'Spreadheads' at The Wharf

Extraordinary circumstances seemed to take on a business-as-usual air Friday night as jam band Widespread Panic opened a two-night stand in Orange Beach.

It was indisputably a night of firsts: The first time Panic had played an arena-size show in the Mobile area but outside Mobile proper; the first time any group has played two nights at the year-old Amphitheater at The Wharf; and, beyond that, the 10,200-seat venue's first double sellout.

Yet The Wharf, a massive retail, entertainment and lodging development located on the Intracoastal Waterway at the foot of the Foley Beach Express, seemed big enough to take it all in stride. Traffic entering the compound less than an hour before the show seemed to flow smoothly, free parking was plentiful, and the pedestrian logjams as incoming fans cleared light security checks were minor.

Widespread Panic, somewhat in the tradition of the Grateful Dead, is known for inspiring fans to follow the band from show to show, and it is not unusual to encounter "Spreadheads" who've seen the group dozens of times. As with the Dead, the group's fanbase sometimes generates complaints of drug use and other misbehavior, particularly in the parking lots outside the shows.

At the Wharf, however, the pre-show scene seemed relatively sedate. In one lot, a band provided pre-show entertainment, but the general level of activity was no more hedonistic than what one would encounter outside a football game.

One reason for this might have been a policy spelled out on Widespread Panic's official Web site, which notified fans that The Wharf was not allowing "vending of any kind" in its lots during the weekend.

Despite the calm, fans were excited. James West, a Mobile insurance agent, said he was "really happy they're back in Orange Beach." He referred to a show he had not seen personally, a 1993 appearance at a club called the L.A. Getaway.

Since those days, the band's fame has grown. It has played near-capacity shows at the University of South Alabama Mitchell Center and the Mobile Civic Center, as well as being a BayFest headliner. West, who said he'd seen the group more than 20 times in a variety of venues, said he was glad to see them locally in an outdoor setting.

"Most definitely," he said. "The open-air experience is definitely superior."

This particular night seemed to bear out West's opinion. A light breeze kept things cool as sunset approached, then tapered off as darkness fell, leaving the open-air venue as comfortable as any air-conditioned arena.

The Amphitheater was nearly empty at the advertised start time of 7 p.m. Fans entered the venue slowly but steadily as opening acts DJ Logic and Jerry Joseph played compact sets, and by the time Widespread Panic walked onstage at 8:30 p.m., they had an amphitheater full of stomping, cheering listeners.

Lead singer John Bell was typically brief in his opening remarks: "Hello, everybody," he said, then thanked the openers and "all you wonderful people."

And then the band got down to business, briskly laying into "1x1," a song that showcased its famed flexibility, starting with a country two-step beat, then flowing into brief intervals of what seemed like free-form jazz as the tempo shifted to martial rock and back. Next came a smooth segue to "Holden Oversoul," another tune whose lyrics, in classic Panic style, mix rustic settings and mystic imagery. Either song, depending on one's mindset, could be read as a folk fable or as a spooky H.P. Lovecraft-style tale.

But to 10,000 standing, swaying, dancing fans, no such analysis was necessary. It was simply the start of a good night, likely to be followed by more of the same the next day.


VIDEO: Police on WSP Patrol

Dave Schools On Returning to Athens

Widespread Panic performs at the Classic Center, Athens, GA
Monday-Wednesday, April 23-25

from Athens Banner-Herald by Kenneth Aguar

Kenneth Aguar: How's it goin?

Dave Schools: I've been great. The tour has been great. The band is sounding great. The crowds have been great. The only thing that hasn't been great is this cold-ass weather.

It's just warming up here in Athens.

Thank God. We're heading south after tonight. Hopefully, we can get a taste of it.

Are you missing Athens? (laughs)

I'm missing everything that I've grown accustomed to after 25 years of living there!

It's been nearly 2 years since our last interviews, and the band has made yet another transition, with a new guitar player. How's Jimmy Herring working out?

