Harkening back to 1996â€™s Sit and Ski tour, Widespread Panic bid farewell to fans this year prior to an 11-month hiatus with a four-city, 11-show, all-acoustic run dubbed The Wood Tour.
With Wood, the Athens, Georgia musicians relive the tour over two discs that boast selections from each of the shows. While there is pristine playing (â€œSt. Louisâ€), interesting arrangements (â€œBlightâ€), and even a few twists and turns (â€œThe Ballad of John and Yoko,â€ â€œSell, Sellâ€), what you wonâ€™t find here are surprises. For a band who have honed their craft on stage, off-the-cuff, and with a cannonballs care for new adventures, the double-album proves more of a souvenir for those in attendance and those unable to make the trip. It does little to further the legacy of the sextet, although it does little to harm it, either.
Widespread Panic have taken a well-deserved hiatus, and Wood is merely a placeholder awaiting their return. It is certainly enjoyable, but it truly begs for the bandâ€™s return to be amplified, electric, and primed for experimentation.
Wood is out now on Widespread Records.