“Welcome to Athens, Georgia, the home of Widespread Panic! You have made history—this is the largest CD release party ever! Don’t hurt my town!” With those equally congratulatory and wishful words, former Athens mayor Gwen O’Looney introduced perhaps the most notable Panic show ever.
On April 18, 1998, a week after the release of their first-ever live album, Light Fuse, Get Away, Widespread Panic closed down the streets in their native Athens, GA to put on a free album release party for their adoring local fans. However, fans from far and wide descended upon Athens as well, and the show quickly grew to shocking proportions. According to the band, final attendance numbers were estimated at roughly 100,000 people, breaking Metallica‘s then-record for “largest record release party.” This show also featured the debuts of “All Time Low”, “Christmas Katie”, and “One Arm Steve”, all of which would appear on Til The Medicine Takes the following year. The concert was filmed and released as a CD/DVD set of its own—the now-infamous Panic In The Streets.
[Photo via PanicStream]
Below, you can watch a clip from Panic In The Streets featuring footage of the mayor’s introduction, the mayhem around town and the band’s show-opening performance of “Disco”:
Widespread Panic – Panic in the Streets – Mayor’s Introduction/”Disco”
You can stream audio of the historic performance via PanicStream.
Setlist: Widespread Panic | Washington St. | Athens, GA | 4/18/98
Set One: Disco > Tall Boy > Love Tractor, Aunt Avis > Diner > Walkin’ (For Your Love), Henry Parsons Died, All Time Low, The Take Out > Porch Song > Blackout Blues
Set Two: One Arm Steve, Chilly Water, Greta > Christmas Katie > Radio Child, Arleen > Papa’s Home > Drums > Papa’s Home, Pilgrims, Fishwater
Encore: West Virginia > Space Wrangler, Ain’t Life Grand
[First ‘All Time Low’, First ‘Christmas Katie’, First ‘One Arm Steve’; Free show; ‘Light Fuse, Get Away’ album release party; Approximately 100,000 in attendance; Slow ‘Porch Song’]
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