Widespread Panic Busts Out Cover For 1st Time In Over 3,000 Shows On New Year’s Eve In Nashville
Check out video and the setlist from WSP’s NYE concert.
By Nate Todd Jan 2, 2023 • 11:24 am PST
Widespread Panic rang in the New Year on Saturday with the second of two concerts at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The rockers from Athens, Georgia offered massive bust outs and more for the occasion.
WSP launched the first of three sets in a stripped-down format with guitarist John Bell seated on acoustic guitar. The band began with “Little Lilly” followed by a pair of classics in “Walkin’ (For Your Love)” and “Wondering.” After Nobody’s Loss,” Panic delivered blues great Bukka White’s “Fixin’ To Die” before bassist Dave Schools led the band through the brute’s (a band featuring Vic Chesnutt and members of WSP) “Blight.”
The sextet then busted out a rare cover of Jimmy Cliff’s “Many Rivers To Cross.” The NYE 2022 version marked just the 13th time WSP played the song live with the last performance coming on August 25, 2019 in Nashville for a total gap of 94 shows, as per Panic Stream. Keyboardist JoJo Hermann led the group through “Blackout Blues” to wrap the first frame.
Panic kept the JoJo songs rolling to open the fully electric 2nd with “One Arm Steve.” The ‘Til The Medicine Takes cut flowed into a crisp “Surprise Valley” which encompassed “Rock.” “Ribs And Whiskey,” “Honky Red” and “Tail Dragger” followed ahead of a three-song seamless beginning with the Bloodkin tune “Trashy” followed by “Greta” and “All Time Low.” The always rowdy “Chilly Water” washed down the second set.
Longtime crew member Steve Lopez would helm the countdown. WSP kicked off the third frame with “Love The One You’re With.” Widespread Panic has not played the Stephen Stills classic since the band’s infancy. The last performance came on January 3, 1987 making for a whopping gap of 3,084 shows. “LTOYW” led into “Ain’t Life Grand” ahead of a pairing of “Love Tractor” and “Big Wooly Mammoth.” WSP went seamless to close the third set with “Second Skin,” “Tie Your Shoes,” “Ride Me High” and putting an exclamation point on the third frame with just the seventh rendition of Neil Young’s “Rockin’ In The Free World” since 1994.
In a year that saw the 20-year mark since the death of founding guitarist Michael Houser, the encore had a lot of Mikey energy in it. The three-song affair began with a tune from the brute catalog, the Vic Chesnutt-penned, “Expiration Day.” Next, Panic dusted off Houser’s own “Sandbox,” which marked the first time WSP performed the song since Houser’s death. Sandbox is also the title track of a posthumously released Houser solo album. “Sandbox” was last played on October 28, 2001. Widespread Panic wrapped up their New Year’s Eve concert with the beloved classic “Porch Song.”
Watch video from WSP’s NYE show below:
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Setlist (via Panic Stream)
Set One: Little Lilly, Walkin’ (For Your Love), Wondering, Nobody’s Loss, Fixin’ To Die, Blight, Many Rivers To Cross, Blackout Blues
Set Two: One Arm Steve > Surprise Valley > Rock > Surprise Valley, Ribs And Whiskey, Honky Red, Tail Dragger, Trashy > Greta > All Time Low, Chilly Water
Set Three: Love The One You’re With > Ain’t Life Grand, Love Tractor > Big Wooly Mammoth, Disco, Second Skin > Tie Your Shoes > Ride Me High > Rockin’ In The Free World
Encore: Expiration Day, Sandbox, Porch Song
Set 1 JB seated acoustic; New Years Eve countdown by Steve Lopez before a brief ‘Auld Lang Syne’; Last ‘Love The One You’re With’ – 01/03/87, 3083 shows; Last ‘Sandbox’ – 10/28/01, 1245 shows