Widespread Panic Rocks the Fox (Numbers 36, 37 & 38) for ATL New Year’s
Widespread Panic ends the decade with a bang; ending 2019 was one for the books. Three days at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta, where WSP holds the record for most times played at the venue: 38 shows, the boys would definitely be bringing the heat like never before with a new lighting rig, bust-outs, John Keane, and Ric “Nature Boy” Flair to help bring in the new decade with music and festivities 2020-style.
[12.29.19ONE: Good People > Dark Bar > Good People, Love Tractor, Pickin’ Up The Pieces, A of D, Wonderin’, Bear’s Gone Fishin’ > Tall Boy, North; TWO: All Time Low, Rebirtha > You Should Be Glad, Jaded Tourist, Parsons, Ophelia, Sundown Betty, Ribs and Whiskey, Bust it Big > Use Me > Mr. Soul; E: Geraldine the Honeybee, Honeybee]
[12.30.19ONE: Space Wranger, Walking, Rock, Pleas > Jam > Stop/Go > I’m Not Alone > Little Kin > Conrad the Caterpillar; TWO: From The Cradle, Saint Ex, New Blue, Big Wooly Mammoth > Machine > Drums > Barstools and Dreamers, Greta > Fishwater; E: Somewhere In Time, Time Is Free, Ain’t Life Grand]
TUESDAY, NEW YEAR’S EVE
When the light’s dimmed and the spotlight shone, who was it but Ric “Nature Boy” Flair doing his famous strut to his wrestling intro “2001,” introducing the band with several WOO WOOs. John Bell was laughing and sitting down (as usual, first set, New Year’s Eve shows) and had the biggest smile on his face. John Keane has a long history of sitting in with WSP, but it had seen a few years since the last time.
Tonight there was a pedal steel guitar set up on stage, and John was definitely part of the evening plans. The first set was a Vic Chestnut tribute, opening with a bust-out, “Good Morning Mr. Hard On,” into a nice and lovely “Blight > Degenerate > Cruel Thing > Protein > Sewing Machine,” ending the set with “Expiration Day,” with Keane playing pedal steel, acoustic and electric guitars and adding vocals through out the first set except during “Expiration Day.” “Morally Challenged” LTP 12/31/01
Second set, the heat turns up. Crowd favorite “Disco” opener into a heavy-duty “Pigeons.” Next up was “Little Lilly,” with Jimmy Herring crushing this into “Party at Your Mama’s House > Stop Breaking Down Blues > Holden Oversoul” and then into one of the longest “Honkey Red”s in history (16 minutes extended jam). Finally, “Blue Indian” led into JoJo Hermann ending the set with “Black Out Blues,” Keane on pedal steel on “Honkey” jam and “Blue Indian.”
As the New Year approached quickly, Tour Manager Steve Lopez led us all with the countdown to 2020, and the balloons fell, streamers streamed as “Auld Lang Syne” played once again for us all, with our best of friends cheering and hugging, looking forward to another decade with WSP. As the band made their way back to the stage, they opened up the third set with “Turn On Your Lovelight,” Keane on acoustic guitar and vocals, bringing huge smiling faces to all in the building.
Next up was heavy-duty bass from Dave Schools on “Red Hot Mama” and then Hermann killing “Ride Me High.” “Surprise Valley > I’m So Glad (as the crowd goes crazy; I love this song) > Drums > Surprise Reprise.” They continued with “Gimme > Imitation Leather Shoes” and ended the final set with a really fun “Flat Foot Flewzy.”
Encore? “Pilgrims” into “I Trusted You tease > Porch Song” with John Keane on guitar and vocals.
Paul Hoffman and crew had new lighting rigs that were so incredible, I can’t wait to see more. Once again, thank you Widespread Panic, Paul Hoffman, and crews as the bar continues to be raised each and every time we get a chance to this musical production from the best band in the land!
Like Jojo says, “MEXICO!” See everyone south of the border!
[12.31.19ONE: Band Intro by Ric Flair, Mr. Hard On, Blight > Degenerate > Morally Challenged, Cruel Thing, Protein Drink > Sewing Machine, Expiration Day; TWO: Disco > Pigeons, Little Lilly > Party at Your Mama’s House > Stop Breakin’ Down Blues, Holden Oversoul, Honkey Red, Blue Indian, Blackout Blues; THREE: Turn On Your Love Light, Red Hot Mama > Ride Me High > Surprise Valley > I’m So Glad > Drums > Surprise Valley, Gimme, Imitation Leather Shoes > Flat Foot Flewzy; E: Encore: Pilgrims, Porch Song]