Widespread Panic Grips Vic Theater

July 14, 1994

First Appeared in The Music Box, August 1994, Volume 1, #3

Written by John Metzger


Widespread Panic put on yet another excellent show at the Vic Theater on July 14. The band was originally scheduled to play the new Skyline Stage at Navy Pier but the venue was changed at the last moment for technical reasons, which may have involved a later curfew.

Panic blasted through 16 songs over the course of the 2 hour show, and provided a very different set list from their performance at the Vic back in March. Highlights from the concert include a jazzy, relaxed version of Pickin' up the Pieces, which features the lyrics "Sweatin' Out My Worries." This got quite a cheer from the crowd in the oppressive heat of the Vic Theater.

Although every song was very well played, Panic seemed to hit their peak with a soulful version of Papa's Home which made excellent transitions from the slow bluesy verses to the funky jazz/blues of the chorus. This was led primarily by drummer Todd Nance and percussionist Domingo Ortiz as the song drifted off into one killer drum solo. The percussion piece drifted back into a quick ending to the tune before leading the band into a raucous version of Henry Parsons Died, which was actually teased prior to Papa's Home. The band closed out the set with yet another excellent version of Chilly Water, although this version was not quite up to par with the one performed here in March.

Panic has a new album due out in September, and if the new songs they have been playing are any indication, it should be very good. Hopefully it will sell well for them, unlike the last year's excellent outing Everyday.

Aquarium Rescue Unit (sans Colonel Bruce) opened the show with a long (1 1/2 hour) set. Unfortunately the set was lacking in spirit and emotion. Some songs had potential, entering into some nice jazz and blues jams, but as soon as things began to get going for the band, they seemed to slip away just out of reach.

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Copyright 1994 The Music Box