Sunday Worship Service with JB and the Gospel Truth ChoirWidespread Panic, Philly, Sept 11, 2016
JamBandPurist here, along for another Widespread Panic rollercoaster ride, with my good buddies; in the city of Brotherly Love for Sunday Church Service.
Set One: WSP delved into a plethora of lesser-known songs from their catalog; some, I had possibly never heard live. From the parking lot scene, it seemed that there was a small number of people going to the show. I saw more people go for balloons than posters but so is the way of Philly. The entire Mann Center didn’t even seem halfway filled up until the second set.
The set itself was lackluster, if not lackadaisical in nature. It was slow, melodic but full of improvisational moments that kept the songs somewhat fresh. Although, Widespread did stick to the songs original criteria, they tried some new avenues to get them from song to song.
Highlights of the set included: “Big Wooly Mammoth,” which provided a swampy, southern, country atmosphere, with Jimmy pickin’ on the notes like some Texas Swing hillbilly. JB seemed to take the lead on solos for a few songs. Let JB Solo! The first set could have put me to sleep like the guy in front of me but it was still interesting to see a different side of the band, a more reserved and heartfelt sound. Also, “For What Its Worth” is always welcomed, but this was the slowest one I had ever heard. The boys seemed tired and played like a well-oiled Airplane that never made it off the ground.
This was much like a Sunday church service. Live music has always reminded me of worshipping, but I have never been comfortable with religion. Concerts and music festivals are the closest I can get to this ritualistic occasion; So, I praised and sang to the Jam Gods for a more rousing second set.
1: Walk On, Makes Sense To Me, This Part Of Town, Glory, Visiting Day, Old Neighborhood, The Last Straw > Big Wooly Mammoth > For What It's Worth
Set Two: Started off as slow as the first but I could feel a definite change in the bands attitude and the pace seemed to pick up as the song went along. By the time they got to a Jazzy and ethereal “Blight,” they had began the accent into the high jam and Jimmy Herring took over, really letting the crowd in, as he played scales unknown to most humans. He played so many Minor/Hungarian scaled notes that he must have transformed into a reptile. “Impossible,” kicked up the atmosphere in the Mann Center, but for some reason the entire first verse was left out. There was no, “Warm chair where the car has been!” There was an added piano lick by Jojo that was awfully reminiscent of “The Nutcracker Suite.” The long drum solo included special sit in percussionists: Richie Nagin on shaker (from P-Funk), Sikiru Adepoju on talking drum.
The song “Saint X” is one of my favorite introspective and slower songs by WSP. The lyrics ands strong chord structure delivers the message of the song through powerful means. “Proving Ground” proved to be just that. This songs ending was like none I had ever seen before. WSP took on a new form that materialized in front of us all. Like a phoenix rising from the ashes of some lost plane of jam-existance, they soared to the top of a crescendo and let us loose with a high frequency jam that led into a blood-pumping, “Action Man.”
All and all, the show was fun, different and sort of like a memorial to 911,( in some far off and very distant way.) I respect the bands need for a little downtime and as a long time Panic fan, I understand that not every show can be off the charts. This one was on the chart, if not a little below, but with my good friends by my side, I wouldn’t have changed a thing. Thanks for another round.
2: A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall, You Should Be Glad, It Ain't No Use > Blight, Impossible > Drums* > Saint Ex, Proving Ground, Action E: May Your Glass Be Filled, Postcard
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