D’augustino on keys & Madison Smith, Eric Bice, John Switzer on percussion
^ First time played
Click the thumbnails to view more photos, courtesy photographer Michael Saba
Widespread Panic returned to familiar stomping grounds in New Orleans to kick off a 3 night run of shows. The first of which being on Halloween, a holiday that is celebrated by not only children, but fans and the band as well. Past Halloween performances have become well known for their cover songs and the band’s outlandish costumes, some of which have entered the halls of legend. Though expectations were high, the 2013 Halloween show had the crowd buzzing with anticipation and eager to see what tricks and treats the band had in store for them.
Taking the stage in elaborate costumes,such as Spock (Star Trek), Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty), Kenny Powers (East Bound and Down), Zombie (The Walking Dead), Grocery Boy, and King Tut, Widespread nodded to the uproarious cheers of the concert goers and began the evening’s festivities. Even from the first notes of “Drinking Muddy Water”, a first time played Yardbirds tune, it was evident that they had their act together and came to get down. Throughout the first set, the momentum never wavered. Songs like “Coconuts”, ” Impossible” and “Bowlegged Woman” stirred the energetic crowd into a frenzy. The show contained multiple highlights, but in the first set there was clearly a tribute for the late great J.J. Cale. The band played, “Devil in Disguise” and the epic crowd pleaser “Cocaine” in homage of the recently departed legend with a vigor that only indicated that there was plenty more on the horizon.
Following the set break, the band wasted no time as keyboardist JoJo Herman was resurrected from a coffin dressed as “Liberace” as they busted into War’s “Spill the Wine”. The entire crowd was tricked as a crew member took on his prior appearance of Kenny Powers in his place at the keyboards. It was soon after that the band’s love for New Orleans began to ooze into the set list with a number of Crescent City classics. Muddy Water’s “I Got My Mojo Working” truly brought a Cajun feel to evening that was further added to with a massive version of the Widespread original, “Fishwater” and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Help Me.” It was a mind altering power packed series of performances that gave the night a truly special flavor. Panic even took it so far as to cover, “Ace of Spades,” by Motorhead , not once but twice. The raucous metal song left the crowd mildly bruised and perhaps for a moment, partially deaf. Just before the encore, eluding to the Ace of Spades cover song, singer and vocalist John Bell uttered “That was an encore, these are just additional songs”. The crowd was in high spirits and in full dress as the show ended with three huge tunes, “All Time Low > Suprise Valley > Cream Puff War.” Stunned fans filed out as if a freight train had just blasted through their minds, shattering their minds and leaving them wanting more!
Each contest will have its own set of requirements for entry, with some being only slightly different and one being entirely different. So please, for your sake, pay attention to everything you fill out and/or complete all steps in regards to what you are asked to do in order for your entry to be valid*.
3) Fill out the brief (6 question) entry form below, or if you would prefer, head HERE to fill it out.
Rules & Eligibility
1) All of the entered names will be collected from the survey site and pasted into a computer generated random name picker. All of this will be videotaped so that nobody can cry foul. To see examples of us using this tool, click here. If we are lucky, maybe we will bump into Col. Bruce and get him to draw names out of a beer pitcher again.
2) The deadlines for entry for each days’ giveaways are as follows:
The deadline for this contest is 10/28/12 at 11:59PM CST
3) For any contest that has tickets involved, such as today’s or “Warren Wednesday” did, the winner will be announced the following day. Other winners will be announced within 7 days from the entry deadline.
1) Only entries that conform to ALL of the specifications outlined in â€œHow to Enterâ€ will be considered.
2) No previous or current Honest Tune editor/staff may enter
3) Contributors (senior and otherwise) may enter.
4) Only one entry per person/ per â€œprizeâ€ will be allowed and IP Addresses are logged on the survey site.
5) Applicants must be 18 years of age or older and from within the continental United States.
6) All applicants must be at least 18 years old at the time of entry and may be required to prove age prior to prize being sent, particularly in cases when an album may contain explicit lyrics or when concert or festival tickets are being offered.