It's magical! He's just a helluva guy. Barring the fact that everybody knows about his guitar ability, he's one of the sweetest people in the world. He is somebody that we've known for probably - since the late '80s, from all those gigs we did with Bruce Hampton and The Aquarium Rescue Unit. So, we were already on the same page in a lot of ways. First and foremost, having all been snapped thoroughly by Bruce Hampton! It's just great having him in the band. It just feels right.

Yeah. I've seen him play with The Dead and Col. Bruce. He's a really fluid guitar player. What would you say is the main difference between George (McConnell) and Jimmy?

That's a hard one to really get around. I think Jimmy has an innate understanding of what this band really is. Having done so many shows with the "classic line-up, back in the '80s. He watched us go from a bar band to a band that has a major label deal and can pull some people in around the country, in bigger venues. I think having been privy to that, that growth, sort of gives him an innate understanding of what the band is about.

I guess it's been about 7 years since the last Classic Center run of shows. Is that right?

Oddly enough, it is right!

Are you looking forward to coming back for shows in Athens. I mean, just granted that you could definitely play larger venues. I assume you chose the (Classic Center Theatre) for acoustic and aesthetic reasons?

Yeah, you know it's a cool place to play. And we don't get to play Athens all that much. People usually have to come over to Atlanta to see us. There's a lot of folks who have never seen us play in Athens that will probably try to come to town to see the shows. The best thing about it is to be able to go home after the show and sleep in our own bed!

So your new studio album (2006) is called "Earth to America."

I'm not sure if you could call it the new album any more! It's the last album, by the last lineup of the band. There's a new one in the works. I'll detour your questions right now ... We went back to Compass Point (Bahamas) with this version of the band in January and worked with Terry Manning (Led Zeppelin, Al Green) on song writing and walked out of there with basically 18 "blueprints" for songs, some of which we've been doing the usual "road testing" on out here on this tour. And others we probably need to do a little more work on in the studio, or maybe we just wanna keep them "up our sleeves" for the album release. But that's a great thing, because the last couple of records have been tough. The one that was called "Ball," being made by basically the five surviving members of the band - and (producer) John Keane and George (McConnell) coming in to play guitar on that - was a strange experience. And it was probably something that we maybe shouldn't have done. ... "Earth To America" is a great record. I just don't know if it got the treatment it deserved. And this time, I feel really good about it because we took these tunes into the studio with our producer, when they were sketches and we got to work on them some there (Compass Point), sort of a song-greenhouse kind of thing. I'm really excited. We're going to go back right after this tour, I think, to get back into the studio the second of May.

So this will be your second record with Manning?

Second record with Terry Manning, first record with Jimmy Herring. Jimmy has a lot of really deep, deep ideas. I think he has a much more "studio oriented" approach to playing guitar than anyone else we've ever had in the history of the band.

Do you think the Athens music scene is still vibrant and thriving?

I think it's always vibrant and thriving. The problem is, really, there's so MUCH vibrancy! And a lot of the best bands never really get on the road and get to show that vibrancy to the rest of the world. You know, it's pretty remarkable that the percentage of bands from Athens that actually take it on the road do get attention. I think that speaks volumes for whatever's in the water here! (laughs) There's always been a complete acceptance of originality in Athens. I think a lot of towns, they "pooh-pooh" the kind of originality that really speaks to generations. Whereas in Athens, it's allowed to happen. I'm sure there's always people making fun of it, but something keeps everyone just plowing away!

Are there any particular groups in Athens that you are fond of at the moment?

I really like Maserati. And there's a lot of them. There's that whole Cinemechanica going on. Psychic Hearts rock pretty hard. Go see a band at The Caledonia, chances are they're gonna be cool! I tell you what, there's one band I really like that's called Dead Confederate, which I think is really something different and kind of heavy and atmospheric all at the same time. Check 'em out!

What musical ambitions do you have left?

