Widespread Panic Opens Milwaukee Run With Tom Petty Tribute

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Georgia rockers Widespread Panic returned to the Riverside Theater in Milwaukee to begin this year’s three-night stand at the venue on Friday night. It didn’t take long for the band to show love for birthday boy Tom Petty, who died between the time of Panic’s last show and the start of the Milwaukee run.

John Bell led Widespread Panic through “You Wreck Me” off Petty’s 1994 solo album Wildflowers to start the show and the run. Widespread then reeled off one classic after another including “Weight Of The World,” “Big Wooly Mammoth” and “Action Man” within the first set. A highlight came towards the beginning of the frame, when Panic worked a “Barstools & Dreamers” with a “Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin” rap from JB within “Machine.” The set also featured a cover of J.J. Cale’s “Travelin’ Light” and the rare instrumental “B Of D.”

After kicking off the second set with “Old Neighborhood,” Widespread Panic continued to focus on old school gems. “Makes Sense To Me” was followed by “You Should Be Glad” and a tribute to ZZ Top in the form of “Waitin’ For The Bus” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago.” Up next was an intense “Mercy” that gave way to a “jam” and eventually “Bust It Big.” The evening’s “Drums” segment led into “Rock” ahead of the powerful “Protein Drink/Sewing Machine” pairing to close the set. Panic ended the night with a cover of “Honky Red” and their own “Ain’t Life Grand” as the evening’s encore.

Widespread Panic returns to The Riverside on Saturday night.

Here’s video of the opener captured by Fred Ramadan:

Listen to “You Wreck Me” thanks to taper Bennett Schwartz:

Setlist (via PanicStream)

Set One: You Wreck Me, Weight of the World, Machine > Barstools & Dreamers > Machine, Travelin’ Light, Visiting Day, Big Wooly Mammoth, Aunt Avis, B of D, Action Man (74 mins)

Set Two: Old Neighborhood, Makes Sense To Me, You Should Be Glad, Waitin’ For The Bus > Jesus Just Left Chicago, Mercy > Jam > Bust It Big > Drums > Rock, Protein Drink / Sewing Machine (87 mins)

Encore: Honky Red, Ain’t Life Grand (12 mins)

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