Continuing to break their own records, Widespread Panic wrapped up their weekend at Red Rocks Amphitheatre with over three hours of scorching jams for the 66th consecutive sold-out show. As the doors opened, the running of the tarps happened for the final time as the diehard devotees demonstrated incredible athleticism to claim the real estate closest to the stage. As per tradition, WSP brought the heat with classics, tributes, long jams sandwiched together, and a legendary debut.
The swampy six-piece rolled up their sleeves to dish out a hard-hitting cover of Neil Young’s “Mr. Soul” to open the night with high-voltage energy. Jimmy Herring and JoJo Hermann traded quick solos to warm the audience who shuffled and danced to endure a chilly mountain drizzle. Consecutive originals kept the vibes euphoric as an intoxicating “Tall Boy” spilled into a celebratory “Cotton Was King”.
Widespread Panic – “Mr. Soul” (Neil Young) [Pro-Shot] – 6/26/22
Jimmy Herring swapped out his golden ax in favor of his white Fender Stratocaster to ride through a progressively building “The Last Straw” until racing down the home stretch in a full gallop. To follow, Jerry Joseph and Glenn Esparza’s “Climb To Safety” dropped a ladder down to rescue “Gradle” from self-doubt.
Dave Schools, wearing a black Melvins t-shirt, chiseled out the bass-heavy introduction to Calvin Carter and Bobby Rush’s gritty diddy, “Bowlegged Woman”. John Bell added an improvised section into the blues tune, hinting at songs to come: “I remember you / I was too scared to talk to you / my little buddy, Mr. Jameson, helped that tongue let loose / Come and ask you / Will you go upstairs and listen to some records or something / Just an idea / Oh! It’s a good idea / Just move a few of those boxes out of the way / I’m just moving in / That’s just my 1972 Led Zeppelin black light poster…” Herring and JoJo had fun subtly bending and distorting notes with their whammy bar and synthesizer’s knobs, respectively.
As the set wound down, a brief pause built anticipation for the first debut of the weekend, T. Rex’s “Mamba Sun”. Duane Trucks and Sunny Ortiz led the way through one final transition before a boiling “Fishwater” closed out the first frame.
By the time Widespread Panic returned for the second set, the sun had fallen, and darkness enveloped the surrounding mountains and valley below. Wielding his six-string bass, Dave Schools led the charge into the instrumental “Machine” until taking down a familiar bottle of “Barstools and Dreamers” for another pour.
For the third time since its debut at 2021’s Chicago run, Widespread Panic sandwiched Bob Dylan’s “A Hard’s A-Gonna Fall” in the middle of Leon Russell’s “Stranger in a Strange Land”. After a smooth stroll through “Walkin’ (For Your Love)”, Panic switched gears for a hallowed tribute to late songwriter and friend of the band, Daniel Hutchens of Bloodkin, with “Trashy”. (“Just like my 1972 Led Zeppelin black light poster”) This marked the 13th time that this song was performed since its debut almost exactly a year prior at Red Rocks. During this commemorative, anniversary performance, Jimmy Herring included a poignant The Beatles “Within You Without You” tease.
With no signs of slowing down, WSP cruised through an undivided “Driving Song” before following up with the instrumental “Party At Your Mama’s House”. To ward off any potential lightning strikes, Jimmy Herring manipulated the electrical currents in the surrounding atmosphere with a blustery solo.
After the rest of the stage cleared room for the percussionists, Duane Trucks and Sunny Ortiz walloped their kits before being joined by Schools to complete the rhythm pocket. The improvised jams found direction as Schools introduced a fan-favorite interpretation of Winston Riley’s “Arleen.” A saucy JB snuck in “Arleen /Just a dream / Luckily, all those bullets were too” as well as a few “Good Morning, Little Schoolgirl” repetitions while Herring riffed on Jimi Hendrix’s “Voodoo Chile” during his solo.
Rounding out the lengthy second set, WSP performed an emotional cover of The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” for only the third time since its debut in Vegas earlier this year. Returning to a classic staple, WSP finished the set in raucous fashion with Vic Chesnutt’s “Protein Drink / Sewing Machine”.
While waiting for the encore, the local Colorado Avalanche officially secured their Stanley Cup victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning so when Widespread Panic returned to the stage, the applause was especially boisterous. For the seventh time since its debut and only the third time as an encore, WSP put on a fearsome “Halloween Face” before lightening the mood for a fan-favorite journey through “Pilgrims”. To end the weekend of debauchery, the Panics crawled into a ragin’ “Conrad”.
Bloodkin performed the afterparty at So Many Roads Brewery to the rare few with energy to keep going after a three-and-a-half-hour show and almost ten hours of music throughout the weekend.
Next on the horizon is the twice rescheduled Beacon Theatre run for the eager NYC crowd on July 21st–25th, followed by the rain-checked New Year’s Eve shows at the fabulous Fox Theatre on August 10th–12th and Napa Valley shows on August 26th–28th. Panic returns to National Harbor, MD to finish summer on September 16th–18th. For a full list of fall dates and beyond including Halloween in Savannah and New Year’s Eve in Nashville, click here. Check out a collection of fan-shot videos from Fred Ramadan.
Widespread Panic – “Bowlegged Woman” (Calvin Carter, Bobby Rush) – 6/26/22
Widespread Panic – “Stranger In A Strange Land” (Leon Russell) > “A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall” (Bob Dylan) > “Stranger In A Strange Land” – 6/26/22
Widespread Panic – “Arleen” (The Beatles) – 6/26/22
Widespread Panic – “Dear Prudence” (Winston Riley) – 6/26/22
Widespread Panic – “Protein Drink” > “Sewing Machine” (Vic Chesnutt) – 6/26/22
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Setlist: Widespread Panic | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 6/26/22
Set One: Mr. Soul (Neil Young), Tall Boy > Cotton Was King, The Last Straw, Climb To Safety (Jerry Joseph, Glenn Esparza), Gradle, Bowlegged Woman (Calvin Carter, Bobby Rush), Mambo Sun > Fishwater (69 mins)
Set Two: Machine > Barstools and Dreamers, Stranger In A Strange Land (Leon Russell) > A Hard Rains A-Gonna Fall (Bob Dylan) > Stranger In A Strange Land, Walkin’ (For Your Love), Trashy (Bloodkin), Driving Song, Party At Your Mama’s House > Drums > Drums & Bass > Arleen (Winston Riley), Dear Prudence (The Beatles), Protein Drink / Sewing Machine (Vic Chesnutt) (110 mins)
Encore: Halloween Face, Pilgrims, Conrad (25 mins)
– FTP ‘Mambo Sun’ (T. Rex original)
– ‘Voodoo Child’ tease during ‘Arleen’
– “Within You Without You” (Beatles) tease during “Trashy”
– Entire weekend with Edie Jackson, sign language interpreter