For one reason or another, some shows just seem to stick with you. Some become the ones you use to spread the music. Some were spent with great friends or around special occasions…whereas a few might have been spent running solo. Some required an inordinate amount of planning and road warrior abilities while others just happened. One show was your first show. Several were your favorites…and some of those you didn’t even attend. Some you’ve had the tape of forever. And for some you can’t find a tape at all. Some shows make us feel better off for just having been there. And sometimes in all of that…some performances even have the ability to define an era.
Somewhere between finding their way with Valdosta 1989 and hitting on all cylinders with Carbondale 2000, Widespread Panic rounded a corner. For many, Huntsville 1996 defines that period in WP history. Fresh off a well deserved ski vacation in the Rocky Mountains, where the music also took some time to stretch and relax, Widespread Panic charged into the Spring ’96 tour with a renewed sense of energy and perspective. On April 3rd at the Von Braun Civic Center in Huntsville, Alabama, it all came together and made an indelible mark on Panic history.
With an upcoming release date of June 23, 2009, Huntsville 1996 takes us on a journey that didn’t end with the last note of the show. Revered by fans young and old, this performance has more than stood the test of time. Among many first set standouts, the band mixes it up by exploring the very old and the brand new with a nod to “Solace”, a century-old Scott Joplin rag, and the debut of the elusive “Sandbox.” All that remained was for the synergy of the second set to overtake everyone – band and audience – and deliver a shot that, even after the encore, still hasn’t found its way home. For those of you that have had this show stick with you since you first heard it and have always wished for it to be an official archive release…wishes do come true. And for those of you who haven’t yet had the opportunity of experience…welcome to our journey.