Widespread Panic Returns to Live Concerts in Colorado
After a pandemic-induced 479-day hiatus, Widespread Panic returned to the stage for Tunes For Tots Benefit at the Mission Ballroom in Denver, Colorado, before three more sell-out shows at Red Rocks.
Tunes for Tots Thursday, June 24
John Bell and the boys came out with the biggest smiles that I have ever seen. JB’s greeting of “Good Evening” would get us ready for what was ahead. The crowd was just as ecstatic as the band, as it had nearly been 16 months since Widespread Panic finished up at the Beacon Theatre in NYC. Seeing so many of our best friends for the first since in a long time made this night even more momentous. Hugs and kisses were being dished out everywhere between the fans, and I have never heard such a boisterous happy crowd singing each and every word of all the songs.
Prior to the show beginning everyone was calling the first song opener: “Let’s Get The Show On The Road,” “Disco,” “Airplane,” “Ain’t Life Grand,” and “You Should Be Glad” were some of the most commonly called openers. No one I know correctly called it; Widespread Panic opened with “Wondering” into a smokin’ hot rarely seen first-set placed “Going out West” into “Hatfield > Party at Your Mama’s House > Ribs and Whiskey.” I have never seen JB with so much energy and vigor, biggest of smiles from Dave Schools, and Jimmy Herring’s mean axe melting faces over and over again.
Up next, the undeniably incredibly crispy clean John Bell’s voice covering the ever so rare “Heart of Gold.” WSP ended the first set with “This Part of Town” and “Visiting Day” into one of the songs for sure on everyone’s list and heavy-duty rock-the-house Schools-heavy “Knocking Around The Zoo” ending the first set in 479 days! Happy! Happy! Joy! Joy!
Second set and the petal is down: a smoking six-song jam beginning with “From the Cradle” (one of my favs, and JB’s voice was just spectacular and reenergized like long ago) into “Don’t Wanna Lose You > Bear’s Gone Fishing > Sleepy Monkey > You Got Yours > B of D” into a “Surprise Valley” sandwich with a mini Drums ( the band did not leave the stage; technically just SV drumjam) > “Hope in a Hopeless World > Surprise Valley,” ending the second set with a jamming “Action Man.”
Encore: JB’s voice and Paul Hoffman’s red lighting set the stage for “Vampire Blues” into Tom Petty’s “Honey Bee” and wow. First show since pandemic stoppage is in the books, and we will move to the best outdoor venue on the planet for the next three days as Widespread Panic and the crews will continue to add to the record of consecutive sellouts at Red Rocks Amphitheater. Sell-outs 61, 62, and 63 are up next.
06/24/21 Mission Ballroom, Denver, CO
1: Wondering, Goin’ Out West > Hatfield, Party At Your Mama’s House, Ribs And Whiskey, Heart of Gold, This Part Of Town, Visiting Day, Knocking ‘Round The Zoo
2: From The Cradle, Don’t Wanna Lose You, Bear’s Gone Fishin’, Sleepy Monkey, You Got Yours, There Is A Time, B of D, Surprise Valley > Drums > Hope In A Hopeless World > Surprise Valley, Action Man
E: Vampire Blues, Honey Bee
[Tunes for Tots Benefit Concert; Soundcheck: ‘Pickin’ Up The Pieces’, ‘Travelin’ Light’]
Red Rocks Day 1 – June 25
Consecutive sellout out number 61, and the forecast is for rain, but we all know that rain or shine Widespread Panic is bringing the HEAT!!!
Raining throughout the day the band returned to the stage under a newly renovated roof which thankfully kept them and the equipment dry throughout the weekend.
Set One: “I’m Not Alone,” “PorchSong,” “Disco,” Rebirtha,” and JoJo Hermann exploding into “Black Out Blues” as rains came down. “Happy,” “Goodpeople > Dark Bar > Goodpeople,” “Pigeons” set-ender. Solid energy is still at exceptionally high levels.. JB seems very happy and energetic.
Set Two: and let the bust-outs not only come from the clouds but the shelf.
“Bust it Big,” “Little Lilly > Jam > Pilgrims,” “St. Ex,” “All Time Low.” Rain is steady, doesn’t appear to want to slow down or stop. “Jack” into “Give > Down,” “May Your Glass Be Filled,” “Space Wrangler.”
Encore: “Chilly Water”… like never before… rain and more rain.
Bust-out and the song I would have never thought we would hear again: “DOWN.” Oh, so incredibly sung by JB as the rain poured Down on all 9525 of us, and we loved every note. Thank You! Thank You!
