Widespread Panic soared into the Southeast last weekend, starting in Alpharetta, Georgia on Friday night for the last show of the year in their home state. The home team showed up in droves, packing the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater for what turned out to be quite the heater.
Fellow jam band Umphrey’s McGee opened the show for the band, ripping through some of their well-known hits like “In the Kitchen” and “All In Time”. After Umphrey’s high energy performance, Widespread Panic opened their show with a roaring “Junior” before delving into a set that included such classics as “Can’t Get High”, “One Arm Steve” and “Space Wrangler”. To end the first set, the boys welcomed Randall Bramblett of Traffic to the stage for “L.A.”, a song that was last played in 2012. Bramblett’s incredible saxophone performance guided the band into the last song before set break, a red hot “Sharon”. The second set only brought more intensity, opening with “Big Wooly Mammoth” and playing a personal favorite “Diner”, before welcoming Bramblett back out for a highly anticipated Traffic cover, “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” with the wildly popular “Climb to Safety” sandwiched in the middle. The band closed out the second set with an incredibly funky “Fishwater”. For the encore, Panic brough Bramblett back out, as well as Joel Cummins of Umphrey’s McGee to play keys on Bill Withers’ “Use Me” before closing the show with “Ain’t Life Grand”.
As Widespread Panic continued their final extensive tour, they stopped by Asheville on Saturday night for a sold-out show at the U.S. Cellular Center. Spread-Heads young and old packed into the arena, and the boys came out right on time. They got the party started early, opening with two Van Morrison covers, “And It Stoned Me” and “Send Your Mind”. It was evident that it was going to be a special evening. The first set went on to include favorites “Shut Up and Drive” and “All Time Low”. The band took a quick break and then delivered one of the best sets of the fall tour, starting off with “Wondering” and “B of D” to get real funky early on. Things got hotter as they played “Bust it Big” directly into “Driving Song”. All of the guys were completely in sync and it was clear that they loved playing for the loyal Asheville crowd. The jams kept rolling as they concluded the second set with “Imitation Leather Shoes” into the Funkadelic cover, “Red Hot Mama”. The crowd was blown away by the double encore of ZZ Top covers “Waitin’ for the Bus” and “Jesus Just Left Chicago”.