Widespread Panic Lights Up The Detroit Sky

Written by Graham Shullman
Photo by Chris Schwegler

On a windy, chilly Friday night, Widespread Panic made their first appearance in Downtown Detroit in 5 years, and they did not disappoint. From the first notes of “Old Neighborhood” throughout the show the band played a set that was ripe with references to a struggling city on the verge of rebirth. The band was particularly tight, as they have been all year, in support of their 25th Anniversary. Songs like “Hope in a Hopeless World” seemed to reference the light amongst the dilapidated city, and as the first set ended with “Papa’s Home” the band seemed to feed on the crowd’s energy.

As the second set started with “Heroes” the theme continued. You also had to notice the amazing lights they have on this tour and the mood really settled in for a scorching “Conrad”, a Widespread Panic staple for many, many years, which really whipped the almost capacity crowd into a frenzy. The band tore into such classics as “Airplane” and “Pigeons”, as tight as ever. As they closed the second set with “Chainsaw City”, fittingly , because the song references Detroit steel, the crowd was excited, and also exhausted from over two hours of music. John Bell, lead singer, came out and in his trademark raspy voice thanked Detroit, before they launched into a 20 minute, 3 song encore. The highlight was a song they have only started to cover this year, the Grateful Dead’s “New Speedway Boogie”. That brought the total cover songs of the evening to 4. They played songs by Talking Heads, Van Morrison, Black Sabbath, and the Grateful Dead. There aren’t many bands out there that could cover such diverse music in one show, but, that’s what makes Panic fans so rabid for the next one. They closed the evening with another classic, “Makes Sense to Me”, which again references the downtrodden rising up, a fitting end to a wonderful night of music and a fitting tribute to Detroit.

Tracklist:
1: Old Neighborhood, Papa Legba, Wondering > Send Your Mind, Greta,
You Got Yours, Angels on High, Hope In A Hopeless World, Cotton Was
King, Papa’s Home

2: Heroes > Conrad, Pickin’ Up The Pieces, Visiting Day, Airplane >
Aunt Avis, Fairies Wear Boots, Pigeons, Don’t Wanna Lose You, Chainsaw
City

E: Her Dance Needs No Body, New Speedway Boogie, Makes Sense To Me

If you would like to see more Photos from our photographer, Chris Schwegler, CLICK HERE for the photo gallery

 

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