Widespread Panic resumed their Southern conquest with a second night of music at Mud Island Amphitheater in Memphis, Tennessee last night. To many fans, the first night was one of the most intense and tight shows of the year, so when it was with great anticipation that the band shuffled back onstage.
A short and sweet “Disco” kicked the night off before John Bell led the audience through a serene stroll with a mellow “Wondering” from 1993’s Everyday. Jimmy Herring mystified through a blazin’ “Papa Johnny Road” from Ball (2003) before Dave Schools trounced a bouncy beat for “Walkin’ (For Your Love)” from their self-titled second album.
Putting the pedal to the metal, the band came together nicely for a sizzlin’ “Papa’s Home”. This jam from Everyday has several tempo changes and breakdowns and had the audience stompin’ and dancin’ with a full display of the band’s collective talents. A dirty “Shut Up and Drive” from 2010’s Dirty Side Down segued into a heroic version of “Hatfield”. John Bell was in peak form and nailed the lyrics beautifully before dishing out a rousing rap with all the bells, whistles, and descriptions of “Hatfield’s mama with her two-string ukulele” intact.
For only the fourth time since its debut at Panic en la Playa Siete, the band delved into a stirring rendition of “Sundown Betty” before cutting a suave cover of Bloodkin’s “Can’t Get High”. To close the set, the boys aced a frenzied “Action Man” from Don’t Tell the Band (2001), leaving the audience in a stunned stupor as they walked off the stage for setbreak.
Upon returning to the stage, the band appropriately delved into a cover of Pops Staples‘ song “Hope in a Hopeless World” from Bombs & Butterflies as a homage to the missing teenager who jumped into the Mississippi River the night prior. Jimmy Herring electrified a cutting version of “Pilgrims”, another from Everyday, before JoJo Hermann took the helm for the beginning of a jam that didn’t relent until the end of the second set. An outstanding psychedelic massacre of J.J. Cale’s “Ride Me High” moved into a heavy and lively “Tie Your Shoes.” With repeating spiraling descents, the entire band came together to casually obliterate this jam.
Duane Trucks commandeered the spotlight for a powerful percussive cornucopia before the band returned for the beginning of “Fishwater” with John Bell and Jimmy Herring acting as unstoppable forces. Cody Dickinson from North Mississippi Allstars came out with a washboard to supplement as Dave Schools and JoJo Hermann led the charge on “Big Wooly Mammoth”. The musicians returned from this beloved classic back into “Fishwater” with Cody Dickinson before allowing Sonny Ortiz time to wallop his drum kit with minimum help from Duane Trucks.
Widespread Panic w/ Cody Dickinson – “Big Wooly Mammoth” > “Fishwater”
[Video: Fred Ramadan]
The band returned once more to finish “Fishwater” (this time without Cody Dickinson) before segueing into a raucous and sexy rendition of George Clinton’s “Red Hot Mama”. To conclude the second set and nearly eighty-minute sequence of nonstop jams, the boys hammered home the party-anthem “Chilly Water” complete with a night sky full of flying cups of water.
For the encore’s first number, Jimmy Herring led the band through a scorching cover of Murray McLauchlan’s “Honky Red”. Before finishing the evening, John Bell said a few words to make light of last night’s tragic misfortune, “Ladies and gentlemen, this will be the ‘Last Dance’ of the evening. Please take care of each other, watch out for each other so you can live to play another day.” With that, the musicians closed with a cover of Neil Young’s “Last Dance” with a dreamy breakdown and emotionally wrought lyrics.
Widespread Panic returns to the stage next on August 24th in Arrington, Virginia for the 6th annual LOCKN’ Festival. Many have speculated about with whom the band will be collaborating, and considering the band played three Neil Young covers this weekend, we can only hope that it is Ol’ Neil himself—or, at the very least, some members of his band, Promise of the Real, who are set to play LOCKN’ the same day as Panic. Until next time, my friends. Work hard, stay well. See the setlist below.
For a full list of upcoming dates, head to Widespread Panic’s website.
Setlist: Widespread Panic | Mud Island Amphitheater | Memphis, TN | 6/30/18
Set 1 Disco, Wondering, Papa Johnny Road, Walkin’ (For Your Love), Papa’s Home, Shut Up and Drive > Hatfield, Sundown Betty, Can’t Get High, Action Man (71 mins)
Set 2 Hope In A Hopeless World, Pilgrims, Ride Me High > Tie Your Shoes > Duane Drums > Fishwater > Big Wooly Mammoth* > Fishwater* > Sunny Drums > Fishwater > Red Hot Mama > Chilly Water (95 mins)
Encore: Honky Red, Last Dance (18 mins)
Notes * w/ Cody Dickinson on washboard (North Mississippi Allstars)