Widespread Panic 10.14.11
The Fillmore Detroit
Words & Photos By Greg Molitor (ReMIND Photography)
Good ol’ Widespread Panic. As a Yankee youngster, I don’t pretend to know like I totally get it. Doesn’t matter. If you’ve seen Panic, you probably have a good idea of what you’re getting into the next time around. Sure, you might not know the flavor, but it’ll more than likely be a gritty chew, aged in tradition and smell a bit like the whiskey your old man taught you to drink. On October 14, my good friend Adam and I made the two hour hike towards the State Theater (Fillmore) in Detroit. Hoping for just one more honest night of rock and roll to keep our spirits afloat, we were served up some delightfully freewheelin’ Southern comfort in its finest form, Panic style.
Upon arriving to the venue, we were met by a smaller crowd than anticipated. The floor eventually filled throughout the night, but a nearly empty balcony remaining for the duration. With ticket prices of $30 and $40, the turnout was puzzling. Those who did attend, however, certainly made the right choice, and as the band took the stage to a warm, welcoming Detroit ovation, I knew was exactly where I needed to be that night. Taking their time to dig into the surroundings, Panic slowed warmed up their chops over the first few tunes that included a take on Talking Heads’ “Papa Legba”. An eleven-plus minute “Greta” signaled that the band was ready let loose on some serious fireworks, and at this point, there was no looking back for the rest of the show.
Jimmy Herring… wow… this guy is completely unfair with his skills. His guitar work with Panic resembles that time you have to let your little brother or sister win a game of basketball, just to make sure they’re having fun too. No disrespect to Panic, but Herring’s talent far exceeds what their music requires. And that’s perfectly fine. He’s a musician, after all, and his playing not only fits their music, but you could tell that he has a deep understanding of what the music represents… the miles, the hardships, the triumphs, the stories told along the way… for someone who’s been with the band for less than ten years, it’s remarkable how in tune this guy is to everything that makes Panic what it is. Beyond that, his humble presence and matter-of-fact approach almost makes you forget that this is a legend-in-the-making onstage, completely owning his craft with world-class precision and accuracy. Wherever Jimmy Herring is playing within reasonable proximity, sign me up, I’m there.
After finishing the first set with a blistering “Papa’s Home”, Panic took a quick break then returned to absolutely tear the house down. Highlights were a plenty including an intensely energetic “Airplane > Aunt Avis, Fairies Wear Boots, Pigeons” segment as well as a “Chainsaw City” set closer that capped the evening with proper, raw authority. Panic wasn’t done yet though, and in true rock and roll fashion, they returned for a “Her Dance Needs No Body, New Speedway Boogie, Makes Sense to Me” triple encore that slowly picked up steam throughout. Delivering an authoritatively righteous ending to an incredible night of live music, the slammin’ final notes of “Makes Sense” had everyone ready to take on the world as we slipped into the Detroit evening afterwards. On the way out of the State Theater, many Spreadheads were in agreement… this was one for the books. Being their 25th year as a band, Panic has been through its share of emotional peaks and valleys. Through it all, they’ve survived, and if this evening was any indication of future offerings, their best work is yet to come.
Set 1: Old Neighborhood, Papa Legba, Wondering > Send Your Mind, Greta, You Got Yours, Angels on High, Hope In A Hopeless World, Cotton Was King, Papa's Home
Set 2: Heroes > Conrad, Pickin' Up The Pieces, Visiting Day, Airplane > Aunt Avis, Fairies Wear Boots, Pigeons, Don't Wanna Lose You, Chainsaw City
Encore: Her Dance Needs No Body, New Speedway Boogie, Makes Sense To Me
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