You know, really, I've fulfilled a lot of them. I think that the biggest ambition I could have would be to feel like whatever it is I'm doing, musically, still has meaning to not only myself, but people who care to listen to it. And I hope that that goes on for a long time. I don't think I could be "punching the clock"

You still got a few moves left in you?



Rock the Earth/ Music for the Planet

Rock the Earth is an advocate for campaigns to defend the United States’ environmental resources, to ensure the existence of a sustainable and healthy environment for all. They aim to represent those individuals and communities whose environment or natural surroundings are directly and adversely affected by others.

There are a number of ways in which you can help Rock the Earth protect and defend America's natural resources. Become a member of Rock the Earth! Visit their website for more details.

Join now and get the Music for the Planet Double LIVE CD. This awesome new membership gift is presented by nugs.net. A 2-CD compilation of LIVE music by artists including Dave Matthews Band, Jack Johnson, The Grateful Dead, Phish, Widespread Panic, the String Cheese Incident and many others!


More New Songs Acomin'

New songs have been popping up in this spring's tour set lists. And according to a recent Dave Schools interview, the band has 18 new songs to they're playing around with before going into the studio later this year.

What we've heard so far:

03/23/07 The Woodlands, TX - 'Smoking Factory'
03/24/07 Grand Prairie, TX - 'Shoes On Tight'
03/27/07 Kansas City, MO 'Angels on High'
04/03/07 Richmond, VA - 'Flicker'
04/04/07 Baltimore, MD - ''Tell The Truth Into Submission' (aka Tickle the Truth'

Widespread Panic has said in the past that that's how they like to improve on new songs... by playing them live.

"We don't want to be predictable. So we want people to be on their toes. We'll throw out different songs that we haven't played in a while so we aren't predictable," states Sunny Ortiz. "When we play music, when we do songs, we're conversing with each other through the lyrics and the music and the people are kind of accepting that. They are listening with their ears and they are either saying "oh, that sounds good" or "that sucks."

Sunny went on to say "Sometimes you hear through word of mouth what people are saying about certain songs. How it flows, you know. We try to listen to our fans."

Working on new songs while perfoming live has always been the way the boys do things except when they released their album BALL in which they choose not to play the songs live before recording them as they normally do.

What do you think of the new songs played so far? Share a comment and let us know!

Asheville's Mumpower Mocked

Asheville City Councilman Carl Mumpower has been making headlines in that city recently with his crusade to crack down on illegal drug activity during concerts. Apparently prompted by a Rat Dog concert where it was said it "smelled like an Amsterdam hash bar", Mumpower asked local police to crack down on drug activity in and around the Civic Center during a Widespread Panic show on April 13th. He also asked County Sheriff’s and Highway Patrol to check autos for drink drivers.

Mumpower, planning to attend the concert to see first hand any illegal activity, also invited other city council members to attend the show.

Local residents, hearing that Mumpower may show up at the Civic center, printed Mumpower Masks and handed them freely to concertgoers to mock the councilman.

The band had responded earlier in the week in a letter addressed to the City Council stating:

"It has come to our attention that there is a misperception of Widespread Panic and its fan base," the band said through spokeswoman Annissa Mason. "We would like to make it clear that the band does not condone the use of drugs. While some choose to focus on the few in attendance who make their own personal choices, this overlooks the contributions that the band and its fans actively make to the needy of the community at large."

2 Free WP Tix to Orange Beach

from Kaiser Reality Vacations

Widespread Panic Concert Package
April 27-28

Calling all Panic Freaks!

Kaiser Realty Vacation Rentals has a special concert package for you!

Receive 2 FREE tickets for the Saturday night Widespread Show, April 28, 2007, when you book your reservation for that weekend in one of their spectacular condos or beach houses in Gulf Shores or Orange Beach. Why book in a hotel or motel when you can enjoy all the amenities of a beach home or condo?

