Widespread Panic Explodes

Vic Theatre - Chicago

August 4, 1995

First Appeared in The Music Box, October 1995, Volume 2, #9

Written by John Metzger


Way back on August 4, Widespread Panic returned to Chicago's Vic Theater for two shows. I only caught the first one, but it was undoubtedly the best Panic show I have seen to date. Unfortunately, it seems as if the Vic is getting more and more crowded every time, despite the fact that each show is supposedly sold out.

The group hit their stride early on, opening the show with a tasty trio of Disco, Heroes, and Little Kin. Michael Houser's stellar guitar playing was perfectly complemented by the driving bass of Dave Schools, allowing the band to flawlessly float through the first set.

The second set hit a tremendous peak early that held up throughout the rest of the show. Space Wrangler was a welcome surprise that twisted, turned, and soared before effortlessly landing in a rousing version of No Sugar Tonight. This was a perfectly paired combination that sounded like they belonged together! Pickin' Up the Pieces offered us a chance to catch our breath and enjoy John Bell's soulful vocals.

The intensity grew again with an amazing, all-out jam with the Freddy Jones Band on Black-Out Blues and Walk on Gilded Splinters. This was one of those amazing musical moments that can only happen at a live concert. You couldn't stop your feet from moving, no matter how hard you tried or how tired you were; the set was just spectacular.

Panic treated us to a tasty double encore of the sweet Dream Song into a raucous version of Mr. Soul that provided a perfect ending to the evening. These guys just keep getting better and better!

If you have not yet caught Widespread Panic in concert, check them out while they are still playing intimate clubs like the Vic. It won't be long before they are popular enough to be forced into larger venues.

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Copyright 1995 The Music Box