Widespread Panic plays energetic show at Coliseum
Published: Sunday, September 19, 2010
Updated: Sunday, September 19, 2010 22:09
Widespread Panic, a jam band that got its start in the '80s, performed for an enthusiastic crowd at the West Virginia University Coliseum Friday night.
In the opening performance, Daniel Hutchens warmed up the crowd with his set.
The audience responded positively, enjoying everything he had to offer. After a solid set from Hutchens, the floor section was flooded with Panic fans.
Seeing how Widespread Panic mixes up its set list each performance, the anticipation of the crowd was high. Although the lineup was unexpected, there was one thing known by every fan in the Coliseum – with Widespread Panic playing, it was going to be a show to remember.
"This is a fall tour opener, so they'll definitely set the tone tonight," said Amy Sellers, a lifelong fan of Widespread Panic.
"The Panic are ‘ragers' from way back," said Cole Mullett. "It's going to be a crazy show for sure."
Starting out with just a vocalist and a guitarist, it took time for this band to grow into what they are today.
After a few years, pieces of the puzzle started coming together, and by the time the '90s arrived, the puzzle of Panic was complete.
Creating albums and touring the countryside in no time, Panic gained a following not unlike that of its elders Grateful Dead.
With a grassroots style, the fans of Panic feel more like a thriving part of the group rather than just run-of-the mill fans.
Rachel Hagy, who drove three and a half hours from Bluefield for Panic's concert, agreed.
"These concerts are nothing like regular ones. It's more of a lifestyle," Hagy said.
Hagy said she is "lastingly committed" to the Panic.
Seeing more than 60 live performances, she loves the experience every time.
"You never get bored coming to these shows," Hagy said. "They never play the same set so it's a new experience every time."
Hagy especially looked forward to the performance of "Chunk of Coal." Being a West Virginia-based song, it's a great connection with the Morgantown crowd and the crowd agreed.
Alongside the diehard Panic fans were audience members newly introduced to the unique styles of Widespread Panic.
Sam Byron of Pittsburgh attended the show with some friends.
"I definitely liked the style of the concert," Byron said. "It was a lot more relaxed than other concerts."
Coliseum employee Kelci Shirk was impressed with the turnout.
"It's a pretty good turnout for a band that may not be so well known by the students," Shirk said. "Although it's not such a mainstream sound, the turnout is still fantastic."
After the band completed its set, the house went crazy.
Widespread Panic had put on a show for the ages, and the crowd knew it.
With a roar of applause, Panic left the stage solidifying the thought in everyone's head – Widespread Panic has been going strong for years, and they're not even close to done yet.