Monday, November 30, 2009

An evening with Widespread Panic

Widespread Panic will be playing their annual two-night run for New Years this year at Phillips Arena in Atlanta, Georgia. Need I say more? An Athens based band who has been touring the country and a few tours in Europe since 1986 will rise again this year to a sold out crowd of 30k full of wookies and spun out hippies roaming around wondering where they are. Me personally? I go for the music, been seeing them since 2000. First occasionally a few shows a year, then as I graduated from high school, I knew I wasn't ready for college. The greatest three years of my life was traveling around the country seeing them anywhere from the Gorge, the the Beacon in New York to Red Rocks and all the way to Paulo Soulari, NM. Their music bleeds through any other that I have ever heard. A band who started out with just Mikey Houser and John Bell playing around Athens while going to school at UGA during the early 80's formed into a family type of band, they had no try outs, they formed a element within themselves that let them to one of the top touring acts throughout the 90's and the 21st century. The name Widespread Panic developed from their lead guitarist who was called "panic" in college because he was known to have frequent panic attacks sadly passed away August 12th, 2002. A day I will never forget. John Bell, lead singer who undoubtedly has the best voice in music today is the best kept secret amongst music, as well as the band themselves. They have never been in the business for money, but to spill their soulful music out to thousands of dedicated fans night after night as they have continually been on tour since the early 90's. You will not find Widespread Panic playing your routine BS Rolling Stones act, same song after one night. No, they have never played the same set list twice. After the sad death of Houser, they picked up guitar legend Jimmy Herring, who has been filling the shoes of guitarists such as Dickey Betts, Jerry Garcia and now Michael Houser, and he has proved that he is fit for the band. This year I am going with my buddies I have not hung out with in a few years, Johnny and Brian. If Johnny's got my right side, then Brian has my left and my buddy Brock must have his fist around my soul, yeah boy howdy this is gonna be a good one. This is no dress rehearsal, we ARE professionals and this IS the big time. It's been fun. These are your holidays.

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