Widespread Panic Return to Spacecamp at Orion Amphitheater
Widespread Panic were firing on all engines for a complete blast off to the delight of all in attendance. For the second consecutive year, the six-headed monster from Athens, Georgia, returned to one of the premier outdoor music venues of recent construction, The Orion Amphitheater in Huntsville, Alabama (Rocket City), for three days (07-28, 07-29, 07-30) of musical bust-outs, first-time-played songs, and OG sets with new music from the new album due out soon. Three days in blistering heat near 100 degrees did not detour the Widespread Panic fanbase from bringing their own heat in support.
FRIDAY, JULY 28
A solid first OG set of songs got the crowd up and roaring in the heat. “One Arm Steve” with JoJo Hermann on vocals, and we had blasted off for the Zambia that was ahead. Highlights first set included “Little Kin,” “Vampire Blues,” and “Trouble (bust-out, LTP 03-01-20 Beacon Theatre), and the set ended with a powerful and fitting “Space Wrangler” to get us ready for spacecamp. Paul Hoffman and Pulse Lighting continue to raise the bar, bringing a much-expanded light show encompassing the walls surrounding entire Amphitheatre… so so good!
Second set: John Bell opens with a deeply moving “All Time Low > Send Your Mind” (Van Morrison) into “Tackle Box Hero” (new album) > “Saint Ex > Trashy” (Bloodkin, new album) into super sandwich “Papa’s Home > Low Spark of High Heeled Boys > Tie Your Shoes > Papa’s Home” and finishing the second set with a high-energy cover of Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me.”
Encore: “Nobody’s Loss > Lawyers, Guns, and Money” (Warren Zevon) Day one was in the books. Time for food, which was plentiful with food trucks and late-night music provided just outside the entrance to Orion, giving those who wanted more plenty to choose from.
SATURDAY, JULY 29
With no end in sight of the 100-degree temperatures and heavy humidity, Widespread Panic would deliver a smoking hot show for those lucky to be inside the Orion. With new songs and super-duper bust-outs, this show is definitely one for the books. They kicked off the show with “Rebirtha,” and then JB switched to the Black Washburn, and the band played “Ribs and Whiskey > Stop Breaking Down Blues,” getting the energy up throughout the Orion. Highlight first set: “King Baby” (New album, second time played)
Set 2: “Sharon” (David Bromberg) > “Walking for Your Love > Blight,” and spaceship Widespread Panic was ready for the launch. “Honkey Red” into the new original song “Little by Little” had the crowd on their feet, dancing and cheering with happiness abounding. “Diner > Vacation > Greta > Henry Parsons Died” to end the set.
Encore: “Old Joe > Elevator to the Moon” (Col. Bruce Hampton, LTP 04-04-1991, 2591 shows ago WOW and please play again)! Ending the show with Jerry Joseph’s “Climb to Safety,” and the bar has been raised. Heater tonight!
SUNDAY, JULY 30
Day 3 Sunday, Sunday Service at Space Camp would be as expected, full of energy and incredible lights to bring us together once again.
Set 1: “Airplane > Wondering” and BOOM new song “We Walk Each Other Home” (new album, Jerry Joseph collaboration) so so good. Next a sweet sammy: “Surprise Valley > Rock > Drums > Surprise Valley” into “Dear Prudence” (McCartney/Lennon) > “Postcard > Blackout Blues > Action Man” to close the second set.
Encore: JB on the “Tiny Guitar” (mandolin) and “End of the Show > Ain’t Life Grand”
That’s a wrap! Thank you, Widespread Panic, Pulse lighting and crews, Orion Amphitheater, and city of Huntsville for giving us another wonderful and safe experience for all.
Next up, we return to Napa for three nights 8/25 – 8/27. See ya there!