Widespread Panic: Carbondale 2000

By: Kayceman

For fans of Widespread Panic, Carbondale 2000 has been a long time coming. Since the death of co-founder and original lead guitarist Michael Houser on August 10, 2002, the band has kept the archive locked up, refusing to release any full shows featuring Houser. This complete, three-disc set recorded live on December 1, 2000 at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, IL, is not only a snapshot of the band in their prime, it's the first taste of The Vault; and one assumes this means the door is now open and the sweet sounds of yesteryear will begin to pour forth. Dead Heads have Dick's Picks, Phish Heads have Live Phish and now Spread Heads have the Widespread Panic Archives.

A great deal of thought goes into choosing which live performance to release, especially when it's the first of a new series. Beyond this being a very strong show, the band selected this night because there weren't a lot of tapers in the audience and therefore this show was not traded as much as others and most folks haven't heard it with good audio quality. That and the fact that the band is greased up and rolling down the tracks with uncanny cohesion.

Whenever they start with "Let's Get Down To Business" it's a good indication that it will be a solid show, and by the time they push into the following seven-plus-minute "Tall Boy" - with a fierce jam that we just don't associate with the song anymore - it's clear this has the makings of a special night. Throughout this 22-song set, the band is loose yet sharp, moving with unbridled confidence. You need only listen to the delicate work of the ten-minute instrumental "Party At Your Mama's House" to hear a band performing with an almost telepathic connection to one another. And whatever John Bell (vocals/guitar) was drinking in 2000, I want it back in the diet. His dirty-ass guitar, disgusting tone and mean growl on "Rock" is the stuff of legend.

But what really makes this special is Houser. After six years of longing for that lingering lead, it sounds better than ever. They say you don't know what ya got till it's gone and I think they're right. Mikey's Telecaster is so free and so different it leads the band into territory they simply can't find without him. The way he and bassist Dave Schools push "Airplane" into the cosmos is like an act of nature, and his slow-burning, disturbing work on "Low Spark of High Heeled Boys" is a revelation.

There are plenty of other standout moments: Schools' "Third Stone From the Sun" tease out of "Drums," Jojo Hermann's menacing keys, J.B.'s possessed vocals, the ease with which they drop from "Maggot Brain" into "Chilly Water," and the patient eruption of the "Climb To Safety" encore. But, what overwhelms us is that every song is great. This is top-to-bottom heat, no bathroom breaks or throwaways. This is Panic when they were still hungry, needing to prove something every night. This was before pancreatic cancer and new guitar players. This was Widespread Panic without all that weight; just letting it all hang out, having fun, living the dream and blowing minds - theirs included.

There's an argument to be made for every configuration of Widespread Panic and there's still plenty of high-octane petrol in the tank, but it's almost accepted as fact that the band was working on an unparalleled level from the late '90s until Houser's death. During that time period, when they were on, there was no more exciting, adventurous or powerful band on the planet. For those who were there, we can now relive the joy in perfect soundboard quality, and for those who couldn't make it, you can now go back and experience the full glory of the original band. But perhaps what's most important about the arrival of Carbondale 2000, and the Widespread Panic Archives as a whole, is the fact that Michael Houser and the entire band will be accurately represented with their best moments available for generation after generation to fall in love with again and again. Now kick open that vault and give up the goods!

What Panic show do you want them to release next? Use our Comments Section to plant the seed.

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tourfan starstarstarstarstar Sat 6/28/2008 05:02PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Indeed, this spreadhead will be all over the archive Panic releases. Been seeing the band since the very early nineties, when the band came north and opened club shows for Blues Traveler. Certainly welcome news.

BobbyShortcutShows starstarstarstarstar Sat 6/28/2008 06:47PM
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actually im not even a fan of this group but this show is stellar my cousin went to this show when she went to school down in SIU it was sick then and its a great example of what they are capable of!

River starstarstarstarstar Sat 6/28/2008 08:27PM
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sweeeet. i miss houser alot. R.I.P. my bratha i will turn your music up as loud as i can for you!!!! peace n love n smile smile smile

headkayce starstarstarstarstar Sun 6/29/2008 07:27AM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

"And whatever John Bell (vocals/guitar) was drinking in 2000, I want it back in the diet." Haha, well said! you have a way with words! So excited for the vault!

karchy starstarstarstarstar Sun 6/29/2008 09:28AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Great review of a stellar show. I was at this show and knew at the time that this was a standout night with the song selection and quality of playing. Its nice to hear such a good quaility recording of this show because the acoustics in auditoriums like SIU aren't the best and now you can hear all of little things that were missed at the time. This is definately panic in their prime!!!!!!!

