Widespread Panic – the Southern-Rock, jamband from Athens, Georgia – ended a sold-out, two-night residency in Austin’s ACL Live at the Moody Theater on June 15. The three-hour performance displayed the raw power of a band fully in touch with its audience. The band includes frontman John Bell, guitarist Jimmy Herring, Dave Schools on bass, keyboardist John “JoJo” Hermann, Todd Nance playing kit drums and Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz on percussion.
Widespread Panic has a long history in its relationship with Austin as it headlined the Austin City Limits Music Festival in 2005 and was the first band to simultaneously perform an official SXSW showcase while taping an episode of the Austin City Limits television program. Widespread Panic’s ACL-Live performance added another first as the band became the first pay-per-view live streaming event on Facebook. As part of the offering, fans were able to submit questions on Facebook for John Bell to answer during the set break on the second night of the ACL Live shows. The night was also important as Widespread Panic is celebrating its 25th anniversary tour and is leading up to an extended, planned hiatus in 2012.
Often compared to the Grateful Dead, Widespread Panic and the Dead share the benefits of a build-in fan base as many members of the audience traveled long distances to see both of the Austin performances. The closing night show included songs very familiar to WSP fans along with choice covers such as Buffalo Springfield’s Mr. Soul. The two sets and encore had the audience on their feet and dancing for most of the night.
Setlist (from Panicstream.com):
Set 1: Heroes, Junior, Chainsaw City, Little Kin, B of D, Diner > Blight > Party at Your Mama’s House > Ribs and Whiskey
Set 2: Waitin’ For The Bus > Jesus Just Left Chicago, Imitation Leather Shoes > Jack, Visiting Day, Rebirtha > I Walk On Guilded Splinters > You Got Yours, Papa’s Home > Henry Parsons Died
Encore: Dirty Side Down, Pleas > Mr. Soul
Photos by Steve Hopson