The swampy sultans of jam rock, Widespread Panic, returned to the Moody Theater stage on Sunday for the final night of the weekend in Austin.

The sweltering day cooled off nicely as the sun set for the night. As for the audience, they responded with ferocious enthusiasm when the band took the stage and maintained the zealous energy throughout the show.

Panic came out swinging with a hard-hitting cover of Tom Waits’ “Goin’ Out West” before fishtailing around a hairpin turn into a percussive “Rock”. To follow, Widespread Panic paid tribute to their fallen bandmate, drummer Todd Nance, with a mellow run through “Down” featuring John Bell’s vocals and a sweet piano section from JoJo Hermann ‘s corner (“Take along some of your favorite things / ‘Cause you’re gonna need ’em”).

Another rare original, “Heroes”, emerged for the first performance since 2018’s St. Panic’s Day Run in the outskirts of Washington D.C. Jimmy Herring cut an aggressive solo into the rockin’ mix of “Holden Oversoul” before Dave Schools took the helm for a bass bombardment of “Stop-Go”. The bassist kept the rhythms flowing from there for a casual stroll through another classic, “Walkin’ (For Your Love)”.

 

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Winding down the first set, Panic performed “Tush” for the first time ever in honor of Dusty Hill, the recently departed bassist of legendary Texas blues-rock act ZZ Top. JB created veritable pandemonium in the crowd when he switched out Dallas for “Austin, Texas… Hollywood!” An evolutionary transition led the band into a fervent “Conrad” to end the frame. JB was on fire, it seemed, and had to walk off stage to be extinguished.

Widespread Panic – “Tush” (ZZ Top, Debut) – 10/11/21

Returning for the last set of the run, Panic began with the instrumental “B of D” before taking flight into a psychedelic “Pigeons”. Back-to-back Bloodkin covers followed in honor of fallen friend, Daniel Hutchens, with “Can’t Get High” carving a path for a brutally honest “Trashy”.

A photo-finish “Action Man” blazed down the stretch before an intoxicating “Tall Boy” made another round. Jimmy Herring served up potent potables to the crowd, who graciously pulled up their barstools to join in with JB on the chorus.

The meat and potatoes of the second set came in the form of a “Driving Song” sandwich with a tasty double stacker, The Guess Who’s “No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature”, layered in the middle. The band took the last pause of the set here before charging into a tornado to finish out the second frame.

Panic burned through a maelstrom “Tie Your Shoes”, which featured an extended “Run Like Hell” jam, before segueing into Vic Chesnutt’s “Protein Drink / Sewing Machine”. The tight-knit jams were interwoven through both sets, and as the band walked into the shadows offstage, confidence was high that the scorching intensity would carry over into the encore.

To put the finishing touches on this incredible weekend of music, Widespread Panic performed a 26-minute, three-song encore. David Bromberg’s “Sharon” gave the audience one last chance to dance on some funky rhythms and celebrated the ever-comforting fact that “the same rowdy crowd that was here last night is back again!”

The Panics changed gears next for an emotionally charged rendition of the Talking Heads’ “Heaven”—Jimmy and JB tugging on heartstrings—before finishing the night with JoJo’s bawdy timeless tale, “Blackout Blues”.

Widespread Panic continues a busy month with four shows at Milwaukee on October 21st–24th before finishing with a spooky NOLAween spectacle on October 29th–October 31st. The tour rolls on. Until next time…

Stream a full audio recording of the Sunday night show in Austin via PanicStream. For a full list of upcoming Widespread Panic tour dates, head here.

Setlist: Widespread Panic | Moody Theater at ACL Live | Austin, TX | 10/10/21

Set One: Goin’ Out West (Tom Waits)  > Rock, Down, Heroes, Holden Oversoul, Stop Go, Walkin’ (For Your Love), Tush (ZZ Top) > Conrad (64 mins)

Set Two: B of D, Pigeons, Can’t Get High, Trashy, Action Man, Tall Boy, Driving Song > No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature > Driving Song, Tie Your Shoes > Jam > Protein Drink / Sewing Machine (82 mins)

Encore Sharon, Heaven, Blackout Blues (26 mins)

Notes – ‘Heroes’ LTP 3/16/18 Washington DC (95 shows)
– ‘Tush’ First Time Played (ZZ Top ~ RIP Dusty Hill)

 

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