Widespread Panic Kick Off Fox Theater Run With Tribute To Recently Passed Fan

first_imgLast night Widespread Panic rolled their 30th Anniversary Summer Tour through Oakland, CA for the first of a two-night stand at the Fox Theater. With the tour closer approaching fast in Los Angeles on Saturday,  Panic has been unable to miss lately – striking gold with every show. Coming off of impressive runs in Las Vegas and breaking the threshold with 51 consecutive sold out shows at Red Rocks, their home away from Georgia, fans – and as evidenced Thursday night the band, too, have been eagerly awaiting the return to the Bay Area.Before the show started, lead vocalist John “JB” Bell addressed the crowd in memory of longtime fan Justin Schnurr who recently passed away. Widespread Panic busted out of the gate strong with “Heroes”, with guitarist Jimmy Herring taking the liberty of foreshadowing the heavy rock and roll that was to follow. A band of many talents and genre capabilities, the fans take pride in the fact that every night carries its own genre bending mood. Thursday night was heavily themed with rock and roll.They continued with “Send Your Mind” and a sublime “Holden Oversoul” that segued into “Weak Brain Narrow Mind.” JB and bassist Dave Schools picked up on Herring’s acrobatics, and each took turns showing they were ready to keep up. The anticipation was especially high in the crowd. Every lull or slower transition in or out of a jam resulted in the crowd catching their breath enough to let out uproarious applause.Standalone versions of “Walkin’ (For Your Love)”, “Shut Up and Drive” and “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” pulled their weight in the middle of the set as the band settled more firmly into their groove. “Nobody’s Fault But Mine” was an especially large bust out, making its first set list appearance in over a year. They pulled from their latest album Street Dogs for the most mellow tune of the evening with “Angels Don’t Sing The Blues”, but it gave the lighting director a bit of room to flex as the light arrangements and kaleidoscopic tribal fractals morphed spun and melted across three LED screens behind the band.“Angels” led into a smoking hot “Stop/Go” that was treated with a Grateful Dead nod and a “Dark Star” jam before segueing into “Dear Mr. Fantasy” for a raw, Southern rock and roll throw down to close the set. With the set break came a collective sigh of relief – yes, Oakland, Widespread Panic is home and they came ready to melt your face. By 10:15PM, they were returning to the stage.Just as they started the first set, bassist Schools teased some killer Jimi Hendrix riffs before the band launched into the setlist. Coming out and continuing the heavy hand of rock, “Thought Sausage” wasted no time picking up where the first set ended. A spaced out transition had the Fox Theater “Slippin’ Into Darkness” as friend of the band Wally Ingram was welcomed out on stage to assist Domingo “Sunny” Ortiz on percussion. Ortiz stuck around and assisted in the stellar transition to “Travelin’ Light”.Widespread Panic “Blight” – Fox Theater – Oakland, CA – 7/14/16, courtesy of Mr. Topdogger:On the LED screens behind the band, images of an eclipse and near-outer space dominated the visual representation of weightlessness and deep layers of guitars, punctuated by John “JoJo” Hermann’s saxophone sounding keyboard skills. “That Thang” brought the ruckus, featuring a deeply psychedelic swamp-pop bass and keyboard combo in the transition into “Blight”. “Tie Your Shoes” followed with a monster jam segueing into a giant “Papa’s Home” sandwiched around a ten minute drum solo that featured Ortiz and Duane Trucks going head to head in rhythmic glory as the rest of the band exited.They returned to finish “Papa’s Home” with the energy of an all-out encore before busting into “I’m Not Alone”, almost a collective reassurance that yes, everyone in the crowd feels as good as the person next to them.  A standalone “Blackout Blues” closed the set proper, somehow managing to continue building epic upon epic while JB’s searing vocals weld the whole machine together.After the massive drum break, the actual encore of “Saint Ex” > “Action Man” was an appropriate close that didn’t lose any energy and in fact could have passed as a second encore. With only two shows left in Summer Tour, everyone in the Panic family is excited to see what they have up their sleeves.– review and photos courtesy of Joshua Huver (Must Have Media) Load remaining imageslast_img

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