Widespread Panic Returns for Halloween

Widespread Panic returns to New Orleans for Halloween;
on sale date pushed back to Sept. 26

Posted by Keith Spera, Music writer, The Times-Picayune

Georgia jam band Widespread Panic is returning to the UNO Lakefront Arena on Halloween for the first time since 2002. The band performs at the arena Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.

Pre-sale mail order tickets are already sold out; the remaining allotment of tickets were originally scheduled to go on sale to the public on Sept. 12. However, promoter Live Nation has pushed back that on-sale date to Sept. 26 because of the lingering effects of Hurricane Gustav.

Panic's Halloween stands at the Lakefront Arena -- the longest run was three consecutive nights -- have typically sold out well in advance. Fans travel to New Orleans from around the country, and in years past have camped on the arena grounds. However, no camping will be allowed after this year's shows, says arena manager Marco Perez.

On Halloween night, many fans wear costumes, as do members of the band. The musicians surprise fans with unexpected covers sprinkled into their improvisational roots rock 'n' soul. At the 2002 Halloween show, those covers included War's "Slippin' Into Darkness," the Little Feat instrumental "Skin It Back," James Brown's "Get Up (I Feel Like Being a Sex Machine)" and rapper Nelly's "Hot In Herre."

Two New Orleans favorites will open the shows. Troy "Trombone Shorty" Andrews opens the Oct. 31 show, and Ivan Neville's Dumpstaphunk is on the bill for Nov. 1.