** Winner is responsible for all travel fees, to include but not be limited by hotels, parking expenses, food, gasoline, other ancillary expense, etc. The winner will only receive complimentary entry to the show specified and NO NAME CHANGES will be allowed. â€œEntryâ€ does not necessarily mean â€œticket.â€ It may mean â€œguest listingâ€ or other means of entry. In other words, donâ€™t enter if you already know you cannot go. Lastly, entry to event(s) based upon winning entitles winner to a place in the venue and does not imply a â€œgreat seatâ€ though it very well may be; it also does not imply â€œpress, photography, other media or backstage access or privileges unless otherwise stated as such. *** See Fine Print *** See Fine Print
Fine Print This contest is solely the responsibility of Honest Tune and no purchase is necessary to win. Enrollment in any site is not mandatory, albeit preferred. In a case where a prospective entrant would like to enter without subscribing to a 3rd party site, he/she may send a postcard with information asked for in the official web entry form. ONLY postcards will be accepted and any envelopes will be discarded immediately upon receipt. In no case shall Honest Tune use any information provided by entrants to any second or third party. Information may only be kept for internal database and may be used for future emails directly and solely related to interest for which this site is categorized and only regarding interests expressed solely by Honest Tune. This contest is not affiliated with nor is it endorsed by any artist , band, group or venue featured or any other representatives, promoters, owners or management thereof. In each case, an agent of each has been notified of these proceedings as a courtesy, or in response to a promotional giveaway that may or may not be included in this offer. Odds of winning depend solely on number of entries. The winner will be contacted via his/her email address and must respond to the contact within 72 hours. If no response is received, it shall be deemed that winner wishes to forfeit his/her prize. All entries must be received from within the United States. Rules & eligibility requirements may be changed with or without notice within the first 72 hours of the contestâ€™s launch. After 72 hours, any changes will be posted via Honest Tuneâ€™s Twitter or Facebook account. All entries must be submitted via the above listed criteria and Honest Tune reserves the right to disqualify entries based solely on its discretion and upon an entryâ€™s lack of conformity to the standards outlined above. Postcards should be addressed exactly as follows: Contests c/o Honest Tune-Online 1 Independent Dr. Rainbow City, AL 35906. Prize Values will be listed within 60 days of contest closing due to the ongoing nature of this contest. Any questions regarding this contest should be directed to the the contact option on the Honest Tune Home Page.
Jimmy Herring Band Martyrs Chicago, IL August 31, 2012
With new album, Subject to Change Without Notice, a mere ten days old, Jimmy Herring and company hit up Chicago’s Martyrs (sold-out in advance) for a night of splendidly fluid improvisation — primarily constructed around Herring’s sound that one day will be given the reverence it deserves.Highlighted by “A Day in the Life, ” Herring’s skills were on full display, his notes seamlessly swelling and contracting, taking the Beatles classic to a deeply emotional place.
Mattâ€™s Funk, Aberdeen, Duke And Cookie, Emerald Garden, Scapegoat Blues, Miss Poopie, 12 Keys, Since Iâ€™ve Been Loving You, Rainbow, Heads Up,Â A Day in the Life > Bilgewater Blues
Encore: Within You Without You, Sophie, Georgia on My Mind
The Band: Jimmy Herring â€“ Guitar | Jeff Sipe (Apt Q-258) â€“ Drums | Neal Fountain â€“ Bass | Matt Slocum â€“ Keys
To download an audience recording of this show, click HERE.
Ten years sounds like a long time, but when reflecting upon sadness or loss it seems shorter, almost like yesterday. We can all agree that life is precious, delicate, mysterious and full of challenges and regrets. When a loved one passed away, the instinct is to stop, think and take stock of where one”s own life is heading and moreover, what exactly needs to be done with an all too uncertain amount of remaining time.
After awhile, and as the grief process takes its course, sadness begins to slip away and one day, without notice, itâ€™s back to business as usual… until reminded.
In the case of Michael â€œMikeyâ€ Houser (January 6, 1962-August 10, 2002), reminders come often through reminiscent discussion and anytime his music is heard.
