You can look at a number of different periods between 1994 and 2001 as Widespread Panic’s best, but for our money 1996 was the Georgia-based band’s most consistent era. The year started off with a unique 20 show jaunt through ski towns in The Rockies dubbed Sit-n-Ski. Fifteen years later, the band has finally released a recording from that tour as Porch Songs: Jackson 1996 featuring every note from a pair of shows on February 6th and 7th at the Snow King Center in Jackson, Wyoming.
[Photo by Thomas G. Smith]
Soundboard recordings from a number of Sit-n-Ski performances have circulated for years, but neither Jackson show makes the rounds. Highlights from the February 6th concert include the first cover of Little Feat’s Down On The Farm in over 1,000 shows, a gorgeous Driving Song sandwich with a Heroes filling, just Houser and Sunny on Raise The Roof and the Goin’ Out West encore. The February 7th gig was all about JoJo laying into a solo version of The Beatles’ Yer Blues that remains the only version of that tune ever performed on a Widespread Panic stage, the first Four Cornered Room, plenty of instrumentals and a nice selection of covers including Thank You Falettinme Be Mice Elf Agin, Walk On and Maggot Brain.
While Widespread Panic archivist Horace Moore knew he wanted to put out a Sit-n-Ski show for the latest Porch Songs release, his blog entry for Porch Songs: Jackson 1996 explains that picking a specific performance and prepping it for release wasn’t exactly an easy process. You can purchase this edition of Porch Songs starting at Midnight.
In other Panic-related news, manager Buck Williams recently clarified what the band’s upcoming hiatus is all about in an interview with Mary Colurso of The Birmingham News…
Widespread Panic plans to go on hiatus after its 25th anniversary tour. “They’re not breaking up,” says the band’s manager and agent, Buck Williams. “They’re just taking a vacation, a well-deserved vacation. It’s good for their creative energy, good for their personal lives.”
Widespread Panic kicks off a celebration of 25 years together on Thursday and Friday at the Classic Center in Athens, GA. Both shows, as well as the February 14th performance in Atlanta will be simulcast.