On Sunday night, Widespread Panic crawled out of the North Florida swamps to finish its third and final night at The St. Augustine Amphitheatre. Like always, the band connected original jams with hand-selected covers from influences including Van Morrison, Vic Chesnutt, Bloodkin, Dr. John, Traffic, Howlin’ Wolf, and Skip James for a fiery blend of magic and mayhem.

Dave Schools kicked off the final show of the run, strolling down his fretboard and setting up Jimmy Herring to weave his guitar notes around the bouncing rhythm of “Little Lilly”. Consecutive covers kept the party going, after a segue rolled into Van Morrison’s “Send Your Mind.” The imaginative, backward-hat-clad lyricist John Bell swapped out the end of the second verse singing with a cheeky improvisation, “Your mind is on vacation and your mouth is working overtime!” (In place of the usual lyrics “If you can’t come home, please send your mind.”)

Once more, Schools led the charge into Vic Chesnutt’s “Sleeping Man” taking lead vocals and cranking up the intensity to a place where guitarist Jimmy Herring thrives. Breaking the silence, JB donned his slide for “Rock” as a stream of originals flowed with rare pauses in between. A heart-wrenching “Gimme” was followed by sequential performances of an evolutionary “Conrad” and an ethereal “Blue Indian”.

With time running out on the first half, Widespread Panic stuck to its guns and paid tribute to musical peers and fellows of the Athens, GA music scene with Bloodkin’s “Can’t Get High”. Maximizing the euphoric vibes once more before the buzzer, a frenzied “Ain’t Life Grand” closed out the first set before the band disappeared into the shadows.

An opening “Rebirtha” swung into play and coerced the audience to move, shake, and dance away their worries. With unrelenting force, WSP slid into Tom Waits’ “Goin’ Out West” as a nod to the band’s upcoming six-night residency in Austin, TX before cruising down the familiar streets of “Old Neighborhood”.

A beloved cover of Dr. John’s “I Walk on Guilded Splinters” turned up the heat until switching gears for a “Driving Song” sandwich with Traffic’s “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” splitting the original from WSP’s debut album.

For the second time this weekend, JB’s growl captured Howlin’ Wolf’s spirit during a ferocious “Smokestack Lightning”. “Jack” was updated from the feudal age to modern times with the addition of lyrics appropriate to NCAA’s March Madness “to shoot free throws for the winning team” amidst the medieval rhapsody about “jesters, wizards, and good dogs sleeping filled with good ol’ dog dreams.” The second set trickled to an end, but not before a cool-handed “Porch Song” closed out the sixth set of the weekend.

With more tricks up their sleeves, the members of Widespread Panic returned for an encore desert course. JB thanked the ravenous crowd, “Thank you everybody! You have made us very happy tonight. Here’s another pretty little Vic Chesnutt song” as JoJo Hermann’s keys introduced “Expiration Day”. Cranking up the heat, the Panics signed, sealed, and delivered a hard-hitting “Postcard” to (ostensibly) close out the last night of the run.

For the third time in five years (2018, 2022), the audience stayed on their feet, hooting and hollering with such unbridled energy that the band came out for another encore. JB joked “It’s the only other song we know,” before launching into Skip James’ celebratory “I’m So Glad” to punctuate 2023’s St. Augustine run with a half dozen exclamation marks.

After a few weeks off, Widespread Panic begins its Austin residency with six shows in eight days for ACL Live at the Moody Theater. May presents a pair of two-night runs in Charleston, SC and Brandon, MS, on the 5th–6th and 27th–28th, respectively. June marks the band’s traditional Red Rocks Amphitheatre run on the last full weekend of June. For the full tour breakdown and to purchase tickets, click here.

Get home safe and rest up so we can live to fight another day. It’s never too early to start training for those high-altitude stairs now, Goodpeople. Safe travels home, everybody. Austin on deck!

Revisit Live For Live Music‘s coverage of Widespread Panic’s 2023 St. Augustine run: Friday | Saturday.

Widespread Panic – “Sleeping Man” (Vic Chesnutt) – 3/26/23

[Video: Fred Ramadan]

Widespread Panic – “Walk On Guilded Splinters” (Traffic) – 3/26/23

[Video: Fred Ramadan]

Widespread Panic – “Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys” (Traffic) – 3/26/23

[Video: Fred Ramadan]

Widespread Panic – “Goin’ Out West” (Tom Waits) – 3/26/23

Widespread Panic – “I’m So Glad” (Skip James) – 3/26/23

View Videos

Setlist: Widespread Panic | St. Augustine Amphitheatre | St. Augustine, FL | 3/26/23

Set One: Little Lilly > Send Your Mind (Van Morrison), Sleeping Man (Vic Chesnutt), Rock, Gimme, Conrad, Blue Indian, Can’t Get High (Bloodkin), Ain’t Life Grand (61 mins)

Set Two: Rebirtha > Goin’ Out West (Tom Waits), Old Neighborhood, I Walk On Guilded Splinters (Dr. John), Driving Song > Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (Traffic) > Driving Song, Smokestack Lightning (Howlin’ Wolf), Jack, Porch Song (82 mins)

Encore One: Expiration Day (Vic Chesnutt), Postcard (10 mins)

Encore Two: I’m So Glad (Skip James) (8 mins)

– ‘Rock On’ tease by Dave before ‘Rebirtha’

– ‘Nobody’s Fault But Mine’ tease by JoJo/Dave during ‘Smokestack Lightning’