Widespread Panic | Wood Tour | Denver| Review | Photos

Words & Images by: Brad Hodge

Widespread Panic :: 02.10.12-02.12.12 :: The Fillmore :: Denver, CO

Photo gallery for Friday and Sunday nights below review!

Widespread Panic by Brad Hodge
For most of us with normal wallets and desires to see other music Denver’s stop along Widespread Panic coveted Wood Tour marked the end of the road. There were still three more Aspen shows left, but with only 450 tickets available and a hefty price tag of 350 bucks a night who really wanted to go that bad?

So, Friday night seemed by many to be the beginning of the end. There was a feeling of wonder as the night began. Friends gathered and celebrated the evening with hugs and general revelry. As things got under way the energy began to mellow, and night one fell into what seemed to be a somewhat lackluster show. Maybe it was the acoustic delivery, maybe the setlist choices, or perhaps, by general consensus, The Fillmore is one of Denver’s least favorite venues. Whatever it was, it didn’t tarnish the evening entirely. For many diehard fans it’s hard to admit when a show falls short, but the thing about being a part of a band and the extended family of followers is how it isn’t always about the music. The years of following around the machine has lead to great friendships, experiences and families. As new children were ushered in to the fold, old faces seemed to drift away. But at shows like these, old and new seem to appear side by side, and the joy that comes with any family growing seemed to be the highlight of the night.

DJ Logic & Friends by Brad Hodge
The party continued Friday night with a huge post-show party hosted by the masterful DJ Logic. He and friends Wally Ingram, Pete Wall, Brian Jordan, Garrett Sayers, and Peanut Daniels kept the energy up and people dancing well into the morning. Widespread Panic booking agent Hunter Williams and tour manager Steve Lopez made guest appearances on percussion, yet somehow did not fill the void of the hopeful appearances of Col. Bruce (who was in town for the weekend but never showed up at any of the shows) and the rumored appearances of Jimmy Herring and Dave Schools. This is often the case at post WP shows. Rumors fly of members of the band making appearances, but unfortunately those days seem to be long since gone away. Honestly, they were not really missed. Logic and his crew killed it all night, and there was little that anyone could have added that could have possibly made the jams any better.

As a loyal fan of Panic and live music in general I live and die by the rule never miss a Sunday. So, when I woke up Saturday with full body aches, coughing, congestion and the feeling of being shadowed by the Angel of Death, I decided to sit out the Saturday show to guarantee I would be in the house on Sunday. Bad choice, I know, and one I have been ridiculed for enough already. So, I have no report from the evening other than I applaud the choice to cover Roger Miller’s “Dang Me.” Good choice, boys!

Widespread Panic by Brad Hodge
Sunday brought cold and snow as the crowd entered the venue. Once inside, it was easy to find warmth as the whole place seemed to be a constant embrace of friendship. The night began with a nice “Hope in Hopeless World” and from there kept moving with a rapid pace. The thing about these acoustic sets that seemed hardest to wrap your mind around was how fast they went. Without the exploration and jamming Panic fans are accustomed to the nine song first set fell well under an hour most nights. This night, I believe, it fell short of even making the 50-minute mark. That in no way means it was bad, just something new. After a lengthy set break that allowed for more of the visiting and appreciation of those around you, things got fired back up with the Colorado Panic anthem “Surprise Valley.” Nowhere on earth does the line “kiss the mountain air we breathe” mean more to fans than it does here in the Square State. We love our mountain air, and we love Widespread Panic!

The boys seemed to have worked very hard to rework the arrangements of some of the material for this acoustic tour. Nowhere did that hard work seem to be more relevant than with the masterfully reworked “Contentment Blues.” The new arrangement gave new life to one of the band’s pillared songs. Who knew you could rework perfection? The night seemed to be unstoppable, as if we all knew the clock was ticking and we couldn’t do anything to stop it. With each enjoyable song we were that much closer to the end of what has been a magnificent run. Sure, Panic is not leaving us forever, but for many who have relied on its existence like Christmas and birthdays, it will be a hard transition to have to sit and wait.

The night came to a close in grandiose fashion. Following a beautiful “When You Coming Home” and possibly the best-ever “Many Rivers to Cross,” the band delivered the most poignant of tunes. We all chase something and often seem to bitch when we don’t get what we want. After twenty-five years of giving everything they’ve got to serve it up just the way we like it, the message was loud and clear:

“You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you get what you need.”

Amen, family, amen.

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[Published on: 2/15/12]

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