06/25/21 Red Rocks, Morrison, CO
1: I’m Not Alone, Porch Song > Disco > Rebirtha, Blackout Blues, Happy, Goodpeople > Dark Bar > Goodpeople, Pigeons
2: Bust It Big, Little Lilly > Jam > Pilgrims, Saint Ex, All Time Low, Jack, Give, Down, May Your Glass Be Filled, Space Wrangler
E: Chilly Water
[Slow ‘Porch Song’; Entire show with Edie Jackson, sign language interpreter; Last ‘Down’ – 09/07/14, 294 shows]
Red Rocks Day 2 – June 26
Yep, Rain again all day; we do not care and are ready for a Saturday night with our most favorite rock and roll band and best of friends. While most saw the forecast and were prepared with rain gear and waterproof suits, there were a few who ended up soaked, but rain or shine the show must go on.
“Holden Oversoul,” “Ain’t Life Grand,” “Old Neighborhood,” “Walking (for Your Love),” “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl,” “Jaded Tourist,” “Impossible > Blight,” “Tie Your Shoes,” “Tall Boy” ends the first set.
During “Blight,” Dave Schools reminded us that “Science doesn’t care about your feelings…Grow Up!!!”
Second set: “Greta,” “Mercy,” “Big Wooly Mammoth,” “Bowlegged Woman,” “Driving Song > Ride Me High > Driving Song,” “Sweet Leaf,” “Four Cornered Room > Machine Gun,” “Conrad the Caterpillar.”
Encore: “Degenerate,” “Papa’s Home”
Last time “Sweet Leaf” was played 10/22/2016. One more to go, and you know what they say….
06/26/21 Red Rocks, Morrison, CO
1: Holden Oversoul, Ain’t Life Grand, Old Neighborhood, Walkin’ (For Your Love), Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, Jaded Tourist > Impossible, Blight, Tie Your Shoes, Tall Boy
2: Greta, Mercy, Big Wooly Mammoth, Bowlegged Woman, Driving Song > Ride Me High > Driving Song, Sweet Leaf, Four Cornered Room > Machine Gun, Conrad
E: Degenerate, Papa’s Home
[Entire show with Edie Jackson, sign language interpreter]
Red Rocks Day 3 – June 27
Might as well keep the streak. Rain all day, but it just doesn’t matter. “Never Miss a Sunday Show” plain and simple. Let’s do this; glad I had my rain gear.
Full Bloodkin set honoring the late friend and talented musician Danny Hutchens of Bloodkin.
A long-time friend of mine, Deborah Coons, said about Danny’s song “Trashy”: “It really was a dream of Danny’s that he was too humble to consider reality, them playing anything off the new album. We spoke about it a few times and especially the weekend we went to Nashville on Easter Sunday 2021 for his last photo shoot with Weintrob. He was so with us this past Sunday.”
We love you, Danny! Thanks for all the great songs! Forever missed! Never forgotten.
“Can’t Get High,” “Wet Trombone Blues,” “Henry Parson’s Died,” “Who Do You Belong To?,” “Quarter Tank of Gasoline,” “Trashy,” “Makes Sense To Me,” “Mercy Train To Bogart,” “Success Yourself,” “End Of The Show.”
John Bell: “Thank you, Bloodkin! Thank you, Danny!” to the crowd just before setbreak.
Set Two: “Postcard,” “Rock,” “Pleas > Honkey Red,” “Protein Drink > Sewing Machine,” “Diner > Jamais Vu,” “Airlplane,” “Red Hot Mama > Fishwater.” Schools all over this dropping bombs galore.
Encore: “Blue Indian,” “I’m So Glad > Love Tractor.”
06/27/21 Red Rocks, Morrison, CO
1: Can’t Get High, Wet Trombone Blues, Henry Parsons Died, Who Do You Belong To?, Quarter Tank Of Gasoline, Trashy, Makes Sense To Me, Mercy Train To Bogart, Success Yourself, End Of The Show
2: Postcard, Rock, Pleas > Honky Red, Protein Drink > Sewing Machine, Diner > Jamais Vu, Airplane > Red Hot Mama > Fishwater
E: Blue Indian, I’m So Glad > Love Tractor
[Only ‘Mercy Train To Bogart’, Only ‘Trashy’; Set 1 all Bloodkin originals; Entire show with Edie Jackson, sign language interpreter; Last ‘Success Yourself’ – 07/06/13, 382 shows; Last ‘Wet Trombone Blues’ – 07/06/13, 382 shows]
And that, my friends, wraps up the beginning of Widespread Panic Tour post-pandemic.
This is a newly reinvigorated band in my opinion. JB killing that guitar like never before, his voice immaculate.
Jimmy, Jojo, Dave, Sunny Ortiz, and Duane Trucks giving it too us like never before … harder and faster!!!! Bloodkin tribute, Todd Nance! Col, Bruce! Thank you, Widespread Panic, Pulse Lighting, Paul Hoffman, and Home Team for everything you do to bring the best musical experience anyone could ever ask for.
Next stop, Wilmington, NC! See you there!