Widespread Panic: The 2021 New Year’s Run… in August 2022!!
Widespread Panic, Home Team, and Pulse Lighting and crews returned to the Fox Theatre in Atlanta after rescheduling the 2021 New Year’s run shows due to the pandemic.
WEDNESDAY, AUGUST 10
Day 1: August 10, 2022 is the 20th anniversary of founding member guitarist Mikey Houser’s passing. While the frenzy and rumors were strong as to what to songs to expect, first we heard Mikey’s voice from the 1991 Billy Bob Thorton movie Live at The Georgia Theatre:
“So our music, it comes from us – I don’t know anything else to say about that. We do it because it’s all we can do, pretty much.”
The crowd roars to life! The balloons that were netted above the Fox are released, and the band begins “Porch Song” into Dave Schools taking over during “Love Tractor” and flooding the “Schoolszone” with bass bombs. John Bell would lead us into an ever-so-sweet “Aunt Avis > Little Lilly,” transitioning into “Diner” and taking us into JoJo Hermann and “1 X 1 > Proving Ground,” closing out the first set with “Papa’s Home.”
Set 2 would open with a heavy-duty “Mercy” that had an extended jam with an “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” tease, and Schools and Jimmy Herring continued to take it deep and dark into Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf”; heavy-duty rock and roll was in full force!
Next: “Mr. Soul > Sleepy Monkey” and ever-so-loved “Holden Oversoul > Pleas” into one of the most momentous “Vacation”s with JB tearing up a bit, his voice appearing to break up just a little during the lyrics. A powerful “Wondering” would bring an everyone back to dancing and singing, closing out the second set with “Ain’t Life Grand.
Encore: “Don’t Wanna Lose You > Galleon (first time since RRs 2017) > Fishwater.
Happy and so glad to back at the Fox Theatre! WSP is laying down the law. Three more days to go!
THURSDAY, AUGUST 11
“Little Kin” into an extended “Travelin’ Light,” and we were back in the saddle and off to the races with WSP. “It Ain’t No Use > I’m Not Alone > Good People > Dark Bar > Good People,” and this show was giving us more JoJo. Yes!! A long and jammy “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” into Jojo and an energetic “Visiting Day,” closing out the first set with “Action Man” at overdrive levels, and the frenzy continues.
Second set: JoJo led us back into the groove with a smoking “Dying Man > Makes Sense to Me” Into Jerry Joseph’s “Second Skin” with Herring and Schools taking us to new face-melting, ground-shaking levels we all love and desire.
Keeping with the groove, a Schools’ lead-heavy bass “Rebirtha” that had everyone boogieing down and enjoying life. JB would next take over with fan fav “Dream Song.” The band next picked the levels back up again with “Rock > Blight > Tall Boy” to close the second set.
Encore: “Last Straw > Low Spark of High Heeled Boys > Climb to Safety” BAM! Day 2 complete
FRIDAY, AUGUST 12
Day 3 opened with “You Got Yours” > JoJo and “One Armed Steve > Hatfield > Sleeping Man.” Slowly Dave Schools and his thumping bass notes would ease us into “Stop Go > All Time Low.” JB took us through a nice rendition of “Tickle the Truth” into “Party at Your Mama’s House” into the set-ending “Ribs and Whiskey.”
Second set began with “Disco,” and the party was back in full motion, moving right into Dave Schools’ heavy bass on “Bowlegged Woman > Smokestack Lightning.” JB took us through “C. Brown” and “Lucy’s Antics.” Next Up, a sammy: “Driving Song > Cease Fire > Jamais Vu > Driving Song.” “Greta” into “Henry Parsons” would end the set.
Encore: “Blue Indian > Protein Drink > Sewing Machine,” leaving us all to pick up our melted faces as Herring just crushed it.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 13
After three stellar shows, one could only wonder what was ahead, and WSP had some sweet surprises lined up for us that would leave us begging for more, more, more….
Even though it really was not NYE, WSP played three sets as if it were a New Year’s run.
Set 1: Acoustic/Electric set. No backdrop on the stage. Bright lights on.
JB took his seat with his acoustic guitar, and we were off! “Space Wrangler > Airplane > Jack.” Lights up and smiling faces as far as the eyes could see. Into “Gradle.”
Matt Mundy from Col. Bruce and The Aquarium Rescue Unit joined the band with his mandolin for the first time in 29 years, playing with the band on “There is a Time> Pickin’ Up the Pieces > Fixin’ to Die Rag > Don’t Be Denied,” ending the the first set with Neil Young’s gem.
Set 2: JoJo Hermann got us started with “Bust It Big” into a sammy: “Surprise Valley > Drums (Sunny Ortiz and Duane Trucks keeping the groove and percussion) > Surprise Valley > Bear’s Gone Fishing.” “Give > Pilgrims” and one of the newest WSP songs, heavy metal-esque rock and roll “Halloween Face,” going deeper and darker into “Maggot Brain > Chilly Water” with confetti cannons showering the crowd way more than any water being thrown like most times.
Next up, JB took us through a crowd-participating and fun “Contentment Blues”… “I LOVE my chicken!”… and back to JoJo crushing a “Big Wooly Mammoth.” An ever-so-sweet “Gimme” and then the motherload was dropped on us — “BIRD SONG.” Hearing the first few notes we look at each other… could it? Is it? No way! HELL YEAH!
11:41 of pure harmony, bliss, happiness, smiles, hugs, and tears. 2941 shows since last played, such a beautiful rendition, thank you WSP. This was one we will remember for the rest of time. This led into a nice energy-filled Pilgrims to end the second set
Set 3: “Bird on a Wire” by Leonard Cohen, first time played, into “Traveling Man > WAKER > Trashy” and ending our four-day run with “I’m So Glad.” Perfect ending! This band is on fire!!!
Thank You Widespread Panic, Home Team, Pulse Lighting. It just gets better and better!
Next stop, Napa Valley CA at the Oxbow River Stage 8/26-28. See you there!