Widespread Panic Dusts Off 2 Originals In Milwaukee


Jam titans Widespread Panic played their second of three consecutive shows at The Riverside Theater in Milwaukee on Saturday night. The band focused on originals throughout the night including one that hadn’t been performed in over 100 shows and one that had been shelved since 2009.

Panic opened with the instrumental “A Of D,” which made just its second appearance of 2017. Next up was “Glory,” another song that had only been played once in the light touring year of 2017. The trend continued with the year’s second versions of “Hope In A Hopeless World” and “Dyin’ Man.” From there, “Airplane” gave way to a fierce and multi-pronged jam ahead of…you got it, the second “Angels On High” of ’17. However, the six-piece dug deeper into their back catalog to come up with the return of “Papa Johnny Road” from the George Mac/Ball days. WSP last played “Papa Johnny Road” on February 2, 2016 – a span of 103 shows. Staple “Imitation Leather Shoes” closed the set and was the initial heavy rotation original of the night, as the song had been performed four times prior this year.

The second set began with a return to forgotten tunes from the ’00s as the first “Flicker” of 2017 opened. A string of classics followed in “Pleas,” “Impossible” and a cover in the form of blues standard “One Kind Favor.” The year’s second “Little Lilly” came next along with the beloved “Pilgrims.” One of the biggest surprises of the run laid ahead as Widespread Panic busted out John “JoJo” Hermann’s “Smoking Factory” for the first time since November 22, 2009 – a span of 502 shows. “Smoking Factory” seemed to have a bright future for the band upon its debut on March 23, 2007, as it was in heavy rotation throughout 2007. JoJo’s song was played four times in 2008 and then disappeared without a trace after two 2009 performances. Saturday’s version was…”Smoking” and led into an unusual jam before the evening’s “Drums” sequence.

Widespread took War’s “Slippin’ Into Darkness” for a ride out of “Drums.” The band had last performed the funk classic just under a year ago. Once again, the Georgia rockers showed off their improvisational prowess by fitting a jam on “Dear Prudence” into the “Tie Your Shoes” that emerged out of the War cover. The sextet then played “Climb To Safety” to bring the 100-minute second set to a close. WSP started the encore slow with the poignant “Jack” before “Chilly Water” gave band and fans one last chance to rock. Sunday marks the end of Panic’s 2017 run in Milwaukee. A free live audio stream is available via LiveWidespreadPanic.com.

Watch fan-shot video from Saturday night thanks to Fred Ramadan:

[Papa Johnny Road]

[Tie Your Shoes]

Setlist (via Panicstream)

Set One: A of D, Glory, You Got Yours, Hope In A Hopeless World, Dyin’ Man, Airplane > Angels On High, Papa Johnny Road, Imitation Leather Shoes (57 mins)

Set Two: Flicker, Pleas > Impossible > One Kind Favor > Little Lilly, Pilgrims, Smoking Factory > Jam > Drums > Slippin’ Into Darkness > Tie Your Shoes > Jam > Climb To Safety (100 mins)

Encore: Jack > Chilly Water (19 mins)

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