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Widespread Panic Recruits George Porter Jr. & Daniel Donato For Panic En La Playa Finale [Videos/Audio]

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widespread panic recruits george porter jr daniel donato for panic en la playa finale videos audio

Just as nothing gold can stay; all good things must come to an end. No matter who we try to bargain with to make time slow or stop completely. In the same way, Widespread Panic wrapped up the 12th edition of its destination event, Panic en la Playa, on Wednesday. Still, the final night’s sendoff was one for the books as Widespread invited George Porter Jr. and rising guitar slinger, Daniel Donato, onstage during the second set.

Daniel Donato’s Cosmic Country took the reins for a midday lagoon set as the crowd basked in the intense sunlight like lizards. Though the heat, late nights, irregular diets, and superfluous amounts of beer, frozen cocktails, and mixed drinks took an incredible toll on the bodies, the sunbaked smiles remained permanently plastered on the faces of the lucky few and their souls remained unblemished. After all, the Playa crowd trains for this event and DDCC provided the spark to rejuvenate any smoldering lifeforces. Torrin Daniels of Kitchen Dwellers sat in with Donato, pure fuego.

When the sun set on the last day of Playa, the waxing half-moon rose, its reflection shimmering over the darkened Caribbean waters. A cool breeze welcomed the six-piece band of rockers to the stage. Without introduction, Jimmy Herring strummed the introduction to “Walkin’ (For Your Love)” and Dave Schools fell right in stride, echoing John Bell‘s lead vocals.

The mellow pace continued into the fifth “Fishing” since its long-awaited return at Red Rocks Amphitheatre last summer. Without stopping, JoJo Hermann’s piano led the excavation team in unearthing a behemoth “Big Wooly Mammoth” before shuffling over to his organ keyboard during the only cover of the first set, Neil Young’s “Walk On”.

WSP started cooking during “Thought Sausage”, each member bringing their own respective ingredient to the zesty homemade gumbo. (“Come ‘N Git It!”). Taxiing down the runway, “Airplane” took off and maneuvered directly into a hurricane “Greta”. JoJo showcased his multi-faceted collection as he slid from his piano to clavinet to organ.

The slow roll of Duane Trucks‘ drums introduced an ethereal “Blue Indian” which kept the party going until a hellfire “Halloween Face” closed out the first frame. This bone-shaking barn burner has been performed 23 times since its debut during 2021’s NOLAween.

Making the most of the limited time remaining, WSP immediately went full send into “Chilly Water” as most of the courtyard chucked whatever water they had remaining from set break into the air. Luckily, it was the closest thing to precipitation all weekend and for that, we thank the gods, new and old.

“Jack” cut like the mythical blade Excalibur before Dave Schools claimed the throne to proclaim Vic Chesnutt’s “Blight”. The second cover of the night gave the impish bassist space to get weird, and just when the jams risked being lost in space, Duane, Sonny Ortiz, and JoJo expertly piloted into the wholesome melody of “Diner”.

Once Jimmy Herring retouched earth, JB got doggone-dirty describing his early morning struggles during his improvised rap section “I got kicked off my bench a little early this morning / I was dreaming it was a lounge chair / take these quarters / play something nice on the jukebox / little church tingles / positive outlook is a bit much…” The frontman began to trail off like he was passing the baton before a jolt of inspiration overtook him and he began an Elvis Presley/Big Mama Thornton-inspired tangent with forceful intent “You ain’t but a hound dog / cryin’ in the night!!”

JoJo streamlined into a James Bond-esque jam before overhauling the whole structure in favor of a Type II “Zambi Jam”. Exchanging chaos for momentary serenity, the introduction of “Saint Ex” lured listeners into a false sense of security. The song’s breakdown was meant to resemble a WWII dogfight, percussions imitating the rounds of an automatic rifle overlaid with the echoes of a haunting organ.

As the eighth and final set of PELP wound down, WSP pulled on the heartstrings of even the most callous with an emotionally wrought performance of “We Walk Each Other Home”. This was the eighth time played and subjectively best one yet as the new grooves felt more familiar to the veteran rockers. A knockout “Postcard” shook off the lingering melancholy and engaged the courtyard to voice a shared feeling, “This town is nuts / my kinda place / I never wanna leave!”

Afterward, during the silence between songs, Schools stepped to the microphone to ask the audience “C’mon, who matters?” He then answered his own question with “George matters…. He’s going to funk you up.” JB followed up with “And also Mr. Daniel Donato, everybody.”

Now onstage, guitarist Daniel and legendary bassist George created an octet with the swashbucklers of swamp rock. JoJo’s clavinet introduced J.J. Cale’s “Ride Me High” and right from the jump the synergy between the two bassists was tangible.

It didn’t take long for Donato to inject his flavor and tone into the blend, trading licks with Jimmy Herring for the second time following Charleston’s shows last year. Closing out the set, WSP and its new cohorts raced to the finish line during an exuberant version of Skip James’ “I’m So Glad”.

Widespread Panic, Daniel Donato, George Porter Jr. — “Ride Me High” (J.J. Cale) — 4/17/24

[Video: Brad Walker]

Widespread Panic, Daniel Donato, George Porter Jr. — “I’m So Glad” (Skip James) — 4/17/24

[Video: Brad Walker]

When Widespread Panic returned to the stage for the encore, it was as a six-piece once more. For the seventh time in its long and storied history, WSP covered The Beatles’ “Dear Prudence” before riding off into the Mexican sunset on “Love Tractor”, the band’s trusty steed.

DJ Logic officially closed out PELP Doce with an afterparty that lasted until the wee hours of the morning. To those who stayed on their feet until the very end, your unbreakable spirit is admirable and perseverance incomparable.

Widespread Panic returns to New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on Thursday, April 25th before taking its revamped swampy blues to Memphis for a two-night Memorial Day weekend run with Margo Price and Paul Cauthen. Then comes Red Rocks from June 21st–23rd. For a full tour breakdown head here. Revisit Live For Live Music‘s full coverage of Panic en la Playa Doce: night one | two | three.

Stream full audio of Widespread Panic night three at Panic en la Playa Doce via the player below and access the band’s entire live catalog by subscribing to nugs.net. [Editor’s Note: Live For Live Music is a nugs affiliate. Ordering your nugs subscription or purchasing a download via the links on this page helps support our coverage of the world of live music. Thank you for reading!]

Widespread Panic — Panic En La Playa Doce – Hard Rock Hotel – Riviera Maya, Mexico – 4/17/24 – Full Audio

Setlist: Widespread Panic | Panic En La Playa Doce | Hard Rock Hotel | Riviera Maya, Mexico | 4/17/24

Set One: Walkin’ (For Your Love), Fishing > Big Wooly Mammoth > Walk On (Neil Young), Thought Sausage, Airplane > Take-off Jam > Greta > Blue Indian, Halloween Face (69 mins)

Set Two: Chilly Water, Jack, Blight (Vic Chesnutt) > Diner > Zambi Jam > Saint Ex, We Walk Each Other Home, Postcard, Ride Me High (J.J. Cale) [1] > I’m So Glad (Skip James) [1] (97 mins)

Encore Dear Prudence (The Beatles), Love Tractor (16 mins)

[1] w/ Daniel Donato on guitar and George Porter Jr on bass

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Source: L4LM.com