Intrepid Seven Days reporter Ken Picard took one for the team and went to see the Widespread Panic show at Memorial Auditorium last night. As he's been known to enjoy himself a little WP, I asked him to write about his experience. Here's what he had to say:
Widespread Panic: Tuesday, September 19 @ Memorial Auditorium, Burlington:
It’s been, oh, a good decade or so since I last saw a Widespread Panic show — at the Back Yard in Austin, Texas, with a noggin full of brownies — and admittedly, I had my doubts. Guitarist Michael Houser has long since moved on to the great noodle session in the sky, and Casey Rea’s lamentably spot-on review last week of the new disc, Earth to America, more or less tore the band a new jam hole. Worse, WSP was booked into one of my least favorite venues, Memorial Auditorium, which has all the acoustical appeal of hollering into an empty paint can.
Then again, like lobsters and sex shows, Widespread Panic is always better live, and this one was no exception — even without the help of Duncan Hines. Reportedly, last night’s performance was only the fourth outing with the band for former Dead/Aquarium Rescue Unit guitarist Jimmy Herring, and he didn’t disappoint. It took him the better part of the first set to start flexing his muscles, but after the set break, the gymnasium smelled like Otto’s jacket and the energy level ratcheted up several notches.
I doubt the show sold out — it was a school night, after all — but it was comfortably warm in the house, with plenty of dancing space. Sadly, I missed the “Travelin’ Light” encore. But hey, my girlfriend was back in town and she’s much easier on the eyes than Dave Schools. Someone should tell him to lay off the Ho-Ho's.
Set list compliments of www.everydaycompanion.com
1: Send Your Mind, Little Lily, Ride Me High > I’m Not Alone > Better Off, Crazy, Down, Tortured Artist > Henry Parsons Died
2: Good People, Heroes, Casa Del Grillo, Weight of the World > Mercy> Drums > Hatfield > Goin’ Out West > Chainsaw City
Encore: Time Waits > Travelin’ Light
So there you have it. A nice counter to last week's rather brutal CD review.
PS: Stay tuned for the unveiling of my first podcast, "The Contrarian's Corner," this Friday!