red lights

Concert Livewire
basement tapes concert reviews cd reviews interviewsticket swap music news

Enjoy the journey

Widespread Panic
Riverside Theater
Milwaukee, WI
Oct. 9 & 10, 2010
Widespread Panic Widespread Panic Widespread Panic

Story by Early Coffee
Photos by Dave Vacula

Everyone who made it into the sold out Riverside Theater were very lucky to experience one of the tightest groups in the music industry today in Widespread Panic. The band consists of John Bell (guitar/vocals), Dave Schools (bass), Todd Nance (drums), Domingo Sunny Ortiz (percussions), John Jo-Jo Hermann (keyboards) and Jimmy Herring (guitars) and the boys all hail from the fertile musical grounds of Athens, Georgia. Their dedication, work ethic and meticulous craftsmanship are apparent in every song that they play live. No one person is more important than the other as each part equals the sum. They seem more connected as a family rather than merely a rock band. Their connections echo across the stage between jamming band members while interlocked in a instrumental bonanza of interplay - making it all look effortless. Widespread Panic's music has an uncanny ability to make it's audience stand up and dance. Peace and happiness flows from the main floor up to the second floor balcony.

WSP is among the leading touring bands in the U.S. selling out venues in record time. Widely renowned for their live performances, the band refuses to play the same show twice. It's this organic spontaneity that keeps the electricity hanging in the air all night long. The band is heavily promoting their new record Dirty Side Down while celebrating it's 25th anniversary. The band exalts and prides itself on the diverse musical influences of each band member. From southern rock, blues-rock, progressive rock, funk to hard rock genres. They throw it all into a blender on stage and create a surprising melange throughout their riveting set. You never know what is coming around the next corner or the next hanging note.

The dueling guitars of Jimmy Herring and John Bell were amazing in their structural nuances and free flowing beauty. "Proving Ground" and "Weak Brain, Narrow Mind" helped to showcase this nicely. The keyboards and percussion's rumbling downbeats warmed you completely through. School's pounding bass laid down the law at the get go, while Ortiz shaped the songs with his cowbell and conga flourishes. "Time Zones" led off beginning of the second set with authority. John Bell's soulful voice was thickly entrenched in some shadowy back bayou apparently not too far from "the crossroads" down south.

I highly recommend where Widespread allows any of their fans to record shows. "Wondering," "Traveling Man" and "Airplane" continued the journey in rousing fashion.

With encores of "Imitation Leather Shoes," "Up All Night," "Impossible" and "Heaven" to close out the first night and "Lets Get Down to Business," "Pigeons," "Cotton Was King," "Angels On High," "None of Us Are Free" along with "Waitin' for the Bus" and "Jesus Just Left Chicago" to close out the second night they painted their entire musical canvas with rich colors and organic tonalities.

Widespread Panic invites you to join their ride and more importantly to enjoy the journey.

Related articles:

Widespread Panic - Concert Review - Chicago, IL - Sept. 2009
Widespread Panic - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI November 2008
Widespread Panic - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI October 2007
Widespread Panic (Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival ) - Concert review - Manchester, TN June 2007
Widespread Panic (10,000 Lakes Festival) - Photo Gallery - Detroit Lakes, MN July 2005
Widespread Panic - Concert review - Milwaukee, WI April 2005

Widespread Panic Widespread Panic Widespread Panic

What Do You Think?



City & State:

e mail:

Here's Your Chance to.... Respond!

Your feedback will be featured on
Rant or Rave within 24 hours.

Return to Reviews
Return to Menu