Widespread Panic played their first of three sold-out shows in Knoxville’s historic Tennessee Theatre Monday evening. This show was my 52nd Widespread show since 1992, and while I would rather see Widespread Panic over any other touring band on any given night, the set list was a little uneven at times, despite the solid and stellar jamming.
“Ain’t No Use” is easily one of my favorite Panic covers, but I was surprised to see them open the show with this and not play it as a smooth transitional song later in the second set. “Ain’t No Use” segued nicely into a relaxed rendition of “C. Brown” which essentially set a mellow and subdued tone for early part of the evening. “True To My Nature” followed “C. Brown” and was akin to the Rolling Stones playing a newer song, post Steel Wheels-era, thus the mass exodus by a much of the crowd as people headed for the bathroom and bar within the venue.
The next couple of songs were stellar, but I was left puzzled by the placement of songs which in which the band kept bringing things down to a simmer in between some visceral jamming throughout set one. I couldn’t help but be reminiscent of some previous shows I have witnessed where the band pulled out of the station like a freight train and proceeded to drive the train off the tracks before intermission. This was a good night, but not one of the nights I guess that I had selfishly hoped for. The remainder of the first set: “Stop-Go” > “1 x1,” “Tortured Artist”>”Me and The Devil Blues”, “Last Straw” > “Goodpeople” > “Dark Bar” > “Goodpeople”, “Give.”
The band certainly made up for an unbalanced first set by rolling out some crowd favorites during set two such as: “Who Do You Belong To?,” “One Arm Steve,” “Blight,” “Driving Song” and “Tall Boy” before closing out the evening with “Down” and a rollicking “Chainsaw City.”
At the expense of sounding like a jaded fan, I suppose I was slightly disappointed in the total song selection and song placement, which gave the night an unbalanced feeling for me, overall.
Regardless, this is Widespread Panic, my favorite band, playing in my backyard for three nights, and possibly the last shows I will see for some time as the band nears an indefinite hiatus; while a little let down, I will take an unbalanced show from Widespread Panic any night of the week.
Here's to looking forward to Panic blowing the roof off of the Historic Tennessee Theatre on Wednesday night!
-Will Fisher, The Showbiz Kids
09/26/11 Tennessee Theater, Knoxville, TN (Setlist Courtesy of Everyday Companion)
1: It Ain't No Use > C. Brown, True To My Nature > Stop-Go > 1 x 1, Tortured Artist > Me And The Devil Blues, The Last Straw > Goodpeople > Dark Bar > Goodpeople, Give
2: Hope In A Hopeless World > Weight Of The World, One Arm Steve > Jam > Who Do You Belong To? > This Part Of Town > Flicker > Jam > Driving Song > St. Louis > Blight > Driving Song > Tall Boy
E: Down, Chainsaw City