Iâ€™m in love with a girl that I met in the bar Sheâ€™s brought me this far…
The unique guitar riffs, calm lyrics and quiet stage presence made him a fan favorite and when sadness recoils, the knowledge of knowing that someone so talented and gifted was taken from us at an early age only exacerbates the grief. Recollection of how astonishingly deep Mikeyâ€™s unselfishness was when he decided to go out on the road and tour with Widespread Panic, even when noticeably sick, his life â€œtimeâ€ limited. To make that sacrifice only proved how important music was for him, but to forgo spending that borrowed time with his family and off the road friends provided all who were touched in those remaining days a rare glimpse of humility, something for which Houser was a beacon. Ironically, ten years past his untimely passing, his family invited us to share in an evening with them to collectively reflect on Mikeyâ€™s contribution to life in a celebration of an immense man that so many will never forget.
Acting as organizer, it was hats off early to Barbette Houser- Horowitz for what immediately came across as a well-planned event. It was clear that she had put her painstaking all into this special tribute concert for her late husband; and in recalling the grief shared amongst fans through the years, there were shared thoughts abound concerningÂ the emotional fortitude that she and her family had shown in so doing.
The evening”s setting was the recently restored Georgia Theatre, the place to play for aspiring Athens based musicians, and as fate would have it, the place where an untold litany of early Mikey-inspired memories were made with Bloodkin, Vic Chesnut and of course, Widespread Panic. In terms of spaciousness and the like, the Theatre was noticeably more comfortable on this evening. One can only be presume that Barbette set a strict limit in regards to how many tickets could be sold.
Upon arrival, fans took to mingling on the rooftop and catching up with old friends and family before surveying the items that would be auctioned (including handwritten Mikey lyrics donated by John Bell, paintings and signed posters) to provide funds for The Michael Houser Music Fund. Early-entry VIPs were treated to some wonderful southern food, complete with delicious golden fried chicken, and entertainment inside by Dangfly, whose set ending signaled the beginning of a photomontage backdrop that scrolled through photos from Houser”s life, both onstage and off. The only unfortunate thing was that the event could have never accommodated all who wished to be there, but once again, Barbette showed just how much she “gets it” by making the entire evening accessible on the internet for free (though donations were accepted) to all who needed to simply couldn”t be in Athens. Even so, there was an ever-present group of approximately 25 ticketless souls who opted to watch from a sidewalk out of a desire to simply be as close to the magic that was inevitable.
Well the barstool rodeoâ€™s in town
And I know all of our friends will be going down…
In the moments leading up to the show”s opening, older fans and friends took time to reflect and remember what Mikey stood for while the younger ones in the audience were enthusiastically awaiting the closest thing to feeling the power that Houser”s presence always spawned.
Ceremonies officially got underway set from the Romper Stompers, a collaborative joint between Panic”s drum section (Todd Nance, Sunny Ortiz) and personnel from Bloodkin and Barbara Cue, an up and coming Athens collective that is showing true promise.
From the inception of the set, the tone was set for the evening, courtesy of an eclectic mix of songs that Houser held close to his heart, including: â€œAirplane,â€ â€œSmoke and Burn (Burned Faceless),â€ a nod toVic Chesnutt with “Blight” and a tune that most would have never predicted to be one of Houser”s favorites to rock when riding on Widespread Panic”s tour bus, Kathy Mattea”s â€œEighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses.â€ (according to Todd Nance, it was)
Former Widespread Panic guitar tech and current Outformation front man, Sam Holt, came out for a few songs including â€œShe Drives Me to Drink,â€ providing just the right amount of latitude to ensure that the high energy level was sustained until the last drop.
Intermissions throughout the evening were far from the standard drag, consisting of gear change and house music. Rather, all who participated in the raffles were on the edge of their seat and all were cheering for the lucky fans who walked away with rare memorabilia. The crowd was introduced to Houser”s parents who were there to share in the evening”s primary purpose, to honor their son. Needless to say, gratitude swirled as Barbette and family made a point of thanking the full room on multiple occasions when not sharing stories about Mikey”s love for music and family — never minding the fact that the pleasure was all ours.
