Widespread Panic Debuts Justin Townes Earle Cover & Busts Out Neil Young Covers In Mississippi

Stream official audio of the band’s two-night stand at Brandon Amphitheater including their debut take on “Don’t Drink The Water.”

By Scott Bernstein May 30, 2023 12:53 pm PDT

Widespread Panic spent Memorial Day Weekend in Brandon, Mississippi, where they played shows at the Brandon Amphitheater on Saturday and Sunday. Each night in the Deep South saw the veteran jam quartet dust off a Neil Young cover and they also premiered their take on a song by the late Justin Townes Earle on Sunday.

The Georgia-based band kicked off the two-night stand on Saturday with a jam that paved the way for a cover of Van Morrison’s “Send Your Mind.” Next up was “Walkin’ (For Your Love)” to complete a double dose of songs off 1991’s Widespread Panic, a.k.a. Mom’s Kitchen. The location appropropriate “Thin Air (Smells Like Mississippi)” followed along with oldie “Pleas” and 2020 single “Sundown Betty.” Panic then worked Tom Waits’ “Goin’ Out West” into the hard-hitting “Give” and ended the first set of the run with the Willie Dixon blues standard “Tail Dragger.”

Standalone versions of “Little Kin” and “Cotton Was King” started Saturday’s second set. Widespread Panic then delivered a seamless sequence of “Papa Johnny Road” into the frequently paired “Disco” and “Diner” into the JoJo Hermann-sung “1×1.” Next, “Airplane” took flight for over 11 minutes before landing on the beloved “Hatfield.” The six-piece went on to wrap the frame by linking a cover of NRBQ’s “Flat Foot Flewzy” with the Jerry Joseph-penned “North.”

Widespread Panic looked to Neil Young’s iconic 1972 album Harvest to get Saturday’s encore underway with “Are You Ready For The Country?” The song was previously played by WSP during an acoustic show held on August 23, 2019 at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium. “Are You Ready For The Country?” hadn’t been performed electric since November 12, 2013 as per PanicStream.com. The band punctuated the night with the Skip James number “I’m So Glad,” a song popularized by Cream which was the last tune Col. Bruce Hampton played before his death in 2017.

“Chilly Water” was picked to begin Sunday’s show. Helmed by John Bell, the fan-favorite featured fierce shredding from guitarist Jimmy Herring and was shifted at its conclusion by bassist Dave Schools into a quick run through “Makes Sense To Me.” Panic then pulled from their mid-’90s material in connecting “Junior” and “Better Off” before performing “Up All Night” off 2008’s Free Somehow. Hermann shined on the ensuing “Blight” ahead of a take on Bloodkin’s “Trashy” that gave way to a set-closing “Love Tractor.”

John Bell led his bandmates through fIREHOSE’s “Sometimes” to open the final set of the weekend. The sextet then prefaced “All Time Low” with “Cease Fire” off what still stands as their most recent studio album, 2015’s Street Dogs. Next up was the Widespread Panic debut of “Don’t Drink The Water,” a song Justin Townes Earle wrote and recorded for what turned out to be his final studio album, 2019’s The Saint Of Lost Causes. John Bell started the tune solo before the rest of the band came in on the rollicking number. Another surprise followed as WSP dusted off Neil Young’s “Vampire Blues” for the first time since their June 2021 Tunes For Tots benefit in Denver.

Sunday’s second set rolled on with “Halloween Face,” an original debuted on Halloween 2021. “Driving Song” then bookended a “Papa’s Home” that encapsulated “Drums.” Panic delivered Dirty Side Down standout “Saint Ex” to end the frame. The band returned to close out the night and run with a three-song encore featuring originals “Expiration Day” and “Tall Boy” split by a cover of ZZ Top’s “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” After nearly a month off, Widespread Panic will play their traditional three-night stand at Colorado’s iconic Red Rocks Amphitheatre June 23 – 25.

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Setlists (via PanicStream.com)

Saturday, May 27

Set One: Jam > Send Your Mind, Walkin’ (For Your Love), Thin Air (Smells Like Mississippi) > Pleas > Sundown Betty, Goin’ Out West > Give, Tail Dragger (60 mins)

Set Two: Little Kin, Cotton Was King, Papa Johnny Road, Disco > Diner > 1×1, Airplane > Hatfield > Flat Foot Flewzy > North (91 mins)

Encore: Are You Ready For The Country?, I’m So Glad


– LTP ‘Are You Ready For The Country?’ 8/23/19 Ryman (118 shows); LTP electric 11/12/13 Baltimore

Sunday, May 28

Set One: Chilly Water > Makes Sense To Me, Junior, Better Off, Up All Night, Blight, Trashy > Love Tractor (63 mins)

Set Two: Sometimes > Cease Fire, All Time Low, Don’t Drink The Water, Vampire Blues, Halloween Face, Driving Song > Papa’s Home > Drums > Papa’s Home > Driving Song, Saint Ex (79 mins)

Encore: Expiration Day, Jesus Just Left Chicago, Tall Boy (16 mins)


  • – ‘Entering A Black Hole Backwards’ tease after ‘Chilly Water’
  • – ‘Riders On The Storm’ and ‘Machine Gun’ teases during ‘Blight’
  • – FTP ‘Don’t Drink The Water’ (Justin Townes Earle)
  • – LTP ‘Vampire Blues’ 6/24/21 Denver T4T (94 shows)
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  • Watch Widespread Panic Cover Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing’ For 1st Time Since 2007

    Watch Widespread Panic Cover Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Little Wing’ For 1st Time Since 2007 

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