They say to know where you’re going, you gotta know where you’ve been. Widespread Panic hasn’t missed a step during its 30+ years performing and certainly remembers its roots as the band paid respects to its late mentors, influences, and friends that are gone but not forgotten. At last night’s show that lead into Memorial Day at Orion Amphitheater in Huntsville, AL, Widespread Panic honored Willie Dixon, Billy Joe Shaver, Vic Chesnutt, Daniel Hutchens, Col. Bruce Hampton, Garrie Vereen, Todd Nance, and Michael Houser.

As Panic walked onstage, an excited buzz began to ripple through the crowd at the sight of John Bell in a backward hat. A backward hat show in the Dirty South is ideal conditions for a scorching night of WSP tunes. Getting down to business, a condensed performance of Link Wray’s instrumental “Rumble” opened the show before a lively “Conrad” burst forth from its cocoon.

Tributes for WSP’s Memorial Day began to flow as Willie Dixon’s “Weak Brain, Narrow Mind” blazed the way for Billy Joe Shaver’s “Chunk of Coal”. To follow, Dave Schools’ vocals and bouncing bass honored Vic Chesnutt with a thumping rendition of “Sleeping Man”.

JoJo Hermann and his piano introduced and led the six-piece through “Jaded Tourist” before a sizzlin’ Jimmy Herring guitar solo cut through the mix. For only the third time in the band’s history, JB sang a roadhouse rendition of Vic Chesnutt’s “Morally Challenged” with the geographically appropriate opening lyrics, “She’s your gray-haired granny from Gadsden, Alabama.”

Winding down the first frame, WSP performed the newly-inducted anthem “Trashy” as an emotionally charged tribute to Daniel Hutchens of Bloodkin. Consecutive originals “Jack > Love Tractor” closed out the first frame with psychedelic revelry. Appropriate to Memorial Day, the lyrics of “Love Tractor” held an exceptionally meaningful weight, “I’ve got enough fuel this time to remember!”

Returning to the stage for the second set, Panic honored fallen bandmate Todd Nance with a performance of “Down”. This tune—sung by Nance on the album—has been performed six times since being taken off the shelf on June 25th at last year’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre run after a seven-year hiatus.

A reggae cut of Jerry Joseph’s “Chainsaw City” was performed (“No bad vibes!”) before WSP honored the loyal community with “Good People”. Breaking it down, JoJo led the audience down the twisted, shadowed back alleys into a fan-favorite “Dark Bar” halfway through the song.

Following “Cease Fire > Jamais Vu”—a nod toward Garrie Vereen, former road crew member—Widespread Panic rolled into a stream of uninterrupted jams as “Impossible” segued into a cover of David Earle Johnson’s “Time is Free”. The cover was frequently covered by Col. Bruce Hampton and radiated with the Colonel’s cosmic inspiration with a “Zambi” and “Space is the Place” jam.

Without stopping, Panic plunged into the depths of a funky “Fishwater”, complete with a Duane Trucks and Sunny Ortiz-led “Drums” section. After nearly an hour of nonstop jams, Widespread took a quick pause before closing the second set with Jerry Joseph’s “North.”

To conclude the weekend’s festivities, Widespread Panic paid tribute to their fallen founding bandmates, Todd Nance and Michael Houser, with “Blue Indian” and “Travellin’ Man”. To punctuate the Huntsville run with an exclamation mark, Panic performed a heartwarming “The Waker” to close out the weekend’s celebrations.

Another exhilarating weekend in the books with the Widespread Panic family in Alabama. Next up, Panic on the Rocks. Red Rocks Amphitheatre that is, on June 24th–26th. The twice rescheduled five nights at Beacon Theatre are slated to follow in mid-July and rescheduled Napa and New Year’s shows at the Fox Theatre are over the horizon as well. For the full tour, click here. See you on the Rocks!

Full-show audio is available below, as well as a collection of fan-shot videos from YouTuber Fred Ramadan. Revisit Live For Live Music‘s coverage of Widespread Panic at the Orion Amphitheater on Friday and Saturday.

Widespread Panic – Orion Amphitheater – Huntsville, AL – 5/29/22 – Full-Show Audio


Widespread Panic – “Sleeping Man” – 5/29/22

Widespread Panic – “Morally Challenged” (Vic Chesnutt) – 5/29/22

Widespread Panic – “Down” – 5/29/22

Widespread Panic – “Time Is Free” (David Earle Johnson) > “Space Is The Place Jam” – 5/29/22

Widespread Panic – “Fishwater”, “North” (Jerry Joseph) – 5/29/22

Widespread Panic – “Travelin’ Man” > “The Waker” – 5/29/22


View Videos

Setlist: Widespread Panic | Orion Amphitheater | Huntsville, AL | 5/29/22

Set One: Rumble, Conrad, Weak Brain, Narrow Mind, Chunk of Coal, Sleeping Man, Jaded Tourist, Morally Challenged, Trashy, Jack > Love Tractor (68 mins)

Set Two: Down, Chainsaw City, Good People > Dark Bar > Good People, Cease Fire > Jamais Vu > Impossible > Zambi Jam > Time Is Free > Space Is The Place Jam > Time Is Free > Fishwater > Mini Drums > Fishwater, North (95 mins)

Encore: Blue Indian, Travelin’ Man > The Waker (14 mins)

– ‘Morally Challenged’ LTP 12/31/19 Atlanta (53 shows) 3rd time played (Brute)
– ‘Time Is Free’ 12/30/19 Atlanta (54 shows)