Widespread Panic Opens With Two The Band Covers, Delivers Seamless Full-Set “Fishwater” Sandwich In Durham

first_imgOn Saturday, the unstoppable colossus of rock known as Widespread Panic continued their run in Durham, North Carolina with the second night of debauchery at the Durham Performing Arts Center.The band returned to the stage well-rested and revving to go. Unleashing the monkey out of the bottle, Dave Schools got the show rolling with a cover of The Band’s “Ophelia”. John Bell’s voice has only gotten better with time, like an aged cask of whiskey that has inherited its oak barrel flavors. However, the highlight of “Ophelia” was Jimmy Herring and JoJo Hermann’s instrumental interplay. The Band tunes kept rolling with “Shape I’m In”, which had some nice JoJo and JB vocal layering before Jimmy Herring threw grease on the fire and sizzled throughout the jam. Widespread hadn’t done “Ophelia > Shape I’m In”—in that order—since their 2016 “Milwookie” run.The head-bobbing rhythms of “Pigeons” retaught the audience how to fly as the band took the music to a psychedelic level. After a slight pause, Widespread mellowed out for a sexy performance of “Gradle”. Turning up the heat, JoJo and JB melded voices again for a hot take on the original “All Time Low”. Once again, Jimmy bided his time until recklessly opening Pandora’s Box, creating a rift in the space-time continuum with JoJo chasing him down the rabbit hole. JoJo also took the liberty of adlibbing some lyrics, altering the line, “Thrown from the top of a Jerry Falwell!”John Bell corralled the soulful spirit of Bill Withers to assist him in vocalizing a particularly nasty “Use Me”, which made its first appearance since the band’s 2017 Halloween run in Vegas. Jimmy Herring pushed the jam to far-distant lands, melting faces at light speed before battling JoJo’s clavinet in a heated duel.“Glory” set the stage and laid the listener upon the operating table while surgeon JoJo Hermann wrenched the still-beating heart from the chest with an amazing “Nobody’s Loss”. The tune rarely surfaces more than once a year, though Saturday’s rendition marked its second performance this year after appearing as part of the day 3 encore at WSP’s destination event, Panic en la Playa Ocho, in January. Many hope this song will stay in the rotation more consistently.To close the first set, Widespread Panic honored to their fallen bandmate, Michael Houser, with “Space Wrangler”. Starting slowly, the intensity rose and fell like the ocean’s tides. Jimmy Herring juggled explosive solos, melting faces before throwing a stick of dynamite with a lit fuse to Dave Schools who chomped it in half, scattering musical gun powder around his side of the stage. As the band walked off stage for setbreak, even their shadowed echoes were still jamming to nothing but heat.Coming back from the intermission, the Panics took a side road detour down to New Orleans with a half helping of a simmering “Fishwater” stew that led into Dr. John’s “I Walk on Guilded Splinters”. JB’s steady diet of fish stew and voodoo had his voice dripping with dirty swamp water. JoJo Hermann’s fingers danced spritely from his synthesizer to the ivory keys of his piano. With one final piano flourish, the rhythm section settled down for a haunted gambol to the bayou. The enchanting lyrics grew louder and louder until the band was joined onstage by spirits conjured for a temporary sojourn with Kalfou.A swift transition kept the juju flowing, as a Schools introduced “Bear’s Gone Fishin’”, a tribute to recently fallen friend and fan Thomas “Bear” Guenther. The fire kept burning with a “Tie Your Shoes” that crashed around the ravenous audience at an insane tempo. After JoJo teased both “Spanish Moon” and “Ride Me High”, the band lingered on the faint rhythm of “Tie Your Shoes” before taking a stroll down Tobacco Road with “Walkin’ (For Your Love)”, which had been scratched from Friday’s setlist in favor of “Imitation Leather Shoes”. This “Walkin’” was worth the wait, featuring a fake-stop before closing out with style and precision and setting the tone for a tender performance of “Gimme”.Herring carved another notch in his wizard staff with another outstanding “Jack” featuring a spirited performance from John Bell. The bouncing, reggae beat of Jerry Joseph’s “Chainsaw City” brought “no bad vibes” and gave a chance for Schools and JoJo to harmonize their backing vocals. Sonny Ortiz knocked around his kit before JoJo’s funky clavinet and Jimmy’s warlock guitar slayed this beast of a song. After JB emitted a “banshee wail” that sounded like a condemned soul’s last earthly noise before descending into fiery bowels of Hell, the music morphed into another Jerry Joseph song, “Climb to Safety”, to remind everyone that “it’s no fun to die alone!”After a short drums section gave Duane Trucks and Sonny Ortiz time to smash their kits, Widespread Panic ended the seamless second set in the same way that it began—with the second half of “Fishwater”. JB, Schools, and JoJo chanted and layered “Mo’ Mo’ Mo” with some sumptuous “Fish stew” raps that elicited amazement from the audience—many of whom had forgotten about the imminent return of “Fishwater” that wrapped the second set into one humongous fish sandwich.The only time the music stopped during the set was during the little pause near the end of “Walkin’”, making for a seamless 92 minutes of second-set nastiness.Returning to stage for a selection of encores, Widespread Panic tipped their metaphorical cap to the audience with a rousing “Good People”. The song is a tribute to the community of dedicated fans who show up with unsurpassable energy to feed to the band time and time again. To cap the scorching second night, the Panic boys paid tribute to Tom Petty with a cover of his “You Wreck Me” for only their sixth time ever.With one last harvest of music on the horizon, Widespread Panic looks to finish out the Durham run tomorrow in the same caliber as D.C. and the Cap—three top-tier runs in three different cities. The new tour schedule is giving them time to welcome the audience on Friday, blow their brains out on Saturday, and heal their souls on Sunday. Well, goodpeople, come get your medicine at tonight’s Sunday service led by Reverend Bell and backed by the best damn band in Heaven and Earth.For a full list of Widespread Panic’s upcoming tour dates, head here.Setlist: Widespread Panic | Durham Performing Arts Center | Durham, NC | 3/30/19Set One: Ophelia > The Shape I’m In, Pigeons, Gradle, All Time Low > Use Me, Glory, Nobody’s Loss, Space Wrangler (66 mins)Set Two: Fishwater > I Walk On Guilded Splinters > Bear’s Gone Fishin’ > Tie Your Shoes > Walkin’ (For Your Love)^ > Gimme > Jack > Chainsaw City > Climb To Safety > Drums > Fishwater (92 mins)Encore: Good People, You Wreck Me (10 mins)Notes ^ w/ pause; ‘The Shape I’m In’ LTP 3/15/18 Wash DC (39 shows); ‘Use Me’ LTP 10/29/17 Las Vegas (50 shows); ‘Spanish Moon’ tease after ‘Tie Your Shoes’last_img

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