Widespread Panic Fillmore January 24th 2012

WSP Wood Tour poster

I posted twice about this performance from the show, now I have more time for an in depth review from last night.  The Fillmore in Silver Spring only opened last September and none of their booked acts thus far peaked my interested.  In November it was confirmed that Widespread Panic would be taking a indefinite hiatus starting in 2012.  They would play their already book, and sold out, four nights in Puerto Morelos Mexico and limited engagements in Atlanta, Denver, Aspen, and Silver Spring.  I jumped all over the tickets when they went on sale in middle November.  It could possible be the last chance to see the band for a few years and it was going to be an all acoustic tour which sounded really cool.

The two shows at the Fillmore would kick the tour off and I decided to catch the first of the two shows.  As much as I wanted to see both nights, the high ticket price and distance from my house on a school night precluded me.  I left work at 6pm for an 8pm show time which Widespread is pretty good at keeping.  I knew that traffic would be a little rough, only once I got to the American Legion Bridge did things slow down.  I still managed to make it to the parking garage by 7:30, enough time to find a bit to eat and head into the show.

Just the lobby alone was impressive.  You are given a choice to go upstairs or into the club on the ground floor.  On either side of the floor there is a huge bar that has a good selection of bottle beers.  They do have drafts, but it was limited to only domestics, prices were “ok” at $7 for my bottle of Anchor Steam.  I was impressed they had it however so the price was worth it.  The upstairs has a VIP section with seats along either side of the balcony and on the second level opposite the stage is a tiered VIP section with tables.  Behind all the VIP sections there is space for general admission patron to stand.  You can’t see much of the stage from these spots, but there are tvs hanging from the ceiling that have a feed of the stage.  The live feed, with audio, is piped into a bar and lounge in the basement which is really cool.  The dance floor is made of wood and there are the signature Fillmore hanging chandeliers, four in all, next to a mirror ball.  All in all this is a really nice venue and I can’t wait to get back to the place.  Even the bathrooms are impressive.

jam on guys

As for the performance, it kicked ass.  I have seen acoustic songs before and been to quite venues like the Birchmere and Rams Head Tavern but this was completely different.  The song selection was good, each version was played in a mellow fashion to go along with the acoustic instruments.  John, Dave, and Jimmy all sat in chairs while they played.  One thing I noticed about Jimmy was he didn’t switch his guitar much, if at all.  I am use to seeing him get a new guitar every couple of songs, depending on what sound he is looking for that particular song.  All the band members seem to enjoy the night and really get into the acoustic vibe.

The audience was a typical WSP crowd, a little older and much more mature than some other acts I see.  There was of course lots of drinking, the floor after the show was covered in spilt beer and empty plastic cups.  All in all, they were respectful of the performance and really got into at times.  On several songs, because of the performances quite nature, the audience would sing along with John.  When I was dancing to the music at times I would look up at the balcony and see everyone grooving to the music.  It was also funny to see the audience at the start of each set whip out their cell phones to snap some photos.  Don’t think I am throwing stones, how do you think I got my shots from the night?  Just a funny observation from the night.

Getting home took about 70 minutes cutting through downtown DC.  Unfortunately I can’t make the performance tonight.  I do look forward to going back to the venue sooner rather than later.  I think it is a welcome addition to the live music scene here in Washington DC.  I just hope top caliber acts continue to go to the State Theatre, Birchmere, and 9:30 Club.

Set 1 (8:18pm start)
01. This Part Of Town >
02. Worry
03. Fishing
04. St. Louis >
05. Clinic Cynic >
06. Wondering
07. Free Somehow
08. Genesis >
09. Holden Oversoul
(9:12pm end)

Set 2 (9:55pm start)
01. From The Cradle
02. Can’t Get High
03. Gimme
04. Degenerate >
05. Pilgrims >
06. Travelin’ Man >
07. Saint Ex >
08. jam >
09. Driving Song >
10. jam >
11. Driving Song >
12. Breathing Slow >
13. City of Dreams
(10:56pm end)

encore: (11:00pm start)
14. None of Us Are Free
15. May Your Glass Be Filled
16. Walkin’ (For Your Love)

(11:16pm end)

Wood Tour
Last ‘Fishing’ – 11/29/08, 215 shows
Last ‘Free Somehow’ – 10/28/08, 225 shows

time to go home