Words and Images by: Joshua Timmermans
Widespread Panic :: 04.12.13 - 4.13.13 :: UIC Pavilion :: Chicago, IL
Full review below photo gallery!
Widespread Panic is back on the road after
a year-long break from touring, performing only a handful of shows since
early 2012. The night before New Years they played a Tunes for Tots show at Charlotte, North Carolina’s Fillmore,
followed the next night by ringing in 2013 at Time Warner Arena. The New Years celebration was a peek into what
band would take on the road for the spring tour.
Shortly after the New Year’s run, the band traveled to the Dominican Republic for the wildly popular Panic en la Playa
Dos. This was the second installment of the event which first took place in Puerto Morelos Mexico in 2012. A few
months later, Widespread Panic embarked on their first full tour in well over a year. This spring tour
started in St. Louis
on April 9th at the Peabody Theater, where they played two nights and then set course for Chicago.
Widespread took the stage at UIC Pavilion on Friday night shortly before 8pm and John Bell greeted the crowd as they
started tuning. A standard opening song for the band, From the Cradle, slowly builds the tempo followed by
Leather shoes and the fan favorite, Bowlegged Woman. The first set also saw the return of Second Skin and featured
Brown , Papa Johnny Road, Goin’ Out West and Proving Ground.
The band took a short setbreak and returned with a stunning version of Pigeons and a Bloodkin tune that the band
to play and that the fans love to hear, Can’t Get High. Paul Hoffman, Widespread Panic’s lighting director,
the visual display and presence of the band, showing off his design skills and ability to capture their energy. The
and auditory stimulation was overwhelming during WSP’s, Pleas, and they continued into the night
thunderous second set of music, rocking the crowd until just after midnight.
On the second night, WSP took the stage a bit after 8pm and opened with Heroes while lighting director,
Hoffman, positioned his new lighting rig and put it through it's paces. Followed by Space Wrangler and seguing into
Stop Break' Down Blues, Paul's backdrop and the sound of the music flawlessly created an awe inspiring scene. The
rest of the first set featured This Part of Town, St. Ex, You Got Yours, Happy, Hatfield, Chunk of Coal and the
energetic Henry Parsons Died.
The band put the engine in overdrive and lit the house on fire. Love Tractor emerged, as the crowd warmed up for
the rest of the unforgettable second set. Who Do you Belong To? would follow Love Tractor, finally busting out into
Good Morning Little Schoolgirl. What a treat for the fans to hear this seldom played song. Action Man would come in
a fury next, followed by Jack. The rest of the show from here on out was a roller coaster of a ride. There isn't much
to be said except, "WOW!"
Stop - Go, Surprise Valley, Pilgrims, Chilly Water would round out the incredible set. But they didn't stop there. For
the encore, the band chose the original Blue Indian and a couple of covers that every music fan respects, Ophelia and
The Shape I'm In, capping off the two night run. And what a run it was! WSP performed a smokin' show that left fans
dancing well after they had left the stage.