After two nights of absolute mayhem, Widespread Panic finished out their three-night run at The Capitol Theatre with an assortment of musical gems that put Sunday night’s show in the upper echelon of Widespread Panic’s legacy. The show was webcast courtesy of Relix, with donations benefitting the band’s Tunes For Tots charity. The evening also marked the 14th anniversary of PanicStream, the setlist and audio database run by fan Curtis George that has become an essential tool for Panic fans new and old over the years.
Widespread Panic opened the show with “Holden Oversoul”, a welcome though somewhat unusual pick considering it was just played last weekend in D.C. However, nothing was coincidental here—in an apparent nod to PanicStream, the song mirrored the opener of the first show documented by the site back in 2005. A slick segue dove the rhythm of the music into Bloodkin’s scorcher, “Makes Sense to Me”. After rocking the venue, the band slowed it down for a sweet cover of Vic Chestnutt’s “Let’s Get Down To Business”, which hadn’t been played since the closing night of last year’s Red Rocks run.
“Little Lilly” came out shining with her lively gait to remind the audience that “it’s only real if you believe.” Taxiing down the runway, the band primed for take-off with an ascending “Airplane” that settled into the highest layers of the atmosphere. The extreme altitude took all the oxygen out of the venue as Widespread rifled through a furious jam that culminated in the rarely-played “Jaded Tourist”. The song has only been performed six times in the last seven years, and the audience responded with wild enthusiasm—showing particular love for nearby New Jersey during the lines, “From the Jersey side / Lose your faith and you lose your mind.”
A haunting “Blue Indian” numbed the crowd as the medicine took and “kept our spirits fed.” John Bell was a sultry medium conversing with both the audience and spirit realm, awakening his inner demons in a shaman-like trance to lead the crowd and band to an alternate dimension of supernatural ecstasy.
The mellow, old-school tune “The Last Straw” slowly reawakened the audience from their trance before threatening to collapse the floor with a venue-shaking cover of the Talking Heads’ “Life During Wartime”, the lyrics “This ain’t no party / This ain’t no disco” serving as a tongue-in-cheek forecast of surprises to come. Like a bucket of cold water, the audience jumped to their feet to go absolutely bananas as some of the second night’s unsurpassable energy carried over.
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3/24/19 – @widespreadpanichq playing some #talkingheads on night 3 at @capitoltheatre. Contrary to the lyrics, it was equal parts party, disco, and foolin around. . . . . #widespreadpanic #wsmfp #widespreadpanictour #capitoltheatre #liveforlivemusic #lifeduringwartime #disco #discoatthepanic
After a short setbreak, Widespread returned to play a sizzlin’ cover of Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns & Money”. The already excited crowd went completely out of control as the band kept the second set in overdrive. A nasty “Little Kin” transitioned into a bouncing ride on the “Love Tractor”, which kept the energy in the room irresistibly sweaty.
The room full of mostly strangers was united further through their love of this band with the gratifying “I’m Not Alone”. More so now more than ever, as technology advances and everyday interactions become increasingly impersonal, it is easy to feel alone in your individual battle with the universe. However, everyone in attendance was “feelin’ a little bit easier now, knowing that you’re all here!”
Another consecutive carryover from D.C.’s run, Jerry Joseph’s “North” resonated boldly on the eve of the band’s return to the Southern side of the Mason-Dixie line. This time around, the musicians cut a filthy jam section into the tune that was not present in D.C.’s run last weekend. Dave Schools stepped to the microphone to deliver a bone-chilling, rendition of the traditional blues song “One Kind Favor”. Schools’ stroll through the graveyard was soon countered by JoJo Hermann’s memorable lead on “Bust It Big”. Besides the obvious political message reinforced from D.C.’s run, the song always contains the lyrics “Rosemary’s baby is a New York City, kid!” to add to the local excitement.
