3rd Apr, 2007

Widespread Panic – Palace Theater, Albany NY – 2007 04 01

WSP Widespread Panic Palace Theater, Albany, NY

By the time I got to Albany, I was already having a good time. My last minute companions for the trip turned out to be super cool. Thanks again G & MB, you rock, no wait, we rocked! We had a fun and really quick ride up the FDR , over the bridge & up the Thruway from New York City. The fact that there are now Starbucks coffee shops in all the rest stops on the New York Thruway, probably helped to account for the ride seeming so quick. Caffeine flowing right to the throttle….90 MPH all the way up. All I know is that I have to get to the Hampton Inn, across from the Palace Theater before 6:00 PM, to meet up with the guy, Craig from NJ, who has my ticket. With the show being sold out, and this my best hope at NOT having to stand around in the rain with my finger in the air hoping for a miracle, I was real anxious to get to Albany. In the back of my head, i knew that I have never been shutout of anything, ever, so nothing to fear!

With no Navigation system in my car, we somehow made it off the highway at exactly the right place. Left on the ramp, stop at a light and BINGO, Palace Theater dead ahead. Two blocks to the left was the familiar Hampton Inn sign. One more left, a right, a quick cell phone call and Craig, the guy who was so kind to answer a ticket grovel post that my new friends had made, was downstairs in a flash. $40.00 was face value & that is what he wanted, so it was a quick exchange, had my ticket in my hand, time to relax and enjoy rainy downtown Albany’s finer drinking establishments. After all it was April Fools Day and an hour till the early 7:00 PM show time printed on my ticket.

Widespread Panic WSP Marquee at The Palace Theater albany new york jam bandNo problem parking the car in a safe lot, just up the street from the theater. $10.00 seems fair, as when you live in or around New York City, 2 hours of parking can be over $50.00 if you choose the wrong lot. We went to the venue to pick up the “band guest list” tickets, that the girls were able to score. Once we had those in hand, the cold Albany rain & our inability to find the bars which were apparently “right across the street”, made the decision simple and into the venue we went.

I sort of got the feeling that the local venue security was going to be OK with the chaos that was coming as I got padded down by a really butch looking, linebacker sized, friendly faced woman on the far right hand side. Strange how we each make that last minute decision on who to choose to pat us down, go through our shit, and stomp all over our privacy. This decision has surely had life impacting effect on the unfortunate ones who make the wrong choice, or the pathetically stupid or high. Once I am in that purgatory sort of area, you know, where your through the door, but not past the goon squad yet, I become like Jack Bauer in surveillance mode. Typically there is the blare of the guy with the bullhorn telling you, no cans, bottles, blah, blah, blah. That is when you scope out the scene. I typically look at who is hassling who. Which yellow shirted Meathead seems to be taking their job too seriously. Also, where the line is backed up & where there is a quick opening to pop right in. Ultimately, I usually find the path of least resistance, by making my choice based on a complex yet spur-of-the-moment algorithm concerning which line is the shortest, over the square root of the friendliness factor of the guards face, multiplied by look for a woman. Call me sexist, but I think in this situation, it is usually best to go with the opposite sex. So I made the right choice (again) & I was safely inside. Digicam, etc. made it through one of the most casual pat downs that I can remember. Big signs everywhere saying no cameras, no video. Hell, I think I could have walked in with a case of beer!

The Palace Theater lobby was nice, not as grand as some theaters I have been in, but nice enough. Sort of reminded me of the old Capital Theater in Passaic, NJ where I saw so many great shows in my youth. OK, by this time I am freaking parched. Much to my delight, they had a decent beer on tap, so I grabbed 2 Heineken & proceeded to check the place out. When time permits & I do make it to a venue early, I kind of like to get my bearings straight before it gets so crowded that it becomes hard to get through quickly. It was at this point that we stopped & chatted with an usher & realized that the girls tickets were in row AAA. How psyched was I? I had an orchestra seat & figured it would be no problem to get stubbed closer and be able to shake it with my new friends, right up front.

Now totally stoked with how things are working out, and amazed that 20 minutes before show time, that there was practically no one inside yet, the three of us set of to explore. We stopped by the “smoking area”, so those that were in nicotine withdrawal could have a smoke without getting kicked out before the show even started. While we stood in the drizzle, guzzled the icy cold beer & sucked on Marlboro’s, the freaks started to roll in. It was getting closer to show time & each group of wide-eyed nicotine addicts that came outside to do the deed, just helped to build the rush that starts to occur as everyone knows that it all is going to happen, really soon.

