Widespread Panic Dusts Off Black Sabbath & Jimi Hendrix Covers At Red Rocks

Widespread Panic continued their Red Rocks run on Saturday. After delivering an all-original set the night previous, Panic dusted off songs from Black Sabbath and Jimi Hendrix during the cover-heavy second of three concerts at the iconic Colorado venue.

WSP got the show underway with the classic “Holden Oversoul.” The steady beat from Duane Trucks got the water-logged crowd moving as guitarist John Bell led the band through the song before they dropped into the funkier section laced with clav from keyboardist JoJo Hermann which also saw guitarist Jimmy Herring taking his first extended run. The band kept the crowd moving with “Ain’t Life Grand,” the funky rocker “Old Neighborhood” and the upbeat “Walkin’ (For Your Love).”

WSP then delivered one of their oldest covers, Sonny Boy Williamson’s “Good Morning Little School,” also covered by the Grateful Dead and others. The pairing of “Jaded Tourist” and “Impossible” came next ahead of standalone versions of “Blight,” “Tie Your Shoes,” and “Tall Boy” to close out the set.

JoJo kicked off the second set with a tasty bit of boogie-woogie unfused piano, dropping the band into the “Greta” bass line with his left hand. JoJo and JB led the singalong with bassist Dave Schools joining in as well along with a round of howling after the final “pack of rabid dogs” line. Herring did his fair share of singing on guitar as the band got into a delightfully dark jam that gave way to “Mercy” before JoJo ramped things back up again with “Big Wooly Mammoth.” A standalone cover of Booby Rush’s “Bowlegged Woman” followed before the sextet delivered a seamless section of “Driving Song,” JJ Cale’s “Ride Me High,” back into “Driving.”

Panic then busted out a rare cover of Black Sabbath’s “Sweet Leaf.” The 2021 Red Rocks play marked just the 16th time Panic has performed the Master Of Reality cut since debuting it on Halloween 1989, as per Everday Companion, with the lion’s share of the performances coming during Halloween shows or runs. The RR performance was only the third time the song has been played outside of October or November. Panic last played “Sweet Leaf” on October 22, 2016.

Another somewhat rare cover, War’s “Four Cornered Room,’ followed and led into yet another bust out, this time of Jimi Hendrix’s “Machine Gun,” last time played on June 30, 2016 with the RR ‘21 performance marking just the 6th time the band has played the riffy rocker since debuting it in 2014. “Conrad” would close out the second set. To kick off the encore, WSP delivered yet another rarity, Vic Chesnutt’s “Degenerate.” Vic sadly died in 2009 and the band has performed the song 16 times since debuting it in 2011. Panic would bring the evening to a close with “Papa’s Home.”

Watch pro-shot video of “Holden,” “Ain’t Life Grand” and “Greta” below via the JamBase Live Video Archive:

Setlist (via Everyday Companion)

Set One: Holden Oversoul, Ain’t Life Grand, Old Neighborhood, Walkin’ (For Your Love), Good Morning Little Schoolgirl, Jaded Tourist > Impossible, Blight, Tie Your Shoes, Tall Boy

Set Two: Greta, Mercy, Big Wooly Mammoth, Bowlegged Woman, Driving Song > Ride Me High > Driving Song, Sweet Leaf, Four Cornered Room > Machine Gun, Conrad

Encore: Degenerate, Papa’s Home

[Entire show with Edie Jackson, sign language interpreter]