Widespread Panic • Live in DC
Warner Theatre • April 21,2015
Last night Widespread Panic returned to DC for the first time since 2011 to the ornate and intimate Warner Theatre in the nation’s capitol. What ensued was utter punishment and destruction. Widespread Panic immediately proved why they are one of the best bands around.
Kicking off the night appropriately was “Pleas”, a song with some of my favorite lyrics in the Panic catalog followed by a strong and energetic “Weight of the World” to shift into the next gear. They would indeed “Bring It On Home” last night. “You’ve Got Yours” was a foreshadowing of the stellar night of Panic ahead and as expected, John Bell was on fire handling the vocals as Schools delivered thunderous basslines. When they took a slight pause to launch into “Bears Gone Fishing,” I had a feeling the night was about to take a turn into a special place. The band made sure that no one in the building would have to wait for the second set to get things moving at full speed.
Then it happened. “Little Lilly>Jamais Vu>Dear Mr. Fantasy” left everyone highfiving the person next to them, as we tried to wrap ours heads around the fact that Panic dropped an early first set Dear Mr. Fantasy. A fun and upbeat “Junior” kept the party going on many spirits strong. JoJo held his hands high in the claw like manner on the clav we all know and love for a hefty “Greta,” followed by a menacing face melter in a Jimmy Herring free for all on “Henry Parsons Died”.
At setbreak everyone knew that tonight the boys were in DC on one hell of a business trip. The instrumental A of D was played for the first time since July 2, 2014 and marked the very first time Duane has performed the song since becoming part of the lineup in October of 2014. The Papa Legba was pretty satisfying per usual, but then we got down to the segue of the night.
The second set non-stop sandwich of “Driving Song> Disco>Hatfield (I remember Hatfield’s mama by the way)> Honky Red>Jam>Drums>Drums & Bass (with Dave rapping Iggy Pop’s “TV Eye”, yesterday was Iggy Pop’s Birthday) >Stop Go> Driving Song” was the best part of the night. Go ahead, please re-read that segue. That is why we love Panic. The “Driving Song” was very well received and I always feel like is a great reflection on life for the band. It feels like every time they play the song it is a nod to heaven for Mikey. The crowd responded loudly (as usual) as they struck the first note of the fan-favorite “Disco”. The Hatfield was perfectly placed in that long segue sandwich. Hatfield is a song that highlights pretty much every facet of Panic’s greatness. John Bell loves that song and there are built in sections for every single member to improv a little.
“Honky Red” has easily become one of everyone’s new favorite Panic covers. The old song originally appeared on Murray McLauchlan’s 1971 album “Song from the Street.” Panic first covered the tune on April 6, 2014 at the Orpheum Theatre in Los Angeles as the first of three encores. Last night marked the fifth “Honky Red” the band has played this year, hopefully it continues to be in heavy rotation for a bit. Then they can shelf it temporarily, and bust it back out (you guys already know the drill). The “Jam>Drums>Drum & Bass” showed just how locked in Sunny, Schools, and Duane are right now on the tour. Sure everyone misses Todd, we all do, but it is a fact that Duane Trucks is doing an exceptional job of assuming the drum throne for the time being. That “Drums” was very positive reinforcement of that. The “Stop Go” really made sense as an easy transition out of “Drum & Bass”. Then things picked back up with JB howlin’ at the Moon for a “Thought Sausage.” The first set ended with a Herring free for all, so why not just do that again to end the second set? The “Action Man” had me running to find the nearest fire extinguisher to put out Jimmy’s flames.
The boys took a quick little break then gave us a fun “Contentment Blues” then they stopped momentarily. We all knew they weren’t done because the show simply had too much momentum to end. They encored with the first song I ever saw live and I’m pretty sure anyone who likes Panic has some special memories with this song, a classic “Holden Oversoul”.
Schools was wearing a “Home Team as Fuck” shirt. What else should we expect other than a barn burner? They held NOTHING BACK last night, that is no secret. The best part about the show wasn’t “this solo or that solo”, it was an embodiment of why Panic places that shit eating grin on all of our faces, the band’s selflessness and ability to throw away the spotlight in order to sound as one.
Stream the show via PanicStream.com. I will see ya’ll tonight.
4.21.15 | Washington DC| 8:21 ET
Set 1: Pleas > Weight of the World, You Got Yours, Bears Gone Fishin’ > Little Lilly > Jamais Vu > Dear Mr Fantasy, Junior, Greta > Henry Parson’s Died (78 mins)
Set 2: A of D^, Papa Legba, Driving Song > Disco > Hatfield > Honky Red > Jam > Drums > Drums & Bass* > Stop Go > Driving Song, Thought Sausage, Action Man (84 mins)
Encore: Contentment Blues, Holden Oversoul (10 mins)
Notes: ^ LTP 7/02/14 Las Vegas (FTP for Duane)
* Dave with ‘TV Eye’ (Iggy Pop) rap out of Drums