Watch Widespread Panic Debut Covers On New Year’s Eve
Widespread Panic‘s New Year’s Eve concerts have been celebratory events dating back to the late-1980s. By the mid-1990s, the Georgia-born band fully embraced the holiday by playing extra sets, welcoming guests, going acoustic, busting out songs and debuting new covers.
While there won’t be a WSP NYE show this year, as part of their “Run To New Years” archival series, the band will stream their December 31, 1999 concert at Atlanta’s Phillips Arena featuring sit-ins from The Dirty-Dozen Brass Band and Ms. Dottie Peoples & The People’s Choice Choir. That show saw Peoples leading Panic through their first performances of “Testify,” “Respect Yourself” and “What A Wonderful World.”
With and without guests, Widespread Panic frequently utilized New Year’s Eve to premiere their takes on classic covers. The nine pro-shot videos presented below feature WSP debuting covers on New Year’s Eve, in some instances with guests and others without.
Up first is their cover of “Midnight Train To Georgia,” one of several songs related to the Peach State played by Panic at Phillips Arena on December 31, 2005. Following that are two videos from the same venue on December 31, 2013, the debut of Neil Young’s “Journey Through The Past” and Young’s “Time Fade Away,” which were both part of the opening set with John Bell seated and playing an acoustic guitar.
A year later at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina, Widespread Panic capped their show with an encore ending with their debut of The Beatles’ “With A Little Help From My Friends” with the help of The MegaBlasters horn section. Earlier that night, WSP — with JB seated on acoustic and backed by the horns — premiered a cover of Bill Withers’ “Ain’t No Sunshine” between versions of “Lean On Me” and “Use Me.”
On December 31, 2015, WSP performed at The Fox Theatre in Atalanta, the first set with JB again seated but this time playing electric guitar with a pair of Leonard Cohen covers, including the closer “Hallelujah.” With The MegaBlasters horns joining the band, the third set that evening saw Panic follow their original “Heroes” with a first-time cover of David Bowie’s “Heroes.” Bowie would sadly die just 10 days later. WSP followed the Bowie debut with their first-time take on Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall.”
The final video below is the final song played by Widespread Panic on December 31, 2016 at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Accompanied by The MegaBlasters, Randall Bramblett on saxophone and The McCrary Sisters on vocals, the finale that NYE was WSP’s debut of Talking Heads’ “Burning Down The House.” Watch pro-shot videos of nine Widespread Panic New Year’s Eve debut covers found in the JamBase Live Video Archive (JBLVA) below: