After playing an introductory show with both beloved classics and extremely rare treats for the first night, Widespread Panic surmounted the Rocky Mountains once more to perform their 63rd time ever at the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre for night two in Morrison, Colorado. Testing the audience members’ early acclimation to the elevation, the New Orleans Suspects hosted an after-party at Cervantes’ Masterpiece Ballroom and were joined by JoJo Hermann for a raucous late-night fiesta. Saturday’s weather remained hot and balmy but showed signs of letting up as the wind brought a refreshingly, cool breeze through the elevated seating area.

Helping the audience remember the good times, a hatless John Bell wielded his “tiny guitar”, a mandolin for all the users, to perform an opening “Ain’t Life Grand” from the same-titled 1994 studio album. Just as the night before, the band covered another Neil Young song early in the first set with the rockin’ “Mr. Soul” that gave Jimmy Herring and Hermann a chance to trade furious solos.

Returning to their own repertoire, Panic got halfway into “Good People”, the tribute to the community, before pulling another trick out of their sleeves with Hermann leading the band through the long-shelved “Dark Bar.” This bust-out hasn’t been heard since Panic en la Playa Uno in 2012, nearly 400 shows ago! As is tradition, “Dark Bar” ended and the band returned back into “Good People” to finish out the second half of the song.

Dave Schools pondered to take a melodic stroll down a subsequent pair of old-school originals with “Wondering” being followed by “Walkin’ (For Your Love)” to the appreciation of the crowd. The instrumental “A of D” bled into a lengthy, psychedelic preamble to “Saint Ex”. The heavy, opening track off Dirty Side Down was loosely based on the story of a German pilot shooting down his favorite author, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry of The Little Prince in World War II, singing, “If I knew, I knew you… I never would have shot you down!”

Wrapping up the first set, Schools stepped up to the microphone to burn through Steve Ferguson of NRBQ’s quick-quipped “Flat-Footed Flewzy.” Schools, a breathing poltergeist, added “She’s LOCO!” as well as devilish cackles and the general element of mischievousness to the song with the appropriate lyrics, “Singing Flewzy woozy boogie on a Saturday night!”

Widespread Panic – “Ain’t Life Grand” – 6/29/2019

[Pro-Shot Video: Widespread Panic]

After opening the second set with a cover of Jerry Joseph’s “Climb to Safety”, Panic busted-out another heavy hitter “On the Way Down” in tribute of Little Feat’s founder, guitarist, song-writer, and vocalist, Lowell George. Last night marked George’s 40th anniversary of his passing (hence “Down on the Farm”), and Panic honored his memory, once more, in their distinctive, badass style. The tune has only been covered five times in the band’s extensive history with the last time played being on New Year’s Eve in Charlotte, North Carolina in 2011.

The bass dropped out and Hermann sprinkled in piano notes to eventually become fully submerged in “Proving Ground”, a heavy original from their self-titled second album with no conceivable limits or depth. Panic drove their classic through the psychedelic mire with wrathful hell-fury. Another jam-heavy favorite “Jack” followed featuring Hermann on organ, JB with wizard raps, and Herring playing the part of Merlin in this Knights-of-the-Round-Table entourage. I guess that makes Red Rocks Camelot.

The Saturday night heaters kept flowing like lava when the first half of Calvin Carter & Bobby Rush’s “Bowlegged Woman” gave way to an incredible transition and subsequent introduction to the band’s interpretation of Winston Riley’s “Arleen”. A percussive beatdown, “Drums” gave Duane Trucks and Sonny Ortiz time to wallop their kits before finishing off the second halves of “Arleen > Bowlegged Woman” that was over-the-the-top glorious. “Arleen” has only been split one other time in its performance history with a rarity during Spring 2003 tour in Indianapolis.

Schools took the vocal duties once more stepping to the microphone to demolish a diabolical performance of Vic Chestnutt’s “Blight” before the bass descended into a maelstrom of madness with “Tie Your Shoes” spiraling into existence. Down the rabbit hole and out through the double-sided mirror, Panic returned to their cosmic saddle with “Space Wrangler.” The Panics broke that old stallion in with several quickening tempo changes culminating into one last breakdown to end the second set.

Upon returning for encore, Bell once more had the mandolin in hand, an obvious tribute to the late Jeff Austin. The recently passed father of modern-day bluegrass was responsible for a strong revival of the genre with Yonder Mountain String Band out of the nearby town of Nederland, Colorado. Trucks sported his Austin 3:16 wrestling shirt as tribute on the first night, and on the second night, JB played mandolin for an encore of Daniel Hutchens and Eric Carter of Bloodkin’s “End of the Show.” To end the entirety of the evening, Widespread Panic hammered out the notes to Vic Chesnutt’s boot-stompin’ stampede “Protein Drink/Sewing Machine.” Herring soared higher and higher past Icarus’s wettest dreams with his jet-fueled propulsion until the jam came to a sudden, screeching stop with outstanding synchronized command.

Widespread Panic – “Climb To Safety” – 6/29/2019

[Pro-Shot Video: Widespread Panic]

Widespread returns to Red Rocks for one final show tonight for an early 6 p.m. sold-out matinee. It goes without saying, that if you can go, you’d be shamefully amiss to not be in attendance. It goes beyond simple banter of Type I versus Type II hypotheticals; this band’s got their mojo workin’ and they can’t be stopped. Never miss a Sunday show. Never miss a Panic show.

Thanks to for the setlist, MIXLR and NUGS.TV for the streams, and and Burnthday providing crucial databases for research and historical purposes.

Setlist: Widespread Panic | Red Rocks Amphitheatre | Morrison, CO | 06/29/19

Set One: Ain’t Life Grand*, Mr Soul, Good People > Dark Bar > Good People, Wondering, Walkin’ (For Your Love), A of D > Jam, Saint Ex, Flat Foot Flewzy (60 mins)

Set Two: Climb To Safety, On Your Way Down > Proving Ground, Jack, Bowlegged Woman > Arleen > Drums > Arleen > Bowlegged Woman, Blight > Tie Your Shoes, Space Wrangler (104 mins)

Encore: End of the Show*, Protein Drink / Sewing Machine (18 mins)

* w/ JB on mandolin
– ‘Dark Bar’ LTP 2/01/12 Playa Uno (396 shows)
– ‘On Your Way Down’ LTP 12/31/11 Charlotte (403 shows) 5th time played
– Only other time ‘Arleen’ has been split was 5/16/03 Indianapolis
– Entire show with Edie Jackson, ASL interpreter