Niagara Gazette

Night & Day

June 18, 2014

Happy with just half a Widespread Panic show

Niagara Gazette — Over the years, I have been to my share of concerts where Mother Nature stole the show. Last year’s Counting Crows show in Buffalo comes to mind, as does last year’s Blue Rodeo show at Artpark. Tuesday night’s Widespread Panic show will go down in my personal history as one of the strangest weather-related memories of all.

Fortunately, Widespread Panic is a band that loves to play music. Rather than the typical Tuesday program of the opener playing from around 6:30 to 7:15 p.m. or so followed by the headliner at 8 p.m., Widespread Panic hit the stage at 6:30 for a long opening set.

Musically, if you caught the set, which lasted approximately one hour and 20 minutes, you got your money’s worth.

I arrived at the venue around 5:45 p.m. and the sky was blue, but there was an ominous “calm before the storm” feeling in the air. When I asked the soundman for a copy of the set list, he showed me the first set, and then showed me the second set saying, “if we get that one in.”

The band started close to 6:30 p.m., when many fans were still strolling in. They opened with the instrumental “A of D” which set the stage for “Surprise Valley,” the evening’s second number.

I have not been to enough Widespread Panic shows to be able to judge if the band was having a good night, but I will say that I really enjoyed the atmosphere of the show. Widespread Panic fans are an interesting group, in a good way.

They reminded me of the people at Grateful Dead shows in the early 1980s, when they were still playing hockey arenas, not massive stadium shows. In short, the audience was very well behaved and seriously focused on the band.

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