BUT, there are only 4 MORE packages available, so don't delay!

Please reference Promotion Code WS when booking online or when calling one of our reservation professionals at 877-405-8815. This offer is only available for reservations of 3 nights or more.

Only 2 tickets are available per reservation. Some properties are excluded from this offer. Not valid with any other offer or previously booked reservations. Minimum 3 night stay is required. Normal taxes and fees still apply. You will receive your Widespread tickets at check-in. They will not be able to be picked up prior to check-in.

It's going to be an awesome show!!


WP Concerts - an excuse for drug use

Another bad rap for the band Widespread Panic. This time coming from Louisville where police staked out the Palace Theater on April 11th looking for drug dealers. City police made as many as 60 arrests with at least 9 of them felonies.

WHAS channel 11 in Louisville reported on the arrests in an article reprinted here.

Hippies hassled by the man at rock show
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A concert at the Palace Theater proved to be a fertile ground for police looking for drug dealers and users.

The musical group was called “Widespread Panic,” but their concert seemed to be an excuse for widespread drug use. More than 60 people were arrested.

Their billboards were still in place at the Palace; their impact will be felt in the court system for weeks and months to come.

Last year, Widespread Panic came to Louisville and their followers caught local police off guard with drugs and fights. This time, Metro Police were ready.

“Last year, they had free reign. We kind of tightened down on them this year,” says Sgt. Robert Kaelin of Metro Police. “They now realize the can come in and have a good time, but they need to leave the drugs at home.”

The vendors who follow the band set up shop in parking lots and garages near Fifth and Chestnut streets. Some sold t-shirts, but many sold drugs. Some dealers were even working the middle of Fourth Street. They quickly went to jail. Police had a paddy wagon ready, making nine felony arrests and 48 misdemeanor pick-ups. They also recovered over a pound of marijuana, drug pipes, cocaine and more.

“They have a lot of marijuana. They do a lot of mushrooms. They do a little bit of cocaine. You know, the majority of mushrooms and psychedelic drugs.”

Police say it reminds them of the Grateful Dead tours. Groupies, mostly from out of town, follow the bands, do drugs and see the show. Sgt. Kaelin says he's gotten calls from Fourth Street merchants thanking police for cracking down on this show.

And he says police are always on the lookout for shows that bring a drug culture to town.

Widespread Panic makes an annual stop in Louisville, and police say they depend on the Palace Theater and other venues to alert them when a band is booked that might bring trouble along with the music.

Asheville Anti-Drug Crusader to attend Panic Concert

In efforts to thwart the use of drugs during live concerts Asheville City Council member Carl Mumpower will personally attend a Widespread Panic show on Friday April 13th to "see for himself" how much drug use is actually going on during these types of shows. The counsil has also invited other members to attend the show and tour the facility.

The tour will help the city council members develop further comprehensive efforts to enforcement drug activity laws at the facility during concerts.

Carl Mumpower

reprint from the Ashville Mountain Express

The doobie and the damage done: Mumpower to attend Widespread Panic
by Hal L. Millard on 04/07/2007

He’s baaaaaack.

“He” would be Asheville City Council member Carl Mumpower. And the anti-drug crusader, fresh from a recent performance of the Grateful Dead spin-off band, RatDog, has announced he will buy a ticket and grace the confines of the Asheville Civic Center once again for the upcoming Widespread Panic show on Friday, April 13. “That will afford a more comprehensive effort to observe drug enforcement efforts at the facility during this concert,” Mumpower explained in a recent e-mail.

And while you’re free to noodle dance to your hippie heart’s content, be discreet with your stash (or maybe just leave it at home).

Snarkiness aside, Mumpower is sincere in his efforts to rid the city of the scourge of drugs (a campaign many Asheville residents have indicated they are grateful for), though many were quite nonplussed that the dapper city official showed up at the recent show to observe and drop dime on concertgoers imbibing illicit substances such as marijuana and LSD — for which several arrests were made by city police. Lest anyone forget, however, Mumpower did confess he enjoyed the band.