John Bell was next to raise hairs with his spine-tingling vocals on “Mercy”. A hearty transitional jam featured Schools chiseling the notes to “The Other One” as a tribute to the venue’s longstanding history with the Grateful Dead. Returning to reality, the boys aced a lively cover of “I’m So Glad”. Though the song has unknown origins, it was recorded by Skip James, Cream, Traffic, and more, in addition to serving as a live staple for the late Col. Bruce Hampton. JoJo Hermann and Jimmy Herring made the song their own with their incredible respective performances.
Rounding out the second set, Widespread Panic played “Postcard”, a tribute to fallen fan and friend of the band Thomas “Bear” Guenther. Bear, who has writing credits on the song, sent a postcard to John Bell extolling the splendors of Telluride, Colorado; the band, in turn, used his words as the chorus to their song. The lyrics also paid subtle tribute to the mythical Squirrel avatar of The Capitol Theatre with the lyrics “This town is nuts / I never wanna leave!” To end the second set with uplifting spirituality, the band posited the infamous query “Ain’t Life Grand?”
In response, Widespread Panic answered their own question with a five-song encore that left all in attendance thankful and feelin’ way more than grand. To start off, the Panics nailed a pristine “This Part of Town” with JoJo Hermann playing a sweeping piano introduction and JB delivering the lyrics with charged emotion. The song was scratched in favor of “Puppy Sleeps” as an encore on Saturday night, and was shuffled into Sunday’s setlist instead.
In what seemed a response to the highly debated height of people on the rail (for more information, see “dickclan” and “ho-height”), the band played a cover of “Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” with a blistering “Disco” sandwiched in the middle of the Steve Winwood favorite. As “Low Spark” shifted into “Disco”, The Capitol Theatre’s long-lost disco ball made a surprise appearance, dropping from the ceiling to amplify the visuals to the delight of the crowd before once again receding into the rafters.
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Disco At The Panic! Thanks for a great weekend! And thanks to the great @capitoltheatre crew for dragging the disco ball out of storage so we could all dance it up! #nevermissasundayshow #hoffmanisajedi #widespreadpanic #thecapitoltheater #portchesterNY #disco repost from @gala_tair
JB remained in peak form throughout the encores, as well as the entirety of the evening. Electing to continue the seemingly never-ending encore, Widespread Panic finished the three-night run in Port Chester, New York with a combo-wombo of The Guess Who’s “No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature”.
Next on Widespread Panic’s schedule is a three-night stay in Durham, North Carolina at the exclusive Durham Performing Arts Center next weekend. Tickets sold out instantly and prove to be a hard buy. As always with this band, buy the ticket, take the ride. Meet some new friends and hear the band you love that time after time again delivers nothing but the truth. Until next weekend, goodpeople, be safe and be inspired.
You can watch pro-shot video of the first few songs of each set below courtesy of Relix:
Widespread Panic – The Capitol Theatre – Set 1 – 3/24/19 [Pro-Shot]
Widespread Panic – The Capitol Theatre – Set 2 – 3/24/19 [Pro-Shot]
For the band’s full tour schedule, see here. As always, you can listen to full audio of the show via PanicStream. [Happy Anniversary to Curtis George & Panicstream.com. Thank you for all that you continually do for this community. It was a pleasure to finally meet you.]
Setlist: Widespread Panic | The Capitol Theatre | Port Chester, NY | 3/24/19
Set One: Holden Oversoul > Makes Sense To Me, Let’s Get Down To Business, Little Lilly, Airplane > Jaded Tourist, Blue Indian, The Last Straw, Life During Wartime (66 mins)
Set Two: Lawyers Guns & Money, Little Kin > Love Tractor, I’m Not Alone, North, One Kind Favor, Bust It Big, Mercy > Jam > I’m So Glad, Postcard, Ain’t Life Grand (85 mins)
Encore: This Part of Town, Low Spark of High Heeled Boys > Disco > Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, No Sugar Tonight / New Mother Nature (27 mins)