Home Live For Live Music Widespread Panic Opens For The Rolling Stones In Denver

Widespread Panic Opens For The Rolling Stones In Denver [Photos/Videos]

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In what had to be the biggest ticketed show that Widespread Panic has ever played, the Athens, GA rockers descended upon Denver’s Empower Field at Mile High on Thursday to play a rare gig as a supporting act for a little British band called The Rolling Stones. Though the stadium was only starting to fill in when Panic took the stage at 7:30 pm, the early-bird Stones fans got themselves a taste of pure debauchery before the mischievous opening act was finished.

Back in 1999, 25 years ago, Widespread Panic had famously declined opening for The Rolling Stones. The reason, as told by frontman John Bell in an interview with the New York Post in the same year: “We figured we’d only get to play 45 minutes, while Stones fans were just getting to their seats and were buying beers. That wasn’t our cup of tea. It didn’t seem fair to us or our crew.”

As JB predicted back in 1999, the 76,000 seats were barely half full when Widespread Panic sauntered out of the end zone like Broncos players after scoring a touchdown. Making the most of their limited time, the sextet launched into its set with “Little by Little”, the opening track from the recently released Snake Oil King LP. Keyboardist JoJo Hermann assisted with the vocals to crack open a crispy, cold “Tall Boy” before the band spread its wings and soared a mile high with a short and sweet “Surprise Valley”. By this time, the non-Panic crowd was beginning to warm up to WSP and even started to watch the band’s zealous fanbase with warmth and an open mind. This would not last.

A second cut from the new album, “We Walk Each Other Home”, gave JB a chance to really get going, his voice echoing for miles around downtown Denver. The Rolling Stone fans began to move and shake, almost unconsciously, as “All Time Low” tumbled like a barrel over a waterfall for the penultimate song.

Widespread Panic – “All Time Low” – 6/20/24

[Video: MB1 Music]

Finally, with one song left, the impish pranksters just couldn’t help themselves. The heavily strummed introduction to “Chilly Water” resonated through the stadium and all the Good People locked eyes with matching smirks as they reached for their water bottles.

The Rolling Stones fans didn’t even know what hit ‘em. The rain stopped a few hours earlier but some looked to the heavens as the water splashed from all directions. Whatever warmth and openness they gave to the opening act was washed away. Some soaked onlookers wore blatant looks of disgust. Others executed ocular pat-downs on the Panic fans dancing in their vicinity. Whether intentional or not, it was priceless. The band departed the stage amidst the chaos.

Widespread Panic – “Chilly Water” – 6/20/24

[Video: michael campbell]


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Setlist [via PanicStream]: Widespread Panic | Empower Field at Mile High | Denver, CO | 6/20/24
Set: Little By Little, Tall Boy, Surprise Valley, We Walk Each Other Home, All Time Low, Chilly Water (41 mins)
Notes: Supporting The Rolling Stones

By the time The Rolling Stones took the stage, the sun had set and a full moon was rising in the distance over the Denver skyline. The stadium was jam packed as nearly 100,000 audience members (including field seats) roared in anticipation when Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Ronnie Wood, and their bandmates took the stage for the main event.

They rifled through their hits, opening appropriately with “Start Me Up”, “It’s Only Rock ‘n’ Roll (But I Like It)”, and “Bitch” before showcasing “Angry” off their latest album, Hackney Diamonds. The Stones went on to perform a fan-voted “Let It Bleed”, then followed it with “Wild Horses” (a hat tip to the Broncos, no doubt), “Tumblin’ Dice”, and “You Can’t Always Get What You Want”. Jagger ran from one end of the massive stage to the other throughout the night like a man half his age and changed his outfits several times from one bedazzled color to another sequined fit. All befitting a rockstar. The deluge of hits continued to flow as “Sympathy for the Devil”, “Honky Tonk Women”, “Gimme Shelter”, “Paint It Black” helped wind down the show ahead of a climactic “Jumpin’ Jack Flash”.

While the Stones are off to Chicago next, Widespread Panic will stick around in Colorado for the weekend for their annual sold-out, three-night weekend at Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Good People, see you tonight on the Rocks. Let’s continue the debauchery for WSP’s 70th consecutive sell-out at the legendary amphitheater.

For The Rolling Stones’ full Hackney Diamonds tour breakdown, click here. For a full list of upcoming Panic dates, head here.

Single-night and three-show pay-per-view webcast bundles for the 2024 Widespread Panic run at Red Rocks Amphitheatre are available here. [Editor’s Note: Live For Live Music is a nugs affiliate. Ordering your nugs subscription or purchasing a livestream pass via the links on this page helps support our coverage of the world of live music. Thank you for reading!]

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