Words & Images by: Ian Rawn
Widespread Panic :: 12.31.13 :: Philips Arena :: Atlanta, GA
Full review below gallery!
For Widespread Panic, New Year’s in Georgia was once a regular occurrence. A staple
local fans could count on each
year for some “Home Cooking." However, starting in 2010, we have seen the New Year’s
“run” move to two other states:
Colorado (Denver) and North Carolina (Charlotte). To the delight of many, the end of
2013/beginning of 2014 would see
the band return to their old
stomping grounds at Philips Arena in Atlanta.
In true Panic tradition, the New Year’s performance contained an all-acoustic set. Most
notably the first 3 songs, which
were a shout out to one of the band’s bigger influences - Neil Young including the
always sought after, “Don’t Be
Denied.” The others would be the first time played treats, “Journey From The Past” and
“Time Fades Away.” Other
highlights from the set were Van Morrison’s “And it Stoned Me” and Randall Bramblett’s
(sax) guest sit-in on “Pickin' Up
The band would manage to get in another set of music just before the monumental midnight
countdown. Panic was up and running during Set Two with some classic tunes, specifically
“Who Do You Belong To?,” “You
and “Papa's Home” before Randall and his all-star group of horn players known as the The
Megablasters would take
the stage. This addition most certainly spiced up the set especially on “Old
Neighborhood.” Fans were also treated to
another cover song that first appeared on Halloween, JJ Cale’s “Devil in Disguise.”
Not long after the set concluded, Widespread Panic crew member, Steve Lopez, took the
the ritual countdown. As he counted down from 5 to 4 to 3 to 2 to 1, the arena erupted
with confetti and lights illuminating the overjoyed crowd.
Lighting designer Paul Hoffman used the occasion to debut a new toy, a giant disco ball,
that certainly added to the moment. Light was spinning,
bouncing and reflecting its
way into every corner of the venue as fans were cheering, welcoming the band into yet
The energy came to a boil when the band kicked off a massive 90-minute third set with the
debut of Talking Heads's “Burning Down the House.” For those not as familiar with
Widespread Panic, "Burning Down The House" has
special meaning for the band and fans. The original version is an
often-played PA song and one that many had hoped the band would play themselves at some
had finally happened and
the energy in the room was a sight to behold. Widespread Panic continued the set with
"Come On," aka "Let The Good Times Roll" as well as JoJo Hermann's "Bust It Big."
Shorty after the power combination of originals, a "Chilly Water" > "Surprise Valley,"
"Pilgrims" > "Surprise Valley" sequence kept the up the momentum. The show concluded with
more help from the horn section and another
recreated moment from
Halloween featuring War’s “Spill the Wine” as well as the fist-pumping original “Love
As they always do, the band resurfaced for a solid encore, this one containing “Stop
Breakin' Down Blues” and the often
played “Ain’t Life Grand.” The crowd lingered in the venue, dancing to the PA music,
kissing and hugging, some even
making snow angels on the floor of the confetti-soaked arena. Looking forward to more,
more, more in 2014.
JamBase | Burning Down The Philips
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