The next band to take the stage and keep the barrage of tribute tunes up was The Heap. Through nine songs the band took the volume up for a downright funky 40 minutes. Highlighted by the second trip into Houser”s Sandbox, Â â€œLow Country” was an amazing offering, the horns blasting mercifully while fans grooved to the number that was spiraling the number into a new but fully spirited place down the spine and beneath the feet.
A near complete reunion of Outformation (Jeff “Birdogg” Lane”s percussion role was ably filled by Sunny Ortiz) was next to take the stage. The 11 song set featured favorites such as â€œWest Virginia,â€ â€œTime is Free” Â andâ€œ90,â€ but when John Bell and John Keane ambled onto the stage, the set took on a whole new meaning and direction. To no surprise, the Georgia Theatre throng shrieked with delight, knowing that a gem or two would be gracing their ears in short order. What they got were two great songs choices and a classic. â€œCanâ€™t Change the Pastâ€ was stellar as the front men traded verses and â€œSouthern Angelsâ€ was performed powerfully with full emotions on their faces.
The last song in the set was the nightâ€™s biggest and by far, the most sought after Mikey tune. â€œSandbox,â€ the title track from Houser”s second of two posthumous releases, was played for the first time in over a decade. HavingÂ been a rarity when active (played less than 25 times over a 5 year period from 1996-2001), it goes without saying that many from the Panic faithful went their entire tour career without ever having the pleasure of hearing the number live. Most figured the song to be permanently shelved alongside other gems (“Raise the Roof” and “Waker”) out of respect for the Mikey. On a night that was all about paying respect to the fallen brother, there could not have been a more fitting venue for the splendidly written number to resurface in all of its beauty; Holt, Bell and Keane did the song justice, playing it with soul straight from the heart… just as Mikey always did. As the song dwindled and came to a close, fans prepared themselves for the final two, and most anticipated, sets of the night but were thankful for the preceding final intermission.
Taking a brief survey of the room, it was interesting to see the various reactions that were being had in response to what had just occurred onstage. While one person was giving his buddy, a high-five, rejoicing over finally capturing a tune they had chased for untold years, another was sitting quietly, seemingly having gotten lost to the moment it time, blank-faced but bright-eyed. In the brief look, unique insight could be found. Whether fervently texting a friend, phoning a long since seen touring partner, tweeting a reaction, visibly moved with red cheeks from tears that had poured only moments earlier or simply lying one”s head on his or her lover”s shoulder, unity shone bright as the sun in the snow. In spite of the diverse expression of feeling, each were under the same agreement in regards to exactly how important the music and life of Michael Houser meant to each of them. In this room, his gentle soul was vibrantly present in spite of the fact that its vessel had long-since departed.
By the time that all had reconvened for the final sets, the energy in the building was at a fever pitch, all having no clue as to what would be coming next, just knowing that it was going to be special.Â John Bell and John Keane retook the stage with an ensemble of friends that included Ike Stubblefield (keys), Andrew Hammer (drums) and Tom Ryan (bass) and began the set with a welcomed and well played serving of Pink Floyd”s â€œWish You Were Hereâ€ that transitioned into â€œNo Matter Whatâ€ and Â â€œAll I Wanted,â€ interspersed by a revelatory JB telling stories about Mikey and disclosing song meanings. After a sweet take on “I”m Not Alone” with Randall Bramblett, the set closed with the most fitting number to close things out before the Tribute Jam, “Travelin” Man,” the final song Mikey wrote for Widespread Panic.
Going into the evening, all eyes had looked to the Tribute Jam (John Keane & Friends) to be the most valuable set of the evening. But after what had transpired throughout the evening from every ensemble and individual, proclaiming anything as a clear winner would be far too subjective. This said, the set delivered on every expectation with plenty of room to spare.
