Review by Spencer Pettine | Photos by Jimmy Grotting
Standing and waiting for a cab from the airport, a giant, unavoidable billboard summed up the weekend nicely. “Just the right amount of wrong”. Amid a casino floor highlighted by stripper poles surrounded by blackjack tables, the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel played host to two nights of Widespread Panic. With a capacity of 4,000, the Joint is a space large enough to provide the necessary critical mass of energy, but ideally sized for the light rig and the unavoidable thumping of Dave Schools’ Modulus.
Opening with “All Time Low” and “Little Lilly”, the band stretched its legs and found a comfort zone before loosening up with “Cotton Was King” and “Climb To Safety”. For this reviewer, there are Panic tunes in which the ears still try to hear Mikey’s lingering lead. Others, such as “Holden” and “Jack” have become new in a way that has embraced the driving momentum of Jimmy Herring and are two examples in which the current iteration stands alongside the original as equals.
As the Dirty Dozen Brass Band strutted on stage for a four song sit-in, the party kicked into full swing with a rocking “Weight Of The World” and lengthy “Bust It Big” in which the horns added an unexpected and welcomed layer of darkness and accent. “Use Me” started with the same drippingly cool bass line that has moved the party for four decades. Interestingly, the tempo cranked up to warp speed after 20 bars and stayed that way for the rest of the tune. For these ears, the speed was more conducive to the jammed out sections of the song than the versed.
The second set was highlighted by a “Hatfield” > “Ride Me High” > “Second Skin” > “Aunt Avis” > “Goin’ Out West” segue that flowed effortlessly and is a great example of a band that has returned fresh after some time off the road. In particular, “Second Skin” and a rocking’ “Goin’ Out West” had the band, lights, and crowd synced just perfectly for the room. An extended “Fishwater” split with a drums closed out the second set appropriately for the host city.
The night was just beginning for much of the crowd as JB howled the Robert Johnson classic “Me and the Devil Blues”, followed by Panic’s perennial favorite cover of the Talking Heads “Life During Wartime.” As the crowd spilled out of The Joint and into the casino, it was clear that this is a town capable of accepting a fired up Panic crowd with open arms.
Continue below for the setlist and photos from Jimmy Grotting.
SETLIST: Widespread Panic @ The Joint, Las Vegas, NV | FRIDAY, JULY 12TH, 2013
I: All Time Low, Little Lilly > Cotton Was King, Climb To Safety, Holden Oversoul > Jack, Weight of The World*, Bust It Big*, Use Me*, Tail Dragger*
II: Love Tractor > Imitation Leather Shoes, Hatfield > Ride Me High > Second Skin > Aunt Avis > Goin’ Out West, Greta > Fishwater > Drums > Fishwater
ENCORE: Me And The Devil Blues, Life During Wartime**
[* with Dirty Dozen Brass Band; ** with Carrot Top on percussion; Dirty Dozen Brass Band opened]