Following a glorious first night, Widespread Panic resumed their musical annihilation at Red Rocks Ampitheatre in Morrison, Colorado with an epic evening of heaters throughout a rare three-set show. Everyone approached their instrument with their customary, subtle demeanors and gave no indication of the conflagration that was about to be ignited. Once again, the intense heat from the direct sunlight gave way to a cool, breezy night on the rocks.
Jimmy Herring was the first to attack during set one in a lively rendition of “Rebirtha” but it wasn’t long before JoJo Hermann took over on keys for an intoxicating “Blackout Blues”. The band was firing on all cylinders when John Bell commandeered the show with his powerful vocals during “Little Kin”, which segued into an electrifying “Radio Child.” A mellow “C. Brown” was welcomed warmly by the crowd and John Bell continued to mystify vocally.
“Tickle the Truth” was performed for the first time since April 2017. John Bell vocalized a sly introduction in his usual dogged manner, but JoJo and Jimmy also had pristine solos. After School’s bass line teased the beginning of “Stop-Go”, the crowd went nuts until he continued to hammer out the well-known bottom notes to this beloved tune from the Panic’s debut album. The entire band gelled beautifully throughout this filthy jam with each musician playing their parts flawlessly, while Schools stood out in the forefront with his relentless assault on bass. The musicians segued seamlessly into a funky “Weight of the World” which featured John Bell on slide guitar. The first set ended in triumphant blues fashion with a dirty version of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Taildragger.”
After a short set break, the band kept the pedal to the floor with a scorchin’ cover of Jerry Joseph’s “North.” To continue the musical devastation, the boys followed with David Bromberg’s circus tune “Sharon.” The carnival anthem enticed the audience with everyone singing the well-known lyrics “The same rowdy crowd that was here last night, is back again!” The jaunty beat of “Sell Sell” emerged with a smokin’ Herring guitarwork running rampant throughout the jam.
JoJo Herrmann’s keys introduced “Good People” to the setlist. Hermann’s keys paired with Herring’s guitar and John Bell got extra provocative with his saucy vocals. The tune featured several tempo and melody breakdowns that the band handled with casual ease. Dave Schools pounded out the beginning of “Second Skin” which culminated into a tremendously energetic jam. Jimmy Herring cast haunted acoustic spells upon the audience and John Bell continued to mystify with his faultless ethereal vocals. This song ended a short 48-minute set which was halted early to give the stage crew time to take down a LED screen that threatened to fly free with the increasingly heavy winds.
Coming back strong, the band returned to execute a jamtastic version of “Greta” with all the bells, whistles, and yellow rabbits involved. The drummers segued suavely into the percussive rhythms of “Cease Fire” keeping the intensity at full blast with this eerily, mystical banger from their most recent album Street Dogs. The boys then transitioned into another crowd favorite, “Blue Indian” from Til’ the Medicine Takes. The ravenous audience consumed these treats and reciprocated the band’s energy back towards the stage with their voices and a wide range of dance moves.
The folky upswing guitar riffs revealed “Holden Oversoul” as the next song. JoJo’s organ remained omnipresent, while Bell and Herring were on fire. Just as the excitement and energy didn’t seem to be raised any higher, the band busted out a bass-heavy “Puppy Sleeps” for the first time since April 2002 in Asheville, North Carolina. Featured on Brute’s Co-Balt, the song was co-written by Vic Chestnutt and Dave Schools. Schools made it well-known that it was his song with supporting vocals and a stompin’ bass. Jimmy Herring went full-blown electric wizard and the energy became palpable.
Slowing it down, the boys delved into another cut from Co-Balt with the sentimental Chestnutt cover “Expiration Date”. To finish off an exultant third set, Panic delivered a frenzied “Flat Footed Flewzy” that left the crowd foaming at the mouth.
With a long night of three sets of music, the band presented “Porch Song” as the solo encore to end an extensive second night. The boys scorched through the entire setlist and show no sign of slowing down for the last show of the run tonight. Never miss a Sunday show! Catch y’all on the rocks. Happy birthday Otis, you sonuvabitch.
Setlist: Widespread Panic | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 6/23/18
I: Rebirtha > Blackout Blues, Little Kin > Radio Child, C. Brown, Tickle The Truth, Stop Go > Weight of the World, Tail Dragger
II: North, Sharon, Sell Sell, Good People, Second Skin
III: Greta > Cease Fire > Blue Indian, Holden Oversoul, Puppy Sleeps, Expiration Day, Flat Foot Flewzy
Encore: Porch Song