Review | Photos | Widespread Panic | Chicago

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 the 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 Panic

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 Imitation Leather shoes and the fan favorite, Bowlegged Woman. The first set also saw the return of Second Skin and featured C 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 loves to play and that the fans love to hear, Can’t Get High. Paul Hoffman, Widespread Panic’s lighting director, stepped up the visual display and presence of the band, showing off his design skills and ability to capture their energy. The visual and auditory stimulation was overwhelming during WSP’s, Pleas, and they continued into the night delivering a 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, Paul 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.

Widespread Panic

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.

[Published on: 4/19/13]

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