Tag Archives: Charlottesville

Widespread Panic@Charlottesville Pavilion

Widespread Panic Charlottesville Pavilion September 18th 2010

Widespread Panic sticker
Widespread Panic

For years I have attempted to see Widespread Panic play.  Being a jam band fan I have of course heard their music every where, they are on XM’s JamOn a lot and play major music festivals each year.  As I have gotten older it has become more difficult to attend the festivals Widespread play at, actually I can’t remember the last one I went to that was not jazz.  Throw on top of that tighter finances and a busy social life, I just have not been able to make it.  It is unfortunate because they usually swing by the DC area at least once per tour.  In fact during their spring tour earlier this year they played two shows at the Warner Theatre which I desperately wanted to attend.

This time around I was determined to make it out to a show.  When the late summer/early fall schedule was announced the second stop on the tour was in Charlottesville on a Saturday.  Check for being close, double check for being on a Saturday!  I would have seen them in Baltimore on Sunday, but I didn’t want to drive back late on a Sunday night.  I purchased my ticket online and waited with anticipation as the performance neared.

The beauty of a Saturday show is I have all day to bum around doing what ever the hell I wanted.  I choose to hike the Southern Shenandoah National Park, I have never made it that far down the in the park.  Looking at a trail map and reading a few descriptions I decided on the Riprap Trail.  There are two overlooks and further down the trail a large pool to go swimming.  I hiked a good portion of the trail in fact, you can read more about my excursion on another post.  After 9 miles of hiking I still managed to have plenty of time to enjoy the historic downtown area which was cool, there are a ton of boutique shops and restaurants lining the street.  I look forward to going back for another show and spending more time there.

By the time I made it to the pavilion it was almost time for the show to start.  First thing I noticed was the audience, a very different crowd that I am use to.  Everyone was very mellow and friendly with an average age slightly older than myself which was nice for once.  On the way into the venue there was even a small shakedown street on a bridge, kinda looked like a yard sale.  Several people had small tables peddling their wares to the enthusiastic crowd.

Charlottesville Pavilion
Charlottesville Pavilion

With not much time to spare I headed down to the pit area to secure a good viewing spot.  As I looked around the pavilion has changed substantially since the last time I was here, way back in 2005 for the first ever performance featuring Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe.  The canopy now covers the entire seating area which for this show, and the KDTU in fact, was completely devoid of chairs to maximize the allowable audience.  They also added what looked like giant white blankets hung from the roof.  I assume they there to reduce the noise outside the venue, same reason I assume they have extended the canopy cover as well.  Let me tell you though, it made for quite an interesting light show that night.  The lights from the stage would bounce off the white ceiling and it just lit up the entire place.  Never once was it dark during the show.  It certainly made walking by people easy, but also made it hard for people to smoke.  Everyone huddled together close to the stage.  It reminded me of a school of fish being surrounded by hungry tuna, just looking to pick off the low hanging fruit.

I was very impressed with the selection of songs played that night.  For not having seen them before and having only a few live concerts, I actually recognized several of the songs and thought the performance was spectacular.  Jimmy Herring would thrash on guitar for his solos and I was just blown away.  The sound system was so loud all I could hear was his guitar drowning out everyone else.  Judging by the crowds reaction, each song was hit with the crowd.  The band would play the first few notes I would see everyone around start to smile and dance, then sing along for most of the words.

Eventually I couldn’t take the crush of the people and finished the second set in the back of the pavilion where there was much more room.  I finally had some breath room and enough space to dance my ass off.  A guy even came up to me after Fixin’ To Die and complimented me on my dance skills, did I mention it was a very friendly crowd that night?  When the show finally ended I was exhausted and had to sit down for a few minutes while the venue cleared out.  I simply sat there in amazement at the performance I just watch as the jovial crowd streamed out into the cool night.  I was hoping to get a bit to eat at one of the restaurants but for some reason they were all closed.  Upon further inspection most closed at 9 or 10pm, on a Saturday!  I couldn’t believe it.

Disappointed I headed to my truck for the two hour drive home.  I don’t know how I did it, but I made it home exhausted.  I can’t wait to catch another show when Widespread rolls through town.  I don’t think I would follow them like I do Phish, but I could use another WSP fix real soon.

Phish John Paul Jones Arena December 5th 2009

copyright: UVA
copyright: UVA

The very weekend after I got back from Panama, I was traveling again. Staying home and getting things done around the house would have been nice, but I had a concert to see. Heck I needed to unpack my suite case and do a mound of laundry. But that didn’t matter, Phish was on their winter tour. Every time they tour I try to catch as many shows as possible. For winter the closest show to my house, and the tour closer, was happening at John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville. I have seen several tour closers by Phish and they are always good, in fact this past summer I saw the summer closer in Saratoga Springs and it was fantastic.