After Widespread Panic band members received the news their spokesperson send a letter to the counsil committee in response.

"It has come to our attention that there is a misperception of Widespread Panic and its fan base," the band said through spokeswoman Annissa Mason. "We would like to make it clear that the band does not condone the use of drugs. While some choose to focus on the few in attendance who make their own personal choices, this overlooks the contributions that the band and its fans actively make to the needy of the community at large."


WP Package Raffle for Good Cause

The McKinney Family will host a benefit show on April 12th with Hot Buttered Rum at the Grey Eagle in Ashville, NC. for the Rowan J. McKinney Education Fund.

Online Raffle for a Widespread Panic Package includes:

# Autographed "Tunes for Tots" 2006 poster (12/29/2006 - Roxy Theatre, Atlanta GA)
# Signed and numbered by the artist (#193/250)
# 2 General Admission tickets to the 4/13/2007 concert at the Asheville Civic Center

Auction ends April 11, 2007 @ 11:30 pm. Winning ticket will be drawn at the Benefit show on April 12, 2007. The winner will be contacted via e-mail and/or phone. The winner NEED NOT BE PRESENT at the benefit show to win.

Tickets are $10 for one ticket, or $40 for five tickets. To purchase a Widespread Panic raffle ticket, please paypal shineonpaulmckinney@gmail.com.

or check the Shine On Paul McKinney.org website for more information!


Panic Looking for New Label

Sanctuary Records Shutting Down

Looks as if Widespread Panic will be shopping for a new record label. After weeks of rumors, Billboard has confirmed that Sanctuary Record Group-- Widespread Panic's record label--will shut down its U.S. operations this summer.
Sanctuary will continue to run its catalog, licensing and new media operations.

U.K. executives arrived in New York last Thursday and told Sanctuary Records staffers that they would cut operations by June 30, according to a source at the label.

According to a source within the company, Sanctuary Records' U.S. label will cease to release new material this starting this summer. Sanctuary will only continue to run its catalog and licensing operations. All affected staffers, which includes marketing, publicity and most sales personnel, will be let go by June 30th. The label will still work the albums they recently released.

Sanctuary Records will phase out its new-release arm in North America to focus on its back catalog. The label is centered in the United Kingdom.


Washington University Digs Panic

by David McConaghay

Jamming through thick and thin

Widespread Panic, the preeminent Southern blues-driven rock and roll band in America, is coming to D.C. this weekend. Tickets sold out within hours of the concert's announcement weeks ago, but they're available on eBay for $100 a pop if you're lucky.

Founded in 1986 by four students out of the University of Georgia and joined by percussionist Sunny Ortiz and key man JoJo Hermann, Widespread Panic is named after its original lead guitarist Michael Houser. In his days, Mikey was prone to panic attacks and suffered from severe stage fright, performing his entire career sitting down while his singular, effect pedal-free solos sent everyone else soaring out of their seats.

Houser passed away from pancreatic cancer on August 10, 2002. Starting in September 2006, Jimmy Herring joined the band.

Herring's fresh presence seems to have jolted the band back into prime form. Not that they ever struggled on stage, but the death of a founding member will shake any band to its foundations. On the interim tours between Mike's passing and Jimmy's joining, old friend George McConnell and former guitar tech Sam Holt admirably shared the guitar load under heavily undeserved scrutiny from grieving, lifelong fans. But fans wanted more.

Now that Jimmy has settled into what appears to be a permanent position, Panic has been performing beyond their expected awesomeness. From what Panic fans have seen and heard of their recent shows, the unpredictable Panic is back. They have debuted three original tunes already on this spring tour, while continuing to re-invent the classic tracks that have led them this far.

