10/19/06 Widespread Panic draws mixed reviews at IU

Widespread Panic draws mixed reviews

By Zack Teibloom | Indiana Daily Student

Widespread Panic fans walking into the IU Auditorium Wednesday night, buzzing with anticipation, said the night before in Evansville the balcony literally shook from the energy of the crowd. Wednesday night, the balcony was closed off, and there were several empty seats as close to the stage as the third row.

Widespread Panic had fans dancing in their seats, but a number of concert-goers said the band failed to live up to expectations.

Panic played two sets of the band's jam-influenced Southern rock with two guitarists, a bassist, keyboard and two percussionists. Several fans said the highlight was recent addition to the band guitarist Jimmy Herring, who played a number of extended guitar solos.

Senior Matt Beck said he only came because his aunt was visiting and she used to follow the band around in the 80s.

"Let's have an average song and have Jimmy Herring bail us out with a sick solo," he said.

George Good, an IU graduate and Bloomington resident, sat in the lobby getting set lists instantly downloaded onto his phone. He said he has been to more than 100 shows, and the sound for Wednesday night's show was "absolutely perfect," but he had issues with the venue.

"It's a little policed," he said. "You can't stand in the aisle, and a lot of things people want to do they can't get away with."

For more than an hour before the show and in between sets, acid, cocaine, nitrous balloons, marijuana and "molly," -- a form of ecstasy -- were being sold in the Union parking lot. In addition, beer and homemade sandwiches and pizza made out of an oven in the back of a van were available. Some people handled their drugs better than others. "I just saved a girl's life," said Jared Farmer, who came in for the show from Ivy Tech. "She fainted and was incoherent, heaving. People were standing around her not knowing what to do. We flipped her over, and she threw up all over the floor."

The crowd that stayed for the show applauded and danced throughout the two sets and gave some positive reviews.

"It's a great show," sophomore Baylor Brangers said. "It's a great venue in terms of music, and they play well together."

All in all, the crowd appeared entertained but not thrilled by the performance and said they had a better time when Panic was in Bloomington in April 2005.

"I was more impressed with last year," senior Evan Alberhasky said. "I'm glad they came back again, but I think people were disappointed."