The Major saw Widespread Panic on Saturday night. The concert took place at the Park Theater in the Monte Carlo casino. It’s a beautiful arena, perfectly situated next to the T-Mobile Center and the Strip.

For many years, Widespread Panic has been on my radar.  I like the Grateful Dead (saw them many times) and WP operates in that same milieu: i.e. the “jam” band. So I finally got around to checking them out.

Here was my impression of the show:

The Positives: Instrumentation, Performance and Atmosphere

In terms of sound, Widespread Panic is great. The instruments have a wonderful tone: great bass, guitars, drums, etc. Long story short, they rock. The volume was loud but not too loud. Everybody was dancing at it was a fun time. Positive energy was dominant throughout the night.

DS
Widespread Panic has a great live sound. They can jam with the best of ’em!

The Negatives: Lyrics and Vocals

Lyrically, the band is average at best. They have no soaring melodies, no catchy hooks, etc. And the singer (John Bell) does not enunciate. When a singer is not proud of his lyrics, then he’s not going to belt them out. That situation applies to John Bell. His vocal tone is also average. It’s ok, but not very unique or compelling.

JB
John Bell: A good rhythm player, but he’s a mediocre lyricist and singer.

Summary

If you’re looking for a good time, Widespread Panic will get the job done. You’ll find a festive show and you’ll dance the night away. But don’t be surprised if, after the concert, something feels missing. You won’t be whistling their songs or singing their lyrics.

In short, great musicians….mediocre songwriters.

See Related Article: On the Greatness of John Fogerty

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