Granted, Widespread Panic has been playing the same essential group of songs somewhat the same way for more than two decades. If you've been to two-dozen shows, you've probably heard them play the same "Porch Song" a few times. But the question is, are you ever disappointed when they do? There is a timeless nature to this music, something that won't get old no matter how many times you listen to the same version of the same set of songs. (If you want proof, listen to Disc 2 of Live in the Classic City.) The drifting, intense and alternately bright and harrowing rock and roll is not for everyone. Panic spans the spectrum from what The Grateful Dead called "Space," down to the most basic old-home, back-country rhythm and blues stolen originally inspired by the Rolling Stones.

Founding member, lead singer, rhythm guitarist and amateur mystic John Bell sings with a scratchy, soul-soaked voice, rich in Southern twang, sometimes story-telling improvised lyrics as the big Spirit consumes him.

The magnanimous Dave Schools plays the bass. He is a big guy, as he holds down the heavy rhythms at the low end of Widespread's sound. The wild dark curls atop his head sink past his shoulders but rarely rest there when the stage fan is blowing, throwing them up to one side as he rolls along, claiming momentary spotlight with a flurry of fingers thumping up and down his fret before settling back into the groove for everyone else to build upon.

Schools stands on the audience's right side of the stage, making it the preferable place to boogie. Come Friday and Saturday night, almost everyone entering the Warner Theatre will have a proverbial sign on their head that says "I Came To Get Down."

Whether or not you are one of the lucky souls to enter the Warner Theater this weekend (which, by the way, is within walking distance of our dear Foggy Bottom) may be up to the eBay gods by now. On one hand, it's too bad they aren't playing a big arena so everybody could go for cheap. But then again, it's probably a good thing they still know better not to; they must dig the intimacy.

Widespread Panic will be at the Warner Theatre Friday and Saturday. Tickets have been sold out for a month. "Earth to America" is their most recent album.


Richmond News Gives Good Review


Widespread Panic ignites Landmark

For jam-band fans, time marches on in the post-Dead, post-Phish world. As new players appear with plans to get onstage and take off for parts unknown, a few longtimers continue to ascend in the hearts of concertgoers.

Widespread Panic falls into the latter category. Like Phish, its record sales have been respectable if not phenomenal. Since its name was made on the stage, sales mattered little in sustaining a 20-plus-year career that has enabled the band to make a living bringing studio songs to an audience.

After getting off to something of a comfortable start with "From the Cradle" at Tuesday night's Landmark show, percussionist Domingo Ortiz lit up the crowd with a lively solo at the start of "Fishwater" and threw the show into gear. With the song reaching a series of peaks before slamming shut, the sell-out crowd reacted as if the night might end at any second.
Click here.

Speaking of the crowd, when was the last time you remember seeing everyone on every balcony level of a theater standing -- even 20 minutes into a show?

Widespread Panic deserves credit for developing songs that can carry an audience -- be they new to the band or longtime travelers -- over the course of three hours. For the Landmark show, the band wended its way through many of its studio albums, digging back as far as "Love Tractor" from 1991's "Widespread Panic."

New guitarist Jimmy Herring deserves a nod for injecting the two sets with a little extra fire. Playing off the rhythm anchor of bassist Dave Schools and drummer Todd Nance, Herring tore off a number of lightning-bolt solos, as on a funky "Angels on High."

With solos kept to a reasonable length, the weight of the performance rested on the strength of the songs, as these guys aren't exactly jumping beans onstage. The band did take the time to stretch out, but compared to the considerably looser approach of many of its peers, the solid structure of this show's offerings seemed economical.

As with the high-energy "Give" from 2001's "Don't Tell the Band," Widespread Panic played like a rock band in no particular hurry to bring a good thing to an end. And the audience, largely, chose to go along for the ride.


20 years of Panic from Louisville


Widespread Panic will be at Louisville's Palace Theater on Aprill 11.

20 years of Panic
By Kevin Wilson
Widespread Panic: Photo by Terry Manning After 20 years, Widespread Panic is as much an institution as it is a band.Typically thought of as a Southern rock stylist, Widespread Panic’s John Bell actually traces his roots to Cleveland. It was only after high school that this affable jam-band frontman fled the rust belt and inadvertently launched a career in music.

Things fell together vocationally when Bell decided on the University of Georgia for college. As he recalls, “I wound up down there for school at a time when Athens was such a freak-show. Besides the B-52’s and R.E.M., there were blues guys, country acts and lots of lesser-known, new-wave bands and performance artists. But the cool thing was that there was room for everybody.”

There was even room for the “weirder than average” guitar duo that Bell formed with fellow student Michael Houser. The two men would compose the core of the band that eventually expanded to include Dave Schools, Todd Nance, Jo Jo Hermann and Sunny Ortiz. Once assembled, the guys took on the rather evocative moniker that has served them so well.

“Truth be told, there wasn’t any great thought or deliberation about it,” Bell says of the name. “Mike’s nickname had been Panic … and one night he decided he didn’t just wanna be known as Panic, he wanted to be Widespread Panic. So, when we needed something to put on posters or T-shirts for a gig that was coming up, we just adopted that for the whole group.”

Elongated cover versions of classic rock staples and quirky, multi-genre originals quickly earned WP a reputation as a must-see live act. Gradually, over a number of years, the band’s near-constant touring and friendliness toward the tape-trading scene cemented a bond with concert-goers. Thousands of shows played and seven official live discs are sufficient evidence that this realm really is WP’s strong suit.

But WP has also been respectably prolific in the studio. To date, it has issued nine solid albums of its own and two more in collaboration with Vic Chesnutt.

“As much as we like to tour, we truly love the studio environment,” Bell said. “It’s a gas! It is a totally different process than working live. It is like painting a picture at your leisure in the privacy of your own home and deciding when it is just right and ready to exhibit.”

Throughout its 20-plus years in the music business, WP has certainly grasped the importance of remaining creative and dynamic, not only in terms of its approach to artistic expression but also in regard to technology and, in fact, life itself.

“We have lived through some drastic changes,” Bell says. “Our first recordings were put out on a good old-fashioned 45 (RPM). It sounds crazy now, but we almost didn’t issue Space Wrangler (the band’s debut) on CD because compact discs hadn’t really caught on yet. Records and cassette tapes were still the preferred mediums. Who would’ve ever imagined that we’d have something called file sharing to contend with? But you just gotta roll with it, ’cause technology ain’t gonna stop.

“And it is kind of fun to be in the middle of it all,” Bell continues. “It’s akin to being in a boat at sea. As with most things in this profession, you get to steer your own course to a certain extent, but you still get rocked by the waves.”

Rocked they were, when founding member Michael Houser lost his battle with pancreatic cancer in 2002. At that juncture, WP took its first-ever sabbatical to reflect and re-group. Per Houser’s wishes, they have continued on, at first with long-time friend George McConnell sitting in. Most recently they recruited veteran guitarist Jimmy Herring to help fill the void left by the man whose name lives on through the band he loved so much.

All things considered, Bell is clearly humbled by the group’s longevity and cultural significance, but he says there are enough reasons why Widespread Panic matters to so many people.

“As a band, we have probably lasted as long as we have because what we do is focused on cultivating real relationships based on a common love of music and that, fortunately, is not dependent on something fleeting like physical appearance or dance moves.”

“And most importantly,” Bell concludes, “on a personal level, amongst ourselves there has always been a willingness to get along and to be supportive of each other. Looking back, it’s nice to have been around for so long but we have to just take it one day, one tour at a time.”
Contact the writer at leo@leoweekly.com
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Kansas City Show Review from Arrogantics

Photo from Arrogantics.com

Concert Review: Widespread Panic
From Arrogantics.com Posted by Clover

Widespread Panic, a band of five men that started up in 1986, recently rolled through the Uptown Theater of Kansas City, Missouri on March 27th and 28th. Their main goal, when making their music, was to move the listeners and allow them to free themselves. Yet it was hard to tell whether the music was moving their listeners, or whether it was the drugs that many of them were clearly on.

