Widespread Panic Fills Durham Setlists With Rarities

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Widespread Panic completed a three-night stand filled with rarities, jams and intriguing setlists on Sunday night Durham Performing Arts Center (DPAC) in Durham, North Carolina. The shows were the band’s first at the venue and marked their return to the city after more than 25 years.

John Bell led the group through a dark and dirty rendition of Talking heads’ “Papa Legba” to kick off the run on Friday. The biggest surprise of the set came towards the end of the frame when WSP dusted off “Old Joe.” One of the standout tracks from 2001’s Don’t Tell The Band had been shelved since June 23, 2017 – a span of 65 shows. Friday’s second set started off with the 2019 debut of the beloved instrumental “Happy.” A cover of The Meters’ “It Ain’t No Use” was followed by the Dave Schools-sung “Blight” and the pairing of “Tall Boy” and “Visiting Day.” The meat of the closing stanza was a “Surprise Valley” segment complete with “Greta” and “Drums” within. After ending the set with “Imitation Leather Shoes,” Panic encored with “Diner” and “Chunk Of Coal.” The former hadn’t been found in the encore slot since 1993, the same year the sextet last played Durham.

Widespread Panic came out of the gates on Saturday with a tribute to The Band in the form of an “Ophelia”/”The Shape I’m In” segment. The latter hadn’t been played in over a year. Old favorite “Pigeons” came next along with the typically extended “Gradle.” Later in the set, Panic dusted off Bill Withers’ “Use Me” for the first time since October 29, 2017. The 2019 debut of “Glory” and pairing of “Nobody’s Loss” and “Space Wrangler” closed out the third set of the weekend. WSP had a nice treat in store for the second set as they opened and closed with “Fishwater.” The band focused on jamming with lengthy takes on “I Walk On Guilded Splinters” and “Bear’s Gone Fishin'” giving way to a “Tie Your Shoes” that featured a tease of Little Feat’s “Spanish Moon.” In a cool segue, “Walkin’ (For Your Love)” emerged out of “Tie Your Shoes” and bled into “Gimme,” which in turn led into the gorgeous “Jack.” The intense end of the second set saw Panic work “Chainsaw City” into “Climb To Safety” into a short “Drums” into the end of “Fishwater.” Panic said farewell on night two with an encore of their own “Goodpeople” and Tom Petty’s “You Wreck Me.”

Nobody quite does Sunday shows like the Georgia rockers and last night’s concert was a doozy. The band set the pace by opening with a run of “Conrad” into “Big Wooly Mammoth” into “Up All Night.” After “Cotton Was King” came one of the biggest surprises of the weekend as the sextet dusted off “Fixin’ To Die” for the first time since Col. Bruce Hampton died. The traditional blues song was a staple of Hampton’s setlists and was found on his debut album with Aquarium Rescue Unit. Bell was in a mood to belt out emotional lyrics as “Aunt Avis” was followed by a cover of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall,” which he hadn’t sung since June. “Impossible” and “Blackout Blues” put an exclamation on the 72-minute set.

Widespread Panic dug really deep into their repertoire to open the final set of the weekend. “Bayou Lena” returned to the fold after a whopping 348-show layoff. And while the last “Bayou Lena” took place in 2014, the one before went down all the way back in 2008. Next, WSP treated fans to just the second version of Blind Faith’s “Do What You Like” since 2014. The rarities kept coming with the Jimi Hendrix style version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along The Watchtower,” a cover Panic has played just four times in the past 15 years. Old school favorite “Henry Parsons Died” emerged out of “Watchtower” and soon thereafter “Papa’s Home” served as the big jam vehicle for the set. Another powerful moment came next as the six-piece delivered their powerful cover of The Rolling Stones’ “You Can’t Always Get What You Want” and tacked a “Blue Sky” on to the end before closing the set with “Ain’t Life Grand.” A tradition of long Sunday encores continued with a “Driving Song” containing Blind Faith’s “Can’t Find My Way Home” within and a “Porch Song” finale.

Fan-Shot Videos

Bayou Lena Captured by Natural Music

Tie Your Shoes Captured by Natural Music

Tall Boy Captured by Bob Law

Setlists

March 29 (via Everyday Companion)

Set One: Papa Legba, Junior, One Arm Steve > Old Neighborhood, Can’t Get High, Time Zones, Old Joe, Stop-Go > Rock

Set Two: Happy, It Ain’t No Use > Blight, Rebirtha, Tall Boy, Visiting Day, Surprise Valley > Greta > Drums > Surprise Valley, Imitation Leather Shoes

Encore: Diner > Chunk Of Coal

March 30 (via Everyday Companion)

Set One: Ophelia > The Shape I’m In, Pigeons, Gradle, All Time Low > Use Me, Glory, Nobody’s Loss, Space Wrangler

Set Two: Fishwater > I Walk On Guilded Splinters > Bear’s Gone Fishin’ > Tie Your Shoes > Walkin’ (For Your Love) > Gimme > Jack > Chainsaw City > Climb To Safety > Drums > Fishwater

Encore: Goodpeople, You Wreck Me

March 31 (via PanicStream)

Set One: Conrad > Big Wooly Mammoth > Up All Night, Cotton Was King, Fixin’ To Die, Aunt Avis, A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall, Impossible, Blackout Blues

Set Two: Bayou Lena, Do What You Like, All Along The Watchtower > Henry Parsons Died, Second Skin, Ribs & Whiskey, Honky Red, Papa’s Home > Drums > Papa’s Home, You Can’t Always Get What You Want, Ain’t Life Grand (104 mins)

Encore: Driving Song > Can’t Find My Way Home > Driving Song, Porch Song (22 mins)

Tour Dates for
Widespread Panic