Inspired, Satisfied……and Better Off
Widespread Panic’s live music has always moved me….both down the highway and to the core…and continues to be an undeniable force and inspiration in my life. I love how a live show presents a musical experience that becomes enveloped in the feel of the moment – whether you’re part of the audience…or the band. Complete and total satisfaction from that synergy is what we always hope to take with us when we leave the venue and head to our next destination…..be it home or the next show. The chance of capturing that lightning again is what brings us back. That feeling of being better off just because of being there.
When we find ourselves lucky enough to attend those shows that make that mark, live recordings become a vehicle to capture that experience all over again. Thankfully, those same recordings become a potential source of inspiration for those of us who weren’t able to make the trip. And that’s when a performance really begins its journey….and gets its chance to fit that epic definition. It’s having that music live on that gives those that didn’t make it to the show the ability to be inspired and satisfied and dance right along with those that did.
Most of us could reel off a few dozen shows that are our favorites even though we might have been a continent away when the performance actually went down. That disappointment of missing out can be overwhelming. By and by, however, that frustration has the opportunity to be replaced by the very real feeling that you were actually there…and that’s the point. Maybe you’ve been there all along, because isn’t it really all about the whole journey anyway? Musical journeys don’t necessarily end with the last note of the night. Not for a long shot and maybe not forever.
So, what is it about this Huntsville, AL show back in 1996 that takes on so much meaning? What really happened there that night? Whatever it was it moved more than the 2,582 in attendance…that’s for sure. And for much longer than the 3 ½ hours the band was onstage. Whether 4/3/96 was someone’s 1st or 250th show, or even if they didn’t see the band for the first time until a few years later, this show continues to hit the note.
For the record, I was not there, but also fell for this show a long time ago. It’s never quit on me and has been the focus of much enjoyment and many conversations over the years. To provide a glimpse of what it was that did go down in Huntsville that night….and what certainly continues on today through this recording, I thought I’d share the passion that comes through my email address…so read on. And take a listen. Be inspired….and satisfied. And you too will be better off.
The Von Braun Ice Arena, my hands down favorite. Great set, first “Sandbox” and “Satisfied” rap during Arleen (I think). Felt like the band and the crowd were working together to build a fire. The first set “Papa’s [Home]” had the stage ablaze and the second set “Contentment Blues” felt like ‘Bama was falling into the Gulf. Some how after the heat the boys had a piece left for a fine “Can’t Find My Way Home”. The band took a step that night integrating the new and shining up the familiar. For me that was the show where the bar band turned to heroes. This is how I introduce folks to WP. ………Jason C.
Hands down…best show ever! How the boys grew after coming off the Sit and Ski tour…MAN!!!! And the setlist should read; “Arleen>Most Ridiculous Satisfied Ever!!!>Arleen”!!! ………Alan W.
April 3, 1996 could possibly be one of the best shows in Panic history. It’s a personal favorite I guess. I love how JB goes off in Arleen and also how Dave and JB are so on together vocally for “Guilded” too. First “Sandbox”…I am so glad I eventually got to see one. Also, the “I’m Not Alone >Tie Your Shoes” is sick as hell. Whole show…first and second set and the encore…I think is just epic Panic. Great song placement and the whole show flows well. They were just on that night. I wish I had been there, but it was five years before my first show. It’s sometimes easy to feel moved by something you actually experienced, but to be emotionally moved by the energy of the band and the crowd when you were not there is another ballgame altogether. That’s the passion this band brings forth…and that’s the passion that changed my life. …Christy P.
DUDE, if you were ever going to release a single show that is fire from start to finish, 4/3/1996 in Huntsville is the show. I’ve got it burned but a crispy copy would be amazing. In some circles, people say it’s the best show ever played. I agree. ………Jeff L.
Huntsville, AL 4/3. That show f*ckin’ rocks, excuse my language but it does. ………Parker K.
The legendary Huntsville, AL show from 4/3/96 is one of my all time favorites. As far as a setlist is concerned, it is unparalleled. In particular, the “I’m Not Alone>Tie Your Shoes>Arleen>Vacation>Drums>I Walk On Guilded Splinters” is one of the single best five song successions I have ever heard. The transitions are seamless and the manner in which the band members compliment each other borders on magical. The elusive “Sandbox” shows up for the first time in the first set of this show as well. Having been at that show and remembering just how few people were there, the level of intensity the band is able to reach amazes me very time I listen to that show. Needless to say, this is one of my favorite shows, and I think many fans would concur. ………Zachary B.
I have seen hundreds of shows and feel like Huntsville, AL April ’96 is a GREAT representation of WSP at their best. The first Sandbox was played and it just kinda all came together that night. Amazing show. ………Ana L.
HUNTSVILLE!!!!!! Being a fellow Panic lover, I have always thought that if you had to give me one show to listen to, one and only one, 4/3/96 Huntsville, Alabama is high on the list. I am sure you know the show…just an unreal set list with the crowd energy at full throttle!!! Just my take on things…if for some reason you have never heard this show, which I highly doubt, or even if you have heard it 1,000 times, I strongly encourage you to devote a night to yourself to listen to the boys just absolutely crush!!!!!!!!!!! GO PANIC!!!!!!!! ………Josh K.
Von Braun Center, Huntsville AL
Better Off 5:34
Let’s Get Down To Business 4:28
Radio Child 6:08
1 x 1 5:07
Maggot Brain 7:59
Can’t Get High 4:28
Papa’s Home 10:23
Porch Song 3:39
I’m Not Alone 5:55
Tie Your Shoes 7:56
I Walk On Guilded Splinters 12:10
Blackout Blues 5:56
Contentment Blues 6:06
Love Tractor 6:34
Can’t Find My Way Home 5:51
John Bell – Vocals, Guitar
John Hermann – Keyboard, Vocals
Michael Houser – Guitar, Vocals
Todd Nance – Drums
Domingo S. Ortiz – Percussion
Dave Schools – Bass, Vocals
All songs written by Widespread Panic, published by Widespread Music/BMI except: Let’s Get Down to Business written by Vic Chesnutt/Ghetto Bells Music/BMI. Solace written by Scott Joplin/Gut String Music/BMI. 1 x 1 written by John Hermann & Bill McCrory/High Cool Music. Maggot Brain written by George Clinton & Earl Hazel/Bridgeport Music/BMI. Can’t Get High written by Daniel Hutchens & Eric Carter/Wet Trombone Music/BMI. Sandbox written by Michael Houser/Door Harp Music/BMI. Arleen written by Winston Riley/Westbury Music/ASCAP. Satisfied written by Van Morrison/Universal Music/BMI. I Walk On Guilded Splinters written by Dr. John Creaux/Skull Music/BMI. Can’t Find My Way Home written by Steve Winwood/Warner-Tamerlane Publishing/BMI.
Recorded by Tim Wright
Mixed by Chris Rabold & Drew Vandenberg at Chase Park Transduction in Athens, GA
Mastered by Jeff Capurso
Packaging by Chris Bilheimer.
Liner notes by Horace Moore.