With marijuana, meth, and ecstacy present it was near impossible to keep track of who was doing the drugs and who was just high from being “hot boxed“. Aside from drugs, beer was also present. Those that were not completely high, were drunk. There were people flailing through the hallways being “free” and knocking people over in the process, some flipping off the walls, and a few even threw up on the floor, not even trying for a trash can or bathroom. Quite a few people had to be escorted out of the building by police for uncontrollable behavior and, all in all, the whole show was like a mini-Woodstock.

It was unbelievable, the amount of hair that was present at this event. Women clearly had not shaved anywhere and made it known, yet took the time to pluck their eyebrows before the show, which did not make much sense. Men looked as if they had been out in the wilderness for ages and had not had the opportunity to properly bathe. This probably is not the ideal concert for someone who is constantly worried about their own hygeine, for people were walking around barefoot and randomly grabbing people to dance with them, if you want to call it dancing.

In the end this concert was about a two out of five. There are select few people who would actually enjoy attending something like this. For those that would enjoy an event like this, investing money to see Widespread Panic would be a good idea, otherwise I advise you to keep rolling… the other way.

Resonse to this article here



Out Like A Lion

Well as I predicted in an earlier blog, Taylor Hicks made his way on stage to join Widespread Panic once again. The audience in Cleveland got to see Taylor take the stage to perform Stop Breakin' Down Blues with the boys. This won't be the last time we see Hicks perform with Panic.And expect to see other guests hanging out with the band this tour. The Cleveland show was a high energy evening for all at the State Theater as JB played to his hometown fans and took March out like a lion!

Playhouse Square Center State Theatre
Cleveland, OH 3/31/2007

Climb To Safety > Rock, Smoking Factory
Pigeons, Blue Indian > Rebirtha > *Stop Breakin' Down Blues
Dyin' Man > Travelin' Light

Tall Boy/Jam > Space Wrangler
Sleeping Man, Travelin' Man/Jam> Mini Drums >
Maggot Brain > Life During Wartime
None of Us Are Free > Henry Parsons Died > Imitation Leather Shoes

Old Joe >Cream Puff War

* with Taylor Hicks on harmonica


Apr. 01, 2007 Albany, NY -Palace Theatre
Apr. 03, 2007 Richmond, VA -Landmark Theater
Apr. 04, 2007 Baltimore, MD -Hippodrome Theatre
Apr. 06, 2007 Washington, DC -Warner Theatre SOLD OUT
Apr. 07, 2007 Washington, DC -Warner Theatre SOLD OUT
Apr. 10, 2007 Pittsburgh, PA -Benedum Center
Apr. 11, 2007 Louisville, KY -Palace Theatre
Apr. 13, 2007 Asheville, NC -Civic Center
Apr. 14, 2007 Huntsville, AL -Von Braun Civic Center
Apr. 15, 2007 Columbia, SC -Township Auditorium
Apr. 17, 2007 Knoxville, TN -Tennessee Theatre SOLD OUT
Apr. 18, 2007 Knoxville, TN -Tennessee Theatre SOLD OUT
Apr. 20, 2007 Raleigh, NC -Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
Special Guests: North Mississippi All-Stars
Apr. 21, 2007 Raleigh, NC -Walnut Creek Amphitheatre
Special Guests: North Mississippi All-Stars
Apr. 23, 2007 Athens, GA -The Classic Center
Apr. 24, 2007 Athens, GA -The Classic Center
Apr. 25, 2007 Athens, GA -The Classic Center
Apr. 27, 2007 Orange Beach, AL
Special Guests: DJ Logic and Jerry Joseph
Apr. 28, 2007 Orange Beach, AL
Special Guests: DJ Logic & JJ Grey & Mofro