The night before was spent at Nancy’s house so it would be a slightly longer drive to get to the stadium. I was giving myself what I thought was plenty of time because of the pretty heavy snow all morning long. When I actually left Nancy’s house there were a couple inches on the road already and very slow going to my house. Once at my house I got a few things done and headed out about 4 hours before the show for what is normally a 2 hour drive. Leaving from my house I cut through the state on a route I have never taken. The whole time I was driving it was snowing, thankfully it got lighter the further south I got, but that didn’t make traffic any easier.

After getting lost in Charlottesville, I was coming from a different direction than normally, I found the arena and it was smashed. Fans littered the streets and where slowly filtering in past security. Some hard core people where tailgating, I just wanted to find a place to park and get to my seat. I skipped the $20 cash lot next to the stadium and instead parked in a garage right next door for half price.

snowy_road, creative commons
it snowed most of the way to Charlottesville

When I got through security and to my seat it was about 7:30pm so I could relax for a few minutes before the show started. My seat was stage right, almost parallel to the band. Not the best seat in the house, but it was a different view, allowed me to get a good view of the arena. My seat was the first row behind handicap seating which was nice. If my ankle started to bother me I could always sit down and still see.

When the show started the set started off pretty good with a few standards and Stealing Time from their new album. When Ya Mar started I quickly looked down at my iPod to scribble the song tittle. (As an aside, I remember writing set lists by hand many years ago.) All of a sudden I hear the crowd start to cheer, nothing to unusual, but it only gets louder. When I look up to my surprise I see a naked guy running around the stage. First time I have seen someone rush the stage at a Phish show. The crowd loved it and the band didn’t seem to phased by the act. All through the night they made references to the naked guy.

Other set 1 highlights included Divided Sky (because of the snow) with a super long break in the middle. Trey is just looking around the arena and the crowd volume went up and down, building to a crescendo when they finally started the song back up again. A good bluesy version of Sneakin’, something I don’t think I have heard since my first show over 10 years ago at Merriweather. Cavern, David Bowie with a mighty jam, and the Wedge were all great versions. I thought the closers of Bold as Love was lame. I hate it when they close a set with slow and melancholy songs. Set closers should be upbeat, leaving the audience wanting more.

Intermission was a time to rest and get off my ankle. I was standing for the entire first set and I could use the break. As the crowd around me thinned out I also spread out some. I always look around at every show during the set break. You see nothing but tired, yet happy people milling around. They might be headed to the restroom, talking with friends, smoking, what ever. But they all have smiles on their faces and are just having a great time.

Set two was much more of a jam session with the first four songs flowing one after another. Tweezer was a great start and jammed for a long time. When it lead into Light I could tell the song changed, but I didn’t know what it was. The guy next to me provided the song title. We actually traded songs a few times, he was really good with the new stuff and I was nailing the old stuff. Near the end of Light the jam turned very dark and cosmic. It just blew my mind away, especially with the transition into Piper, I was floored. The guy next to me also caught the transition too and we both agreed it was stellar.

Once you build it you must sometimes destroy what you love and start all over. That’s what I thought of Sweet Virginia. Yeah it was great to have a song reference the state, but I thought it completely killed the mood by slowing things down. Moving on. Harry Hood had a pretty decent glow stick war and Golgi was good but way to short. By the end of the show Antelope was a great choice. When they eventually walked off the stage the crowd went nuts. After what seemed like an eternity they came back for Loving Cup (bah) and a Tweezer Reprise (no surprise there). All things considered it was a very memorable night, lest of all because of the naked guy.

I was not planning on staying the night in Charlottesville so that meant a 3 hour drive home. Because of the snow on the way down I decided to stick to the highways. Longer distance but safety out weighted the extra time I would spend driving. Bleary eyed, I arrived home well after 3am and went straight to bed with visions of naked woman dancing on stage.

Set 1: 7:58pm start
01. AC/DC Bag
02. Chalk Dust Torture
03. Stealing Time from the Faulty Plan
04. The Divided Sky
05. Ya Mar
06. Sneakin’ Sally Through the Alley
07. The Old Home Place
08. Cavern
09. Funky Bitch
10. David Bowie
11. The Wedge
12. Bold as Love

set 1 ends at 9:24pm

Set 2: 10:00pm start
01. Tweezer >
02. Light >
03. Piper >
04. Free
05. Sweet Virginia
06. Harry Hood >
07. Suzy Greenberg
08. Golgi Apparatus
09. Run Like an Antelope

set 2 ends at 11:18pm

encore: 11:20 start
10. Loving Cup >
11. Tweezer Reprise

show ends at 11:31pm

Notes:
• At the start of Ya Mar, a naked guy jumped onstage and ran around for a bit before being rounded up by security, prompting Trey to observe that “Naked Guy’s” antics “took a lot of balls.” During Ya Mar, Mike changed the lyrics to “he was a naked pa.”
• Sneakin’ Sally contained a vocal jam.
• Trey sang the verses to Light out of order.
• The sound for Mike’s bass dropped out during Golgi leading Trey to label it the “trio version.”
• During the ensuing Antelope, Mike took a bass solo to make up for the bass everyone missed in Golgi.
• Antelope also contained several lyric changes referencing the naked stage crasher.