Widespread Panic – Fox Theater - Oakland, CA – July 8, 2011
Every Friday Oakland Jam Bands Examiner gives readers a free “live and legal” music download suggestion, pulled from a variety of shows in the Bay Area.
This week’s live and legal download is Widespread Panic at The Fox Theater in Oakland on July 8, 2011. Widespread Panic played two nights at The Fox Theater and this show is night one. Seeing WSP two nights in a row is a pleasant trip. The band set the stage on night one for a laid back ride with “Blue Indian,” “Space Wrangler” and “Cream Puff War,” among others. And as Widespread Panic has a loyal taper following, the sound quality of the show is excellent.
Being from the same home state as the band, Georgia, I may have a different connection with the jam band. I have my Widespread Panic tour memories and the friends I meet at certain shows each year. That is what makes Widespread Panic a fan’s band – their love of doing two or three nights in one place. When WSP tours they try to make attending multiple shows feasible. They know the camaraderie that exists; after playing together for 20 years, they are fully aware of their support base.
When other groups play two nights in one location it can be instant to think that you should just go to night two because it obviously will be better. With Widespread Panic there is no obviously. You are going to get an excellent show night one or night two, and an even better one if you see them in concession. That’s just the flow of Panic. They play repeats along the way, but songs change just by their placement in the set list. Widespread Panic jams out no matter what they play.
When I arrived in Oakland, just a couple of weeks prior to this show, I was surprised when people did not know Widespread Panic. I know that this group was not an accurate endorsement, however, as the band rocked out Fox Theater two nights in a row to a very full, happy house.
I like the trio at the start of set one: “Old Neighborhood,” “Fishwater,” and “St. Ex.” “St. Ex” may just be my favorite song of the band’s last studio album Dirty Side Down (May 2010, ATO Records). I love the lyrics and the haunting guitar from Jimmy Herring. Everyone seemed to be getting into the show early on with Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz pounding the drums and Dave Schools putting down a mean bass line.
The first set features a number of good tunes including “Crippled Inside” which was last played on July 2, 2008 – 215 shows prior to the Fox date. There was also a nice segue between “Flickr” and “Blue Indian.” After an intense five minutes of “Blue Indian,” they segued from “L.A.” into “Jack.” I love when bands go song to song.
When J.B., John “JoJo” Herman, Todd Nance and the band came back out for the second set they borrowed “Strange Times” from The Black Keys and nailed it. They then took a short version of “Machine” into almost 12 minutes of “Barstools and Dreamers.” Maybe the best segue goes to “Party at Your Mama’s House” into “Space Wrangler.” But that’s only if you didn’t enjoy “Chilly Water” into “Bust it Big” back into “Chilly Water,” to finish out the set. And if you didn’t enjoy that then I don’t know what else to say.
The band came back out for three songs in the encore. “This Part of Town” brought it back to the start of the evening. In between WSP played “B of D” segueing into “Makes Sense to Me.” A three song encore is love.
Widespread Panic at The Fox Theater is available for a free download on multiple sites including bt.etree.org. The band also makes recordings available for sale on their website. Remember the music is free to swap and share, but illegal to sale (unless you are the band). Download, seed, share and be merry.
Walkin'(For Your Love)
Cream Puff War
Barstools and Dreamers
Party At Your Mama's House>
You Should Be Glad
Bust It Big>
This Part Of Town
B of D>
Makes Sense To Me