WIDESPREAD PANIC | 04.6 & 04.7 | D.C.
Words & Images by: Jake Krolick
Widespread Panic :: 04.06 & 04.07 :: Warner Theater :: Washington D.C.
The frigid Easter weekend brought snow flurries and an end to the blooming cherry blossoms around Washington D.C. Bunnies ran for cover and tourists crowded into the many free museums. Widespread Panic’s tour buses sat across the street from the Hotel Harrington sporting “Get r’ Done” vanity plates and a fresh coat of road dust. The tall, gray Warner Theatre sat catty corner, and as opulent theatres go, the Warner is high on the list. Covered floor-to-ceiling with gold guilding, its heart is a sparkling 18-foot chandelier dangling elegantly at arm’s length from the balcony. Letterman taped here when he was in town, and Lewis Black called it home because they let him say more than 42 f-words. The tall-tales of Cleveland and Baltimore were still fresh in our heads as the crowd’s decibel level rose. The air buzzed with the excitement of 2000 Spreadheads gathered for a two-day southern style political rally complete with mudslinging, hooting, hollering and plenty of raucous behavior.
Schools and Herring must have exchanged matching heart necklaces that say “Best Friends Forever.” Schools and his new amp mascot, Family Guy‘s Stewie Griffin, shot huge grins Herring’s way all night. The pair’s supernatural abilities worked a funky little groove out of “Pigeons.” John “JoJo” Herman, unable to resist the excitement, leapt in with sizzling keys during “Ride Me High.” Schools fired a booming echo back to JoJo’s funky articulations. Sunny Ortiz grabbed his moment, setting off on a mini drum interlude that included a Thelonious Monk-esque section with drummer Todd Nance and JoJo. Herring lit a smoke and scorched us with tight little riffs that sent us back into the “Ride Me High” sandwich.
Friday night didn’t break course records but managed to be a par performance. Saturday’s show saw Widespread Panic pull from behind to win the Masters Tournament as the audience cheered them to victory.
The second set was so exciting it was over before we knew it. It was one long, streaming song that kicked off with “Papa Johnny Road” and ended with “Henry Parsons Died.” The influence of ARU reared its head during a chandelier rattling exchange between JB and Herring during “Spoonful.” JB showed off his vocal prowess during “Arleen” and his restraint during “I’m Not Alone.” The whole band was blissful during the second set, culminating in the highlight of the night, an uncontrollable, fan-shaking “Tie Your Shoes.”
We ended the evening drinking whiskey, hooting and hollering about the years to come. As I launched off the TV stand in a great leap of faith, I felt more connected to the band than I have in years. My springy landing inspires boozy cheers. Like the band, I’ve found my way into a new era, landing on all fours and running full tilt towards the horizon.
04.06.07 | Warner Theatre | Washington, DC
Set 1: Space Wrangler > C. Brown, Action Man, Pleas > Sleepy Monkey, Can’t Get High, Down, Tortured Artist > North
Set 2: Disco > Pigeons, Thin Air (Smells Like Mississippi) > Ride Me High > Stop-Go > Holden Oversoul > Christmas Katie > Bowlegged Woman, Ain’t Life Grand
E: Aunt Avis > Walk On
04.07.07 | Warner Theatre | Washington, DC
Set 1: The Take Out > Wondering > Rock, From The Cradle > Worry, None of Us Are Free, Rebirtha > Ribs And Whiskey, Smoking Factory > Porch Song
Set 2: Climb To Safety, Papa Johnny Road > Arleen > I’m Not Alone > Tie Your Shoes > Drums > Spoonful > Big Wooly Mammoth > Henry Parsons Died
E: Walkin’ (For Your Love), City of Dreams
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