Widespread Panic Debuts New Song ‘Tackle Box Hero’ At Panic En La Playa

Watch keyboardist JoJo Hermann lead the band through the new original in Mexico.

By Scott Bernstein Jan 18, 2023 7:15 am PST

Widespread Panic brought the 2023 installment of their Panic En La Playa destination event to a close on Tuesday with their fourth of four shows at the Hard Rock Hotel And Casino in Riviera Maya, Mexico. The sextet treated fans to a pair of 89-minute sets that included the debut of new original “Tackle Box Hero,” a tribute to Jeff Beck and a guest appearance from a crew member ahead of a three-song encore.

“Alright, we all made it this far,” guitarist/vocalist John Bell exclaimed before the band got the show on the road with “All Time Low.” The opener flowed into a nicely extended “Little Lilly,” which gave way to a rousing “Fishwater” propelled by Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz‘s percussion work. JB then helmed “Down” before Panic encapsulated a cover of Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” within the Leon Russell classic “Stranger In A Strange Land.” Another song sandwich followed as “Dark Bar” was performed within “Good People.”

Last night’s first set rolled on with the first “Casa Del Grillo” in Mexico since 2012’s inaugural Panic En La Playa. An emotion-laden “Gimme” then bled into “Bowlegged Woman” ahead of a set-closing “Halloween Face.”

The veteran jam act kicked off the final set of the event with their first “Tackle Box Hero.” Keyboardist JoJo Hermann handled lead vocals on the new original as he sang “the ocean, just making waves” at the beachfront resort. Panic tore through beloved instrumental “Disco” next and brought out crew member Cola Jarnigan to play tambourine to the ensuing “Greta,” which birthed a jam that faded into “Climb To Safety.”

Panic went the old school route in continuing the frame with a run connecting three songs from their 1988 debut studio album: “The Take Out,” title track “Space Wrangler” and “Porch Song.” The latter was followed by the evening’s “Drums” segment, while the group incorporated the Jeff Beck-recorded “Freeway Jam” within “Space Wrangler” a week after the guitarist's unexpected death. Ortiz and drummer Duane Trucks were at it for nearly 10 minutes of “Drums” action before the band lit into “Surprise Valley.” Lead guitarist Jimmy Herring and Hermann each took powerful solos ahead of a transition into “Pilgrims.” Fan Favorite “Chilly Water” concluded last night’s second set.

The six-piece returned to begin their encore with a solemn cover of Leonard Cohen’s “Bird On A Wire.” Panic wrapped up the destination event by pairing staples “Ain’t Life Grand” and “Bust It Big.” Next up for the group is a three-night run in Durham, North Carolina February 9 – 11.

Watch Widespread Panic premiere “Tackle Box Hero” via fan-shot footage below:

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