What: Concert Review
Who: Widespread Panic
Where: Landmark Theater
When: Thursday, November 14, 2013
Last night, Georgia based jam band Widespread Panic jam packed the Landmark Theater in Syracuse, NY for a near sold out show. Coming to the city for the first time in 12 years, the band didn’t mess around. They performed a special performance lasting at least 3 hours and proved they are a force not to be reckoned with. Everything about the concert was spectacular, and WP are worth seeing by all fans to those seeking dance friendly and long strung out jammed tunes.
The Athens, Georgia based rock band have released a total of ten studio albums. Listening to them live, one notices that the group has a true unique sound in the jam band genre. While certainly not radio friendly, the group is known for their live shows and have sold out concerts and venues for many years since their formation in 1986. The band regularly headlines Bonnaroo Music Festival every other year and after seeing them perform live, one can see how this festival enjoys them so much. The concert in Syracuse was one of the better ones that came to the area this year, and the crowd was completely into the band, swaying and dancing to every one of their tunes. Surprisingly, the guys in the crowd did most of the dancing carrying the girls and were great entertainment just to watch. The crowd was a mixture of both older rock fans, some in their fifties or older, and newer ones. Indeed, many people in the crowd mentioned this was their first Widespread Panic experience. They were in for a treat!
The historical Landmark Theatre itself is an absolute beautiful venue to see a concert at, despite it can be too loud for such shows. However, despite this, the combination of the venue and Widespread Panic being there Thursday night equaled to an amazing concert and performance. The band played for nearly 3 in a half hours (with around a 30 minute break in between sets). The sound was simply excellent. You could hear each musician play their instruments perfectly as well as the lead vocals. The light show was spectacular as well as lasers shot off into the crowd throughout the night. In particular, the images the band provided on stage on their giant circular wheel behind them were simply incredible. Down to earth images changed as the band continued to play through the evening. It was truly a sight to see.
The musicians themselves of Widespread Panic know how to rock and jam. The guitar stand offs between lead singer John Bell and the group’s lead guitarist were a stand out for the night. The two musicians played against each other for what looked like effortless hour after hour. It was almost tiring to watch them as they continued to strum their guitars until the concert’s end. Each member of the band had their own moments to shine, yet lead keyboardist JoJo Herman was also a dominant force of the night. The guy hammered away on the keyboards and provided his own solos and jammed that rang in perfectly together with the rest of the music. Keyboard is an essential musical instrument for any rock band, and Widespread Panic have utilized it so has become perfectly in sync to the other members of the band while at the same time able to stand out and provide uniqueness of its own. One of the best moments of the night came when the two lead drummers began their own solos which included a five minute bongo jam that lifted everyone up off their feet at the Landmark and more dancing. Even base player David Schools proved to the crowd he’s an amazing base player who knows the instrument well, rocking and jamming together with the other members of the band throughout the night.
The only downsides of the concert being it extremely loud, of course this can’t be helped since it was held in an old theater where the music greatly bounces off of the walls and back into the crowd. Another thing is while 3 in a half hours long is exceptional, sometimes that can be a little too long. It did help their was a 30 minute break in between sets, but by the end of the show, one can tell some members of the audience were getting worn out as they began to sit down. Other than these minor setbacks, the concert was a great one.
The concert at the Landmark theater was spectacular last night. All members of Widespred Panic gave it their all. It was a unique experience and many first timers in the crowd loved the show while listening to their comments afterwards. “Hopefully it won’t be another 12 years before were back,” lead singer John Bell proclaimed to the crowd before jamming one or two more songs during the encore. Hopefully the band will come back soon as they by far gained many new fans last night in Syracuse, NY that will be seeing them again sometime in the near future.
A- or 4 out of 4 stars ****
A- or 4 out of 4 stars ****