Widespread Panic Looks to Omaha on New Porch Songs Release
Widespread Panic will revisit their July 1, 1997 performance as part of their new two-track Porch Songs series. The show—which took place at Omaha, NE’s Ranch Bowl—is now available online.
As of the show’s selection, the band explains:
1997 brought us some stellar shows from all corners of the United States…Washington to Florida to Maine to California…but that’s not all… as 1997 now brings us the 10th Porch Song release…with the Ranch Bowl in Omaha, Nebraska on July 1, 1997. Coming off an amazing spring tour, the boys were in gear and ready to blaze their way across the summer. Right in the middle of the country in the middle of the year, we find ourselves hanging out in a sandbox in an Omaha venue that no longer exists.
Held on a sand volleyball court, this Ranch Bowl experience begins with everyone aboard for the Galleon opener and ready for the first of many seamless segues…with the band taking us right on into Do What You Like and then Better Off. Toward the end of this opening set, we get the obviously appropriate Sandbox followed by a great Just Kissed My Baby. Loaded with inspirational playing and vocals, this first set was certainly a precursor of more good things to come.
Leading off the second set, we get all into it right of the bat with a Dirty Business that was just that. After finding their spot into Ain’t Life Grand…from L.a. on, the boys find magical ways to tie the loose ends together and move as one til the end of the set. Along the way, we find jams from Tall Boy into Aunt Avis and then into Tie Your Shoes that really hit a high mark before the band effortlessly slips into the first ever instrumental Bear’s Gone Fishing. Coming out of the drums finds everyone content to just jump into the middle of the river…if there was only one to jump into! After two incendiary sets, the “fairly rare by then” encore, Feelin’ Alright caps off a perfect night of Panic in the heartland.
Keep in mind that when listening to these Porch Song releases, what you’re really hearing is a recording of what came through the house speakers the night of the show…so there is no post-show engineering opportunity to dial in each instrument and vocal to perfection as there is with the Widespread Panic Multitrack Releases. What you’ll also find on these Porch Song recordings is the occasional digital noise or static resulting from the onstage recording process and/or the ravages of tape degradation. In this 10th release, we’re stuck with a small spot or two in Sandbox and Tallboy, but as always, we’ve preserved what we could, doctored up what we’ve been able to…and, in this ongoing process, refuse to let a random blemish prevent the spreading of this amazing music. So, sit back, settle in and let this band take you on another incredible journey.
This is the second time Panic has released a 1997 show in recent months. In December, the group dug out History Lesson New Year’s Eve 1997, which documents their December 31 performance, as part of their multi-track Widespread Panic Archives series.