Opening things up with quite the trilogy of tunes, John Keane and Jimmy Herring traded leads on â€œSheâ€™s Not Thereâ€ while Danny Hutchens led his band”s subdued â€œEnd of The Show,â€ but it was “Porch Song” that proved to be extraordinary through the guitar of Herring and moreover, the rare appearance and fiddle work from David Blackmon. Blackmon has not played with Widespread Panic in over a decade, but it wasn”t just his mere presence that made the song so delicious. He had been out at various points throughout the night and no doubt, each time was special. But with “Porch Song,” it was the fact that the number just so happened to bring out his classic fiddle sound through composition that gave the impression that it was written with him in mind.
Joining the tribute jam was Dan Horowitz (Barbetteâ€™s husband) on bass and Tim White (from 1988″s Space Wrangler) on keys making the affair even more special, as though it needed anything else. Â The company brought the night”s festivities to a close with the all too fitting â€œMake Sense to Me,â€ a surprising rattling of the Rolling Stones” â€œSympathy For The Devilâ€ and Â an encored “I”m a Man” with drums thrown in the middle of the sandwich.Â With a gratitude cry from Bell of â€œThank you everybody. Thank you Mikey.â€ the house lights were up and the night far from being history for those fortunate enough to be in attendance and those watching from home.
Oddly absent had been Widespread Panic bassist, David Schools, and ivory tickler, JoJo Hermann who had previously committed to obligations with their current projects.
This town has always been my friend…
All in all, it was nice to see members of Widespread Panic, Bloodkin and Outformation along with host of friends, some of which are rarely seen. As he often did, Michael Houser had brought them together. They had come to celebrate the life and raise money in the name of their cohort, but moreover, their friend — something much greater than any old disputes, founded or otherwise. One can only hope that this was only a beginning of such occurrences.
The night had been a success on all accounts. Loads of dough was raised for The Michael Houser Music Fund (that provides scholarships to Athens Academy) and those lucky enough to be at the Theatre or watching on couch-tour.com could not have thought of any better way to use their own short bit of remaining time than they did by participating in the tribute event. It was a tribute to their musical hero. To us, Michael Houser was the best to ever play a Tele, the master of the volume pedal who could blister a jam as well as he could ride in the back. To his family, he was husband and father, son and brother. Â Fortunately, they were selfless enough to let us borrow him so that he could do what he seemingly lived for, sharing his soul in hopes of completing the pass with another”s.
26 years ago, two young men dreamed big. They got a band together and named it after one member”s disorder. He was a man that was always willing to sacrifice of himself to have his dream and eventually it came true. Â On this night, the tenth of August, 2012, his family shared him again. We were there together. They did it in downtown Athens, where it all began and in an evening of true sweetness, our souls were once again able to dance with his… and we were grateful. Thanks Mikey. Â (and Barbette, Waker, Eva)
Havin” a good time, here today
Watching the sun shine, matinee
Never the wrong time, time we stay
Living the moontime, time we play*
Airplane, Smoke and Burn, Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses, Blight, She Drives Me To Drink*, Bull Run*
*with Sam Holt
Sensible Shoes, Low Country, Itâ€™s Your Own Kinda Thing, The Future, Express Yourself, My Automobile, The Hipsterâ€™s Lament
Happy Child, Steve Lopez Raffle, Valley Blue, 90, Into My Arms, West Virginia, Game On > Edgewater > Time Is Free, Canâ€™t Change The Past*, Southern Angels*, Sandbox*
*with John Bell John Keane ; Sunny Ortiz on percussion in place of Birdogg
John Bell, John Keane and Friends
Wish You Were Here, No Matter What, Iâ€™m Not Alone*, May Your Glass Be Filled, Travelinâ€™ Man*
*with Randall Bramblett on sax
Sheâ€™s Not There, End of the Show, Porch Song, Makes Sense To Me, Sympathy for the Devil Encore: Iâ€™m A Man
(all of the evening”s appeared at some point during this set)
Hear John Bell, Dave Schools & Jimmy Herring talk about Mikey:
*Photos are protected under the Copyright Law of the United States, specifically under and by Title 17. Further protection exists under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 | Any distribution, copying or any use other than viewing, without the express consent of the photographer or designate thereof, is forbidden. For more information, contact Honest Tune Associate Managing Editor, David Shehi.