WSP TOUR CLOSER | 11.15 & 11.16 | MEMPHIS

The walls shook and so did our bodies as Widespread Panic played a two night run at the Mid-South Coliseum, bringing their Fall Tour 2002 to a close. Personally, I had not been able to attend any other shows on the tour until this one. Like many others in the Panic family, I was curious about how it would be this time around.

Apples and oranges seems to be an accurate description of the new sound WSP is taking on. There is a hot, dirty southern rock sound that is coming alive. It will reach inside you and stir your bones. The shows were on time and organic: A new mother nature takin' over!

Friday's show was filled with sentimental moments and surprises. The room was ready to give back to their band and the synergy created one of those shows that just "hit the mark". JB said, "lotta memories in this room tonight..." inviting all of us to share a moment with our beloved Houser, while simultaneously enjoying the sound that George McConnell is bringing to the mix.

It was exciting to see George and Schools relate so easily to each other. George is definitely getting more comfortable with the repertoire, and thereby able to take bigger, more daring journeys within the music. Schools is there applauding him (literally) and the communication between JB, Schools and George is producing exciting results. The crowd left Friday knowing that Panic would be rockin' and ready the next night.

Saturday's show brought people in from far and wide. The house size doubled and the natives were restless. The first set ripped with rockin' tunes and saw Randall Bramblett sitting in on such favorites as "Chilly Water" and "Henry Parsons Died." Second set brought Mavis Staples to the stage to lend her vocals to "Hope in a Hopeless World." The second set also saw a "Driving Song> City of Dreams> Driving Song," a treat none of us expected for quite some time. The boys brought the heat back around for a triple song encore of "Doreatha," "All Time Low," "Imitation Leather Shoes" -(and I don't want to fake it ANYMORE!) that left us all certain why we follow this band.

Change is hard; there is no doubt about that. Some of us embrace it while others resist. Since August the Panic community has been in serious transition. The band is resilient and committed to reinventing themselves where they are now, while always remembering the journey that brought them here. They are coming together, and we have much to look forward to.

See you in Atlanta...

Words | Liz Cupples
Images | The Kayceman
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[Published on: 11/27/02]

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