Widespread Panic Holds on to Record of Sold Out Shows

Photo by Jackie Collins


Photo by Jackie Collins

For a lot of people, a Widespread Panic tour announcement is synonymous to plans to see Widespread Panic. Widespread fans flocked from all over the world, a tour involving three nights at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater, which Widespread Panic has sold out more than any other band, a remarkable 48 times.

2015’s three-night run kicked off on Friday, June 26.th for a night was exciting for many reasons. A musically unrelated one being that it shared the date with the Special Olympics Unified Relay Across America, which was lit and carried throughout the city in celebration of the 2015 World Games. The torch went through various areas of Denver throughout the day, starting in Parker and ending up at Red Rocks around 6:30. John Bell of Widespread Panic even took the microphone to say a few encouraging words. The four Colorado athletes that will be competing in the World Games in Los Angeles ran the torch with teams of up to 15 people. From here, the torch will hit Las Vegas and will then meet up with all of the other athletes in LA.

Photo by Jackie Collins

Promptly, at 7:30, the main event was ready to take on the full house of Red Rocks as they have seen so many times. To say the show began in a mellow way would be an understatement and the opening number Pilgrims doted on this vibe entirely. Each song would begin accompanied by roars and yelps as the groups of spreadnecks celebrated to the next song in the making.

The first set lasted for well over an hour, providing a soundtrack to a beautiful sunset over the rolling green hills behind the venue. Long strands of hair blanketed the shoulders of the musicians as they jammed covers of The Band like Ophelia, then Shape I’m In, which morphed its groove into Proving Ground.

After these jams, WSMFP really went for it with Chilly Water, to which the audience offered enthusiasm by throwing their own water from their water bottles up into the air. They then rounded out the first set with some solo action, and ended it all with North.

Photo by Jackie Collins

The set break lasted about a half an hour, and the boys were back out to get things moving again. Makes Sense to Me was the starting act, which flew through to Dyin’ Man, then to Conrad, then to Shut Up and Drive and Blight. An excellent Talk Heads cover of Life During Wartime made for an ecstatic crowd reaction. With help from CR Gruver of the New Orleans Suspects, they took that jam into It Ain’t No Use. The fans were then gifted a few solos from the percussion area, still including Gruver on the keys.

Rims and Whiskey, Walk on, and Ain’t Life Grand were the remaining songs to be played as the main set, and the spreadheads loved every moment of of them. The group took just a few moments backstage before returning for what was building up to be an epic encore.

Photo by Jackie Collins

The encore involved Cease Fire, which played into Jamais Vu, and Goin’ Out West. The house lights were on by 11:15, a confusing hour to end such a show to some, but no mouth uttered anything less than praise for the legendary performers. After all, most of the bodies walking out of the venue that night and one or two more nights to groove at. If this show was any indication of how those nights were going to work out, there was very little to complain about. That, along with new album Street Dogs nearing release, 2015 makes for a good year to be a fan of these jam band ‘warriors.’

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