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Published: 2009/11/02

From The Band to Nirvana with Widespread Panic

JB as van Gogh, photo by Craig Taraszki

Widespread Panic spent the first part of Halloween Weekend at Austin, TX’s Austin Music Hall. The band opened its first set Friday with a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Lawyers, Guns, And Money” and later paid tribute to Jerry Garcia with “Cream Puff War.” The real cover highlight, though, was a three-song encore consisting of The Band tunes “Chest Fever,” “Ophelia” and “The Shape I’m In”—the latter of which the group had not played since September 30, 1995.

Photo by Craig Taraszki

Panic returned to the venue Saturday night for a Halloween performance that, keeping with the band’s tradition, included a number of rare covers. All six members of the band also wore Halloween costumes: Sunny Ortiz dressed as a skeleton, Todd Nance saluted breast cancer awareness, JoJo Hermann was the Pope, John Bell played Vincent Van Gogh and both Dave Schools and Jimmy Herring were cowboys. The band opened with it only version of ZZ Top’s “Waitin’ for the Bus” and later rolled out first time covers of Nirvana’s “Come as Your Are,” The Meat Puppet’s “Lake of Fire” and Leon Russell’s “The Masquerade.” In addition, the band offered an appropriate version of “Vampire Blues,” a tale on “Gimme” that teased the Beatles’ “Norwegian Wood” teases the first “Red Beans” in over a year.

Photo by Craig Taraszki

Then on Sunday it was off to New Orleans for an extended set at the Voodoo Experience. Panic opened with a run from “Thought Sausage” into “Junior” and then delivered a seventeen song performance. The set included a fitting take on Dr. John’s “I Walk On Guilded Splinters” (only the second time Panic has performed the song this year) as well as an extended run from “Driving Song” into “Diner” into “Pilgrims” and back into “Driving Song.” The band is off until a show on Wednesday at the Dodge Theatre in Phoenix.

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