Widespread Panic Smash Their Tour in Vegas Over Halloween Weekend

art by AJ Masthay
art by AJ Masthay

Widespread Panic Smash Their Tour in Vegas Over Halloween Weekend

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Source: Flickr

Leading up to Halloween,  Widespread Panic played gigs for three consecutive nights in Las Vegas. On each night, the Southern rock band played two sets, and on each night they gave fans completely different experiences. They are well-known for their live performances and have been touring practically since they formed in 1983.

Las Vegas is well-known for the gaming scene; though it now faces rivalry from Macau where the casino industry now generates around three times more than the Vegas Strip. Still, Vegas is and forever will be the entertainment capital of America with amazing live music and grand shows. Widespread Panic’s gigs at the Park Theatre at Monte Carlo Casino fit right into the Vegas nightlife.

On Friday, October 27, Widespread Panic kicked things off with a captivating rendition of David Bowie’s “Heroes,” a nod perhaps to all those who have helped in the recent tragedies. They then proceeded to pick up the energy, bouncing into “Love Tractor” and “Tall Boy” to get the crowd pumped. Fans were treated with a rare performance of “The Last Straw” as well as a perfect “Holden Oversoul” to round the set out with a bang.

From the YouTube channel of freakflagflyer

The second set started off with “All Time Low”, a song about a bettor with nothing left to lose. The evocative opening was followed by Widespread Panic’s unique mash-up of “Papa’s Home” and “Surprise Valley”. The anti-consumerist message of “North” seemed to go over well with the audience (though the irony mustn’t escape those who came to Vegas to spend big!), but the real big treat of the second set came with Widespread Panic’s encore delivery of “Ace of Spades” by Motorhead.

Saturday night had a totally different feel as Saturday was ladies’ night, and Widespread Panic took the opportunity to perform just about every song in their repertoire about the ladies. They pitched their chivalrous set perfectly with improvised jamming and covers mixing up the vibes between songs like “Greta,” “Little Lilly,” “Arleen,” and “Ophelia.” Widespread Panic closed the set with “Ain’t Life Grand,” leaving a smile on the faces in the audience.

The second set was equally energetic, and featured awesome covers of the Rolling Stones’ “Can’t Always Get What You Want” and Lou Reed’s “Take a Walk on The Wild Side.” A cheeky encore saw Widespread Panic play “End of The Show” by Bloodkin, and then actually ending the show with a sexually-charged performance of “Bowlegged Woman.”

As if the creative medley had not been pushed far enough, Widespread Panic took the opportunity to blow even more minds on the Sunday of their three-day Halloween special. The last stop on their Vegas tour saw the group run out onto the stage dressed up like different versions of Hunter S. Thompson, the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Well, apart from John Bell, who was dressed as “The Dude” from The Big Lebowski complete with a T-shirt saying “wrong movie.”

From the YouTube channel of coloartist

It wasn’t just the costumes and themes that were mind-blowing. Musically, this was a night to remember. Widespread Panic played their only covers of “Home on The Range” (three versions to be exact!), “Magic Carpet Ride” and “Rumble,” as well as their first performance of “Don’t Tell the Band” since 2002, some 1,046 shows ago! It was an unforgettable ending to a spectacular trio of gigs. Widespread Panic’s next shows will span three nights on New Year’s in Atlanta.

To submit a story or to just say hello, email us at lmnandr@gmail.com

Check out the Live Music News and Review.com Facebook page for updates and announcements.