From outside, we see the lights blink & are smart enough to realize that it is time to get moving. I am behind the girls when we get to the 1st usher. She looks at the AAA ticket & says WOW! You guys have really good seats. Just like that, she escorted the three of us right to the front row, and without ever looking at my ticket, this lovely woman, cleared some wookie folk out of the way & made sure there was plenty of room for us to dance. MB & G got their tickets from someone who did something for somebody, but whoever they knew, also hooked up a bunch of other people that they also knew. Once the usher left, I was introduced to my new neighbors & I knew instantly that it was going to be a special night. There was a guy who owns a head shop, another guy who is involved with the WSP digital soundboard recordings that they sell on line after the show. A bunch of other people from NYC, who took a party bus to the show. All in all, a crowd that pulsed with a psychotic energy. psyched to boogie once The Panic hit the stage.

pic-0038.jpgLights off, I am 10 feet from Jimmy Herring, Dave School’s bass is starting to resonate in my bones, drums drumming. JB gives us the familiar “Good Evening People” Dave teases us with a “Smoke on The Water” bass line, just before the band slams into “Last Dance”. Instantly, the stress of the last couple weeks is washed away, I am there. One with music that I had been craving. Serendipitous bliss in Albany? Check! As the song ends with a stunningly beautiful Jimmy Herring guitar solo, JB is singing about Monday morning, and we all know we are in for a rocker next. “Good People” was a song that MB had hoped to hear and she was a burst with happy energy. She was beaming as she danced to the funky groove of this terrific “new” song. Louder & Louder, Faster & Faster, Tighter & Tighter, Closer & Closer. The rest of the set is super solid. Personal highlights were the contagious instrumental jam, “Takeout”, which led to a sweet version of “Porch Song” to close out the set. How can you not be excited for the second set, when they leave you singing “Having a Good Time” as they retire backstage for the break.

From what i could tell, the vibe was great and expectations were really high for a smoking second set. Albany always seems to have a great vibe….it also always freaking rains, but the crowd last night was great. As we went to chill out side, i instantly lost my dancing buddies in the sweaty masses that were heading out, to the wet, foggy night. Yes, we were getting wet, but no one really seemed to mind. Hung out with some cool folks from Vermont and CT. Good to see so many sold out shows & a good show of support for Widespread Panic, when they come to the Northeast.

When i saw the mess that was the beer line in the downstairs lobby, I wished that maybe some of them stayed at home. More socializing while waiting for a relatively cheap $4.00, 16 oz, Heineken Draft. It was at this point that I met the real person I got my ticket from. Not Craig fron NJ, but one of his friends from Massachusetts. She was delightful & so psyched to be celebrating her birthday with a ton of friends, at a Panic show. Happy Freaking Birthday! We chatted & it felt like the the line wasn’t moving. She had to pee, so she asked if her sister could take her place in line while she went to answer natures call. Her sister, Sarah was way cool too. She works for MoBoggie. MoBoogie is “The Social Network for the Good People Who Dig Live Music!” kind of like a hippie music oriented myspace. Check them out & if you sign up, let Slapsley know how you found them.

Second set starts….”Surprise Valley” ….I am still in line, maybe 4 people still in front of me. Chaos ensues. mad dash & a surge to the bar as the drunks behind me think that if they push foward, they will get the beer just a second quicker. As I get close to the front of the lines, 16 year olds are coing up to me to ask if I would buy them beer. Sorry kid, already buying 4. OK, it is finally my turn. I am at the bar, pay for my 4 beers, just as the last carrying tray is gone. So double fisted, in both hands, I am off to reconnect with my front row pals for the rest of the show. Once again, security is a breeze. Before anyone asked me for my ticket, I was right back up front to catch the end of “Surprise Valley”. I pass the beer out to my new found pals & am once again captivated by the sweet sounds of this freaking band. Am I a “Spreadhead” now? I am lost in a spinning, kaleidoscopic, whirling vision, that is all mine when i am in The Zone. Moving in time, body, head and soul, bathed in the sounds that keep me going out to see live music, after all it is these nurturing moments that keep me coming back.

Funny how when everything just works out right, 3 hours dancing at a show can make me feel better than a year of therapy. Anyway, the night was grand indeed. Met a ton of new folks whom I am bound to run into somewhere down the line. Heard just what I came to hear & made it back home to NYC before 1:30 AM. The girls both had to work & I had a Yankee game to go to. It was opening day after all.

Palace Theater – Albany, NY – 7:00 pm EST
Set 1 – Last Dance, Good People, Weight of the World, Machine > Barstools, Don’t Wanna Lose You, Who Do You Belong To?, Ribs & Whiskey > Takeout > Porch Song
Set 2 – Surprise Valley, Blight, Walkin, Time Zones, Do What You Like > Drums > 1 X 1 > Driving Song > Fixin to Die > Driving > Wondering
Encore – Lil Kin > Makes Sense To Me

Live Widespread Panic MP3 FLAC Show Catalog
Bit Torrent for FLAC of this show now available at ETREE


I would have loved to be there for the concert that you’ve described. Seemed awesome !!! In France, don’t have those kind of deep soul concerts which could make me feel better than a year of therapy !!!
Thank you to have shared your night with us & for giving me the opportunity to dream of the day i could be there & see widespread panic for real, dance on their music !!! you rock jerry… thanks again

Leave a response

Your response: