Widespread Panic has been touring and recording their jam-fueled rock-n-roll for over 20 years. They suffered a tragedy with the death of founding member/guitarist, Michael Houser, in 2002; however, they continued touring and recording with George McConnell then Jimmy Herring taking the spot as lead guitarist. Panic fans have longed for archive live releases from shows featuring the original “Panic” members.
Now they have gotten Christmas early in the form of Carbondale 2000, the first release from Widespread Panic Archives and is a multi-track recording from a show at the Southern Illinois University Arena in Carbondale, Illinois on December 1, 2000. It captures a snapshot of a night where every member is firing from all directions creating that explosive spark that inspires fans to drive across country to see Widespread Panic. The first disc features Panic staples such as “Tall Boy” with blistering keyboard work by JoJo Hermann. On numbers like Rock, lead singer, John Bell, really showcases his soulful, gritty vocals. This set also features great covers and fan favorites, such as the bluesy number “Stop Breaking Down” and Hot Tuna’s “Genesis.” Michael Houser’s “lingering lead” shines on numbers like “Airplane,” and the band really connects on an epic cover of Traffic’s “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys.”
One of the important ingredients that make this release so special is the excellent sound quality of this hard to find Panic show. The third disc displays more incendiary interplay between the band members on “Maggot Brain” and “Papa’s Hom "which showcases the real MVP of the release, JoJo Hermann. This first release from the Widespread Panic Archives only leaves two questions to ponder: What will come next from Widespread Panic Archives and when will it be released? Until then this release will satisfy any Panic fan cravings.