Widespread Panic returned to familiar stomping grounds in New Orleans to kick off a 3 night run of shows. The first of which being on Halloween, a holiday that is celebrated by not only children, but fans and the band as well. Past Halloween performances have become well known for their cover songs and the band’s outlandish costumes, some of which have entered the halls of legend. Though expectations were high, the 2013 Halloween show had the crowd buzzing with anticipation and eager to see what tricks and treats the band had in store for them.
Taking the stage in elaborate costumes,such as Spock (Star Trek), Phil Robertson (Duck Dynasty), Kenny Powers (East Bound and Down), Zombie (The Walking Dead), Grocery Boy, and King Tut, Widespread nodded to the uproarious cheers of the concert goers and began the evening’s festivities. Even from the first notes of “Drinking Muddy Water”, a first time played Yardbirds tune, it was evident that they had their act together and came to get down. Throughout the first set, the momentum never wavered. Songs like “Coconuts”, ” Impossible” and “Bowlegged Woman” stirred the energetic crowd into a frenzy. The show contained multiple highlights, but in the first set there was clearly a tribute for the late great J.J. Cale. The band played, “Devil in Disguise” and the epic crowd pleaser “Cocaine” in homage of the recently departed legend with a vigor that only indicated that there was plenty more on the horizon.
Following the set break, the band wasted no time as keyboardist JoJo Herman was resurrected from a coffin dressed as “Liberace” as they busted into War’s “Spill the Wine”. The entire crowd was tricked as a crew member took on his prior appearance of Kenny Powers in his place at the keyboards. It was soon after that the band’s love for New Orleans began to ooze into the set list with a number of Crescent City classics. Muddy Water’s “I Got My Mojo Working” truly brought a Cajun feel to evening that was further added to with a massive version of the Widespread original, “Fishwater” and Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Help Me.” It was a mind altering power packed series of performances that gave the night a truly special flavor. Panic even took it so far as to cover, “Ace of Spades,” by Motorhead , not once but twice. The raucous metal song left the crowd mildly bruised and perhaps for a moment, partially deaf. Just before the encore, eluding to the Ace of Spades cover song, singer and vocalist John Bell uttered “That was an encore, these are just additional songs”. The crowd was in high spirits and in full dress as the show ended with three huge tunes, “All Time Low > Suprise Valley > Cream Puff War.” Stunned fans filed out as if a freight train had just blasted through their minds, shattering their minds and leaving them wanting more!