Kayceman Sun 6/29/2008 11:11AM
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I received a few emails asking what Panic show I'd like to see the band release. In response to that, I'd love to hear any of the 2001 or 2002 Oak Mtn shows, 2001 Red Rocks, Paolo Soleri...

hippiemafia starstarstarstarstar Sun 6/29/2008 05:20PM
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ahhh yes finally the archives are open! R.I.P houser may you forver be young! im seeing the finest band in the land two festies in a row rothbury then all good = sweetness! this show is amazing

j-bizzle Sun 6/29/2008 06:03PM
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5-08-97 the Vic, Chicago

1: Rebirtha > Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys > Red Beans, Junior > Hope In A Hopeless World, Pickin' Up The Pieces* > Who Do You Belong To?*, Maggot Brain* > Chilly Water*

2: Pigeons, Jack > Tie Your Shoes > Sleepy Monkey > Tie Your Shoes > Vacation > Drums, The Take Out* > Chunk Of Coal*, Porch Song*

E: She Caught The Katy

jpkempler starstarstarstarstar Sun 6/29/2008 08:13PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Nailed it again, Kayceman. Thanks! And thanks to Mikey, too!!!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/30/2008 04:35AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

I was at this show, spinning in circles for both sets. what a wonderful memory. total sickness.

tgcwsp star Mon 6/30/2008 05:54AM
Show -6 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
toestothenose starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/30/2008 06:31AM
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Kayce - great write - nothing can top those late 90's early 00's with Houser.

There are so many shows I'd love to see released - just depends on what mood I'm in.

Since we are in the heat of the summer - here's what I'm feelin'

Yank out a legend next -

09/07/97 Harbor Lights Pavilion, Boston, MA

Branford Marsalis sat in on saxophone, DJ Apollo graced us on turntables -

This was a serious tea party massacre going down on the harbor. The ride me high lit a spark that exploded in the funktastic arleen to top all arleen's with bell waxing southern poetic for a 'Solidarity' rap.

Second set dropped the guests in place of a set from heaven -

a double sandwich of chilly water wrapping around pleas bottle necked by a Genesis, Airplane into a driving song sanwiching pusherman.

Or another heater for late summer. We were all out in Colorado readying for Larkspur when the shit hit the fan back in Delaware

07/22/01 Kahuna Summer Stage, Wilmington, DE

After an early Dirty Business second set was the nasty, dirty panic fans ddreamed of... Perhaps the finest Sleepy monkey ever with 'War' and 'Kinky Reggae' raps by Big Poppa Bell.

2: Swamp > 1 x 1, Sleepy Monkey > Stop Breakin' Down Blues > Party At Your Mama's House > Red Hot Mama > Drums > The Last Straw > All Along The Watchtower > Travelin' Light

Man I miss these days...

ELSUTT starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/30/2008 07:28AM
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12/29-12/31 1996...Fox Theater Atlanta...that would be a sweet release

bongaroo starstarstarstar Mon 6/30/2008 08:22AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


11/22/2000 - Asheville, NC

My first Widespread show. A soundboard of this show would make me a happy man indeed!

Bonnaroo was a good show, can't wait to catch them again at All Good.

nsafay Mon 6/30/2008 08:23AM
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Remeber this one!?! My favorite.

10/28/01 Kiefer Lakefront Arena, University of New Orleans, New Orleans, LA

1: Disco > Love Tractor, Walkin' (For Your Love) > Don't Be Denied, Blight > Machine > Barstools and Dreamers, Proving Ground > Worry > Proving Ground

2: Old Neighborhood, Sandbox > Conrad, Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys* > Use Me* > Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys* > Drums** > Bear's Gone Fishin'*** > Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys***, Driving Song > Big Wooly Mammoth

E: End Of The Show, Give

* with Col. Bruce Hampton on guitar, Karl Denson on saxophone

** with Bently Rhodes on percussion, Dr. Arvin Scott on percussion, Karl Denson on percussion

*** with Bently Rhodes on percussion, Dr. Arvin Scott on percussion

Rickymullet starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/30/2008 08:39AM
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These guys REALLY know how to bring on the heat!!

‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^› {¬¿¬} starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/30/2008 09:32AM
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‹^› ‹(•¿•)› ‹^›      {¬¿¬}

toes your post brings me great memories and happiness, I loved reading it.

if you have copies of those lemme know, I will B and P.. thankx. M.

sunnbear starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/30/2008 10:46AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


milesgone, I had you pegged as a spinner! Spin on my friend! Anywazy...Carbondale is a great start. Just keep the shows coming!

phunkle starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/30/2008 11:14AM
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This show was from post-Mikey, but anyone know why the 4/20/05 show in Salem was never made available? Pretty much every other show that year can be downloaded. I thought it might get released later as a 4/20 compilatiion or something, but haven't seen anything like that, or the 4/20 show. I do look forward to getting Carbondale and hearing the biys before I jumped on board.

NTLS Bassist starstarstarstarstar Mon 6/30/2008 11:21AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

NTLS Bassist

I got a chance to do some engineering work for this release when I was interning at John Keane's studio, and I must say this was very fun to work on. It was quite an honor to be involved in the mixing process. Great show, great energy - enjoy!

andrewq starstarstarstar Mon 6/30/2008 01:38PM
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10/31/98, 9/7/97 (oh that Arleen was a filthy little bitch), 9/30/94. Any of tose and I would be happy.

PrinceofDANKNESS Tue 7/1/2008 03:26AM
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Not a huge fan of these guys - but was wondering if they ever had Derek grace their presence on stage with them and if so does anyone know the date?

DELYEAH Tue 7/1/2008 08:13AM
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Derek Truck played with them on 3/19/94 on Fishwater and Me and the Devil Blues, 7/21/94 on Chilly Water, 12/29/98 on Arleen, 4/1/00 on Time Is Free and Climb to Safety, 10/24/03 on Stop-Go, Arleen, & Hope in a Hopeless World, 12/30/03 on Space Wrangler, Mercy, & a Jam, & 12/30/06 on Blackout Blues and Little Wing.

DELYEAH Tue 7/1/2008 08:15AM
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Sorry, Trucks.

nsafay Tue 7/1/2008 08:20AM
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That Wrangler>Mercy>The Other One Jam with Trucks was some seriously nasty shit! George tried, but just couldn't keep up with Derek during The Other One Jam.

MyFavBandIsTheBestYoursSucks starstarstarstarstar Tue 7/1/2008 08:32AM
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This one blew my mind, never even heard them before.

My First Show Please: 09/15/97 C.Y. Stephens Auditorium, Ames, IA

1: Last Dance, Pilgrims > Tall Boy, Me And The Devil Blues, Diner > Walkin, You'll Be Fine, Heroes, Conrad

2: Proving Ground > Blackout Blues > Proving Ground, Hatfield, Airplane > Can't Find My Way Home, Hope In A Hopeless World, Impossible > Drums > Raise The Roof > Chilly Water E: Gradle [First 'You'll Be Fine']

If anyone has this show please look me up!

Rickymullet starstarstarstarstar Tue 7/1/2008 09:27AM
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OK we all know that Widespread bring on the heat but dude..they REALLY bring on the heat~!!

clemson03 starstarstarstarstar Tue 7/1/2008 01:16PM
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Any of the Sit-n-Ski tour, though there are alot of Soundboards that exist from that tour. Also would go with:



MyFavBandIsTheBestYoursSucks starstarstarstarstar Tue 7/1/2008 01:30PM
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I would like to reiterate from the Denver thread:

bring the heat, bringin the heat, are the heat, is the heat = lame

rock your face, melt your face, weak sauce = also lame.

Please god make it stop.

By the way: Widespread Panic is one of the best if not the best band touring right now, but the last few albums have not impressed. What happend to every song on every album being great?

PrinceofDANKNESS Tue 7/1/2008 06:55PM
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thanks DELYEAH

fnghhhh starstarstarstarstar Wed 7/2/2008 05:33AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

the airplane on this release is DISGUSTING.

54bicycles Wed 7/2/2008 09:29PM
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That second set Chicago show is the best soundboard set of music I've heard them play. Great show.

wsp10 Fri 7/11/2008 01:59PM
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show is insane. the maggot brain>chilly water is ridiculous. quality is great. cant wait for the rest of the series to start coming. great to hear houser play again.