Tag Archives: John Hermann

Flipping the calendar with Widespread Panic

Widespread Panic
Philips Arena
Atlanta, GA
December 31, 2013

The banner was updated:  Widespread Panic – 20 consecutive sold out shows.  No one quite really knows what defines “sold out,” 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.

wpnye13aIn 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  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 “Don’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 Gang’s version of “Celebration,” with the crowd singing along.

wpnye13bThe 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 – 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’s Haunting of New Orleans

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Widespread Panic fall tour announced

Widespread Panic has released their fall schedule.  They'll be starting in Memphis and then flying across the country to California to work their way back. 

9/21-22/07 FedEx Forum, Memphis, TN
9/27-29/07 Paramount Theatre, Oakland, CA
10/5-6/07 Paramount Theatre, Seattle, WA
10/8/07 Idaho Center Amphitheater, Nampa, ID
10/9/07 Adams Center, Missoula, MT
10/11/07 Dee Events Center, Ogden, UT
10/12-13/07 Budweiser Events Center, Loveland, CO
10/16/07 Fabulous Fox Theatre, St. Louis, MO
10/17/07 Stephens Auditorium, Ames, IA
10/18-19/07 Riverside Theater, Milwaukee, WI
10/21/07 The Murat Theatre, Indianapolis, IN
10/24-26/07 Ryman Auditorium Nashville, TN
10/27/07 Macon Centreplex, Macon, GA
10/30/07 Memorial Auditorium, Chattanooga, TN
10/31/07 Asheville Civic Center, Asheville, NC
11/2-3/07 North Charleston Coliseum, Charleston, SC
11/4/07 Moran Theater, Jacksonville, FL
11/6/07 Jackie Gleason Theater, Miami Beach, FL
11/7/07 USF Sun Dome, Tampa, FL
11/9-10/07 BJCC Arena, Birmingham, AL