Widespread Panic

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Average User Rating 9.11
Total Reviews 1
Last Reviewed August 20th, 2006
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Venue/Date: Rupp Arena (Lexington, KY)
Concert Date:  
October 1st, 2006
Reviewer: aceshooter

      Venue Parking  
      Venue Security  
      Opening Band  
      Opening Song  
      Set List  
      Band Connection  
      Band Energy/Intensity/Showmanship  
      ConcertGoer Energy/Intensity  
      Sound Quality  
      Set and Lighting Design (SLD)  
      The Finish/Encore  
Dirty Dozen steals show from basic Widespread Panic
By Walter Tunis

"My body keeps on moving," John Bell sang at the onset of Widespread Panic's evening-long jam band fest at Rupp Arena Sunday night. "But my style gets in the way."

What telling words. For the better part of 31/2 hours, the veteran Georgia band had all the tools to keep the groove going. But a few times too often, the band reflected a stage attitude that seemed to suggest its often rudimentary music was a bigger deal than it was.

The Panic is a band that likes to keep the beat simple. Sometimes, as with the opening Proving Ground, the groove abruptly accelerated and then slowed back to the band's shuffle-friendly comfort zone. A panic? More like business as usual, really.

So it went for much of the first set, with Bell and company relying mostly on the shorter, song-structured grooves of the boogie-directed Walkin' (For Your Love) and the animated barroom flavor of Blue Indian. Longer jams were saved for the second set.

At times percussionist Domingo S. Ortiz would chime in (literally) to color a tune or two, as in the way he gave the Okie-meets-Atlanta roots groove of J.J. Cale's Travelin' Light a detour through Trinidad.

And it was difficult not to imagine how pale this music would have sounded without new Panic guitarist Jimmy Herring (an alumnus of the Allman Brothers Band and The Dead) and bassist Dave Schools on the job. Herring was rightly the evening's principal soloist. But the guitarist was just as commanding when he cemented the sturdy funk groove of Mercy with Schools.

Ultimately, though, the Panic's problem seems to be its material. Too many tunes locked themselves too quickly into static rhythms that even the most inventive of instrumental solos couldn't break.

Lyrically, the music didn't fare much better. From the Cradle, for example, was dime-store paranoia stuff that stylistically veered way too close to sacred Jerry Garcia-style balladry for comfort.
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