The god-tier swamp rockers, Widespread Panic, posted up at the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, TN to close out 2022 with rowdy debauchery. Panic cooked up a mean one in Music City with monster jams and a tasty selection of covers from the usual suspects: Traffic, Talking Heads, Bloodkin, Neil Young, and Vic Chesnutt, as well as several others.

John Bell introduced the night with a simple “Good evening, Goodpeople” before the sextet kicked the door open with a high-energy cover of J.J. Cale’s “Travelin’ Light”. After barely a pause of silence, John “JoJo” Herman’s piano manifested a behemoth “Bust It Big”. Though Jimmy Herring constructed skyscrapers only to destroy them with his wrecking ball guitar riffs, JoJo was the MVP of the first set, and he ran wild and free across the ivory keys. It’s hard to leave out Sunny Ortiz when describing this percussive masterpiece. If his hands still hurt today, it’s because of the beatdown he gave his kit during BIB. The lyrics, “Pour my shots and ride my liquor down…. To Mexico!” warrant a call out because Playa edges ever closer on the horizon after Nashville.

Dave Schools anchored the rhythm of “Rebirtha” which begat a string of consecutive heaters that would remain unbroken for 40 minutes—until the very last song of the first set! Pursuing perfection after a steamy transition, Panic piled in the car for the first halves of a serene “Driving Song” and Traffic’s “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” before parking and stretching their legs for an organ-laden cover of Jerry Joseph and Glenn Esparza’s “Climb to Safety”.

JB’s flawless vocals were at full strength as the band reversed into the latter halves of “Low Spark” and “Driving Song” before ending the first frame with a raucous rendition of the Talking Heads’ “Life During Wartime”. As the band sauntered into the shadows, the still-smoking stage smoldered in the spotlight’s afterglow.

Like many of the audience members returning to their seats after a trip to the concession stands, WSP cracked open a crispy, cold “Tall Boy” and got lost in the foamy depths of the brew. Without stopping, the procession proceeded to the graveyard where they dug up a funereal rendition of the Bloodkin’s “Henry Parsons Died” before a fan-favorite cover of Neil Young’s “Walk On” made its rounds for the exuberant audience.

WSP included licks of Allman Brothers Band’s “Jessica” before throwing in a lengthy tease of the Grateful Dead’s “Turn On Your Lovelight” in the subsequent transitional jam into a cataclysmic “You Got Yours”. Keeping it heavy, a combination of Vic Chesnutt covers followed with a traditional pairing of “Protein Drink” / “Sewing Machine”.

Paddling into psychedelic waters, a bass bombardment of “Bear’s Gone Fishing” preceded a hard-hitting “Papa’s Home” dissected by an isolated drummer’s duel. JB took the reins in hand for a mellow cover of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” before cranking the intensity to the max for an “Imitation Leather Shoes” second set closer.

Far from finished, Widespread Panic returned to their positions on stage once more for three-song encore. “Conrad” broke out its cocoon to spread his wings before honoring Michael “Mikey” Houser with a pairing of “Travelin’ Man” and “The Waker” to wrap up the first night in glorious style.

Tonight is the last show of the year. Expect nothing, appreciate everything. We might never be here again. Hang tight, brothers and sisters, next one gonna be the best one of the year!

Widespread Panic – “Bust It Big” – 12/30/22

(Video: Fred Ramadan)

Widespread Panic – “Rebirtha” – 12/30/22

(Video: Tennessee Ed)

Widespread Panic – “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” > “Climb To Safety” > “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” – 12/30/22

(Video: Fred Ramadan)

Widespread Panic – “Henry Parsons Died” (Bloodkin) – 12/30/22

(Video: Tennessee Ed)

Widespread Panic – “You Got Yours” – 12/30/22

(Video: Fred Ramadan)

Widespread Panic – “Drums” – 12/30/22

(Video: NYNICKLIVE)

Widespread Panic – “For What It’s Worth” (Buffalo Springfield) – 12/30/22

(Video: Fred Ramadan)

Widespread Panic – “Imitation Leather Shoes” – 12/30/22

(Video: Robert L)

Widespread Panic – “Conrad” – 12/30/22

(Video: Robert L)

Widespread Panic – “The Waker” – 12/30/22

(Video: Michael Wilker)

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Setlist: Widespread Panic | Bridgestone Arena | Nashville, TN | 12/30/22

Set 1: Travelin’ Light, Bust It Big, Rebirtha > Driving Song > Low Spark of High Heeled Boys > Climb To Safety > Low Spark of High Heeled Boys > Driving Song, Life During Wartime (65 mins)

Set 2: Tall Boy > Henry Parsons Died, Walk On > You Got Yours, Protein Drink / Sewing Machine, Bear’s Gone Fishin’ > Papa’s Home > Drums > Papa’s Home, For What It’s Worth, Imitation Leather Shoes (95 mins)

Encore: Conrad, Travelin’ Man  > The Waker (19 mins)