Widespread Panic Debuts Leon Russell Cover In Chicago

“Stranger In A Strange Land” was played for the first time last night at the Chicago Theatre.

By Andy Kahn Nov 20, 2021 7:17 am PST

Widespread Panic covered Leon Russell’s “Stranger In A Strange Land” for the first time during their concert last night in Chicago. The debut took place on the final night of a three-show run at The Chicago Theatre.

The evening’s first set began with crew member Steve Lopez adding percussion to “Slippin’ Into Darkness,” which opened a show for just the fourth time. The set continued with “Thought Sausage,” followed by a sequence of “Greta” that led into a jam before landing on “Walkin’ (For Your Love).” The back half of the set was filled out with “Jack,” a take on “Driving Song” that surrounded “Disco” and a “Papa’s Home” closer.

After set break, WSP kicked off the last set of their Chicago Theatre run with “Hope In A Hopeless World.” Next up were favorites “Chilly Water” and “Visiting Day.” The band then played “Surprise Valley” which segued into the start of their debut cover of Russell’s “Stranger In A Strange Land.” The debut performance would itself segue into Bob Dylan’s “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” before transitioning back into the ending of “Stranger In A Strange Land.” Both “Stranger In A Strange Land” and “A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall” appeared on Russell’s 1971 LP, Leon Russell And The Shelter People.

Without stopping, WSP then returned to finish the “Surprise Valley” started earlier in the set. The rest of the set presented “Blue Indian” and a closing “Ain’t Life Grand.”

The encore began with a bust out of “Straight To Hell,” a song by Drivin N Cryin that Panic had covered once before (with Drivin N Cryin’s Kevn Kinney) on October 24, 2015, making it a span of 229 shows between performances. The classic “Love Tractor” punctuated the encore.

Up next for Widespread Panic is a four-night New Year’s run in Atlanta, culminating on December 31. Watch the first part of the “Stranger In A Strange Land” cover debut and the “Straight To Hell” bust out last night in Chicago captured by MrTopdogger below:

MrTopdogger (See 11 videos)
Widespread Panic (See 464 videos)

MrTopdogger (See 11 videos)
Widespread Panic (See 464 videos)

Setlist (via PanicStream)

Set One: Slippin’ Into Darkness*, Thought Sausage, Greta > Jam > Walkin’ (For Your Love), Jack, Driving Song > Disco > Driving Song, Papa’s Home (65 mins)

Set Two: Hope In A Hopeless World, Chilly Water, Visiting Day, Surprise Valley > Stranger In A Strange Land > A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall > Stranger In A Strange Land > Surprise Valley, Blue Indian, Ain’t Life Grand (68 mins)

Encore: Straight To Hell, Love Tractor (13 mins)


  • * with Steve Lopez on percussion; 4th time as opener
  • Stranger In A Strange Land FTP (Leon Russell)
  • A Hard Rain’s A-Gonna Fall LTP 3/31/19 Durham (64 shows)
  • Straight To Hell LTP 10/25/15 Milwaukee (229 shows); 2nd time played
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