There is not much time left to see Widespread Panic in the year 2012. Though they began the year celebrating their 25th anniversary with a hiatus instead of a massive tour, they will be ending it with Widespread Panic tickets shows the last two nights of the year inCharlotte,North Carolina. With one show at the Fillmore and the other at Time Warner Cable Arena, more than a few thousand will have the opportunity to see one of the most celebrated jam rock and jazz fusion bands in the world.
Like many jam bands, the journey from the dingiest of bands to celebrated road warriors took a great while. A sparse discography would mean few charting singles, but an identity as road warriors eventually helped fill those dive bars and led to bigger and bigger venues and thousands more fans. Now they are included in the conversation with the Allman Brothers, the Grateful Dead, and Phish as one of the most enduring live acts of these times.
This is not the same Widespread Panic that took the stage in 1986. John Bell is the lead singer and guitarist,DaveSchoolis the bassist, Todd Nance is the drummer, Domingo Ortiz is the percussionist, JoJo Hermann is the keyboardist, and Jimmy Herring is the lead guitarist. Michael Houser, George McConnell, and T Lavitz have come and gone from the lineup. While McConnell and Lavitz left the group voluntarily, Houser passed away, leading to a dark period.
The last recorded release of any sort is theOmaha,Nebraska1997 concert. It had been re-mastered as a 2-track album and released on May 24, 2012. Obviously, the studio albums have been very few and far between as Widespread Panic embraced its identity as a touring sensation. The last full-length studio album was Dirty Side Down, a self-released album for the public’s consumption on May 25, 2010. Of course, anyone with Widespread Panic tickets is free to record the event with the band’s permission, so hard core fans have created dozens of their own live concerts.
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