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Story and photos by Matt SchwenkeWith a group of their dedicated fans setting up camp in a nearby parking lot, Widespread Panic came to downtown Milwaukee for two, sold-out nights at the Riverside Theatre, and while the band isn't touring in support of a new release, Widespread Panic recently released a preview for their upcoming 10th studio album and their 2007 tour features the return of guitarist Jimmy Herring (who has toured with The Allman Brothers Band, Phil & Friends and The Dead, and joined the band on their Fall 2006 tour).
Offering two nights with completely different setlists, the second night began with the bouncy step of "Who Do You Belong To?" followed by a rollicking "Action Man," which featured deep guitar grooves around frontman John Bell's gravely and sometimes haunting voice. The boot-stomping "Smoking Factory" lit up the crowd with the snappy keys of John "JoJo" Hermann, and while a few songs went well beyond the 10-minute mark, the band remained rather direct in the first set with the sinewy "You Got Yours" and the driving "North" keeping the momentum going strong into intermission.
The second set started with "Conrad the Caterpillar" rocking the crowd right back to where they left off, and as the night wore on, the jams reached their longest lengths and most exciting heights with Herring and bassist Dave Schools laying down a calculated attack in a 16-minute-plus version of "Second Skin." Ending the set with "Ain't Life Grand," the band returned to deliver concise versions of "Down," "Stag-O-Lee" and "Postcard," which showcased the band's time-tested songwriting ability, rather than just their jam chops (which are still quite meaty).
|Widespread Panic Setlist 10/20/07:|
Who Do You Belong To?
You Got Yours
Me and the Devil Blues
I'm Not Alone
Ain't Life Grand
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