PORCH SONGS: Louisville, KY – 5/7/1997

The Palace | Louisville, KY | May 7, 1997

For the 11th Porch Song release, we visit a tour that plays on many different levels.  The spring of 1997 not only captured the band when they were on fire, but when the recording decks were as well.  Not literally of course, but the tapes that came off the soundboard from that tour are about as solid as they come.  And, as the Widespread Panic taping community certainly knows, most of these recordings have circulated for years and have surely played a part in wearing out many sound systems…and ear drums! It only makes sense that a show from this tour take its rightful place as an official Widespread Panic Archive release.

Palace Theatre Ceiling

If you’ve never been to the Louisville Palace, you should consider finding a reason…and that won’t be tough to do especially if Widespread Panic returns to this 2,700 seat masterpiece of a venue.  Upon entering, all it takes is a long look at the ceiling and you just know you’re in the right place…no doubt about it.  And then the music starts…..

To begin the show, we take our time boarding a “Galleon” before quickly diving right into the “Fishwater”. After settling into things for a bit with “Wondering,” we head off to a few selections not normally played mid-first-set…as we dig deep down into a “Barstools and Dreamers” complete with a Thank You jam, followed by the also unexpected “B of D”.  After “Blackout Blues” makes its way into “Hatfield,” we get another surprise with a great version of “Let’s Get The Show on the Road”…and then a solid set-ender with “Radio Child”.  As usual, by the end of the first set, the band had only started the journey that this night would become.

The second set starts off with a flirtatious “Bowlegged Woman” that always fits no matter where she shows up…and ends up asking the question we all know the answer to…”Ain’t Life Grand”? After a “Walk On” through “Can’t Get High,” we end up boarding a vessel for the sky this time with an “Airplane” that takes us through the rest of our evening’s journey. The take off  jam does just that after spending a bit of time on the runway…but once it gets air, it just doesn’t come down for a long time…and when it does, we land at the first ever “Party at Your Mama’s House”. As this new instrumental tune makes its debut, we get the sense of connective tissue with a purpose as it creates a bridge from “Airplane” to “I Walk  on Guilded Splinters” that is just sublime.  And speaking of “Guilded”, it wasn’t just the same tune in the same spot, but it tied back to the spontaneity of the first set and set up nicely to give way to the “Drums”.  “Papa’s Home” then found a sweet spot to lead into a well-placed “Love Tractor” that finished off the trip…but not before we get a nice encore sendoff with “Help Me Somebody” and “Makes Sense to Me”.

After almost a dozen performances at the Palace since this inaugural evening in 1997, it’s apparent this place just casts a spell on all of us…including those six guys on stage.  Let’s hope we get to go back to the Palace and find that magic once again.

As always, keep in mind that when listening to these Porch Song releases, what you’re really hearing is a recording of what came through the house speakers the night of the show…so there is no post-show engineering opportunity to dial in each instrument and vocal to perfection as there is with the Widespread Panic Multitrack Releases. What you’ll also find on these Porch Song recordings is the occasional digital noise or static resulting from the onstage recording process and/or the ravages of tape degradation. In this 11th release, we’re stuck with a small spot or two in “Ain’t Life Grand” and “Help Me Somebody” but, as always, we’ve preserved what we could, doctored up what we’ve been able to…and, in this ongoing process, refuse to let a random blemish prevent the spreading of this amazing music.  So, sit back, settle in and let this band take you on another incredible journey.

Order your copy of the May 1997 Louisville show here

Feedback is always welcome so please send us a message archives@widespreadpanic.com

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10 comments to PORCH SONGS: Louisville, KY – 5/7/1997

  • Trent Graham

    Any thoughts on releasing any of the porch song series on Vinyl?

  • Brent

    First off, love what you guys do…..I’m a loooong time fan and I still purchase some of the porch song releases and always the archived remastered stuff. That said, why this 5/7/97 show? I have to think your target audience are hardcore fans that have hundreds or thousands of shows in their own personal libraries, and there’s not a single true fan that doesn’t have this show. It’s legendary. And, the copy that’s been floating around for 18 years is a solid soundboard (like most of the spring 97). Why not release 5/2/97 or something from another year in which there’s not already a stellar copy floating around?

    Just curious as I thought this was a particularly odd choice. I just can’t imagine too many people will end up buying it.

    Don’t mean to come off harsh, love what you guys do and please keep up the good work.

    - Brent in Louisville

  • [...] Widespread Panic’s Spring Tour of 1997 was one of the best, if not the best, tours in the history of the band according to the likes of…well…me. Thankfully many of the band’s shows from this tour circulate as soundboards including a super-crispy recording from Louisville’s Palace Theater on May 7, 1997. That hasn’t stopped Widespread Panic from putting out their tapes from the show as the latest Porch Songs archival release. [...]

  • memphiskid

    These 97 releases have been great, but I still can’t shake the thanksgiving 01 shows from my mind…surely someone else has brought these epic 2 nights up when the initial ideas/requests were offered by Horace. The copies of this show are sub par at best, extremely bassy, GREAT crowd noise however, but overall clarity isn’t too stellar. I cleaned em up as best i could in Sony Vegas but even with that you have to CRANK them to hear it.

    Please consider these for an upcoming Archive or Porch Song release, just look at the setlists…

    11/23/01 Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, TN
    1: Thought Sausage, Radio Child, Proving Ground > Jack > Proving Ground, Ride Me High*, Pickin’ Up The Pieces**, Diner > Genesis > Porch Song

    2: Give, Bear’s Gone Fishin’ > Little Lilly, All Time Low, Happy Child*** > House of the Rising Sun*** > Red Hot Mama*** > Drums**** > Blackout Blues, Surprise Valley, Ain’t Life Grand

    E: Visiting Day, Sometimes

    * with Roger Lewis on saxophone
    ** with Efrem Towns on trumpet, Roger Lewis on saxophone
    *** with Dirty Dozen Brass Band
    **** with Terrence Higgins on percussion

    11/24/01 Mid-South Coliseum, Memphis, TN
    1: Travelin’ Light, This Part Of Town, Tall Boy, Papa’s Home > Fishwater > Papa’s Home, Bayou Lena, Down*, Stop Breakin’ Down Blues**, Love Tractor

    2: Action Man, Papa Legba, Blight, Walkin’ (For Your Love), Stop-Go > Drums*** > Jam**** > Sharon*****, Christmas Katie***** > Arleen***** > Swamp*****

    E: Imitation Leather Shoes, Old Joe

    * with Kevin Harris on saxophone
    ** with George McConnell on guitar, Kevin Harris on saxophone
    *** with Bently Rhodes on percussion, Terrence Higgins on percussion
    **** with Bently Rhodes on percussion, Julius McKee on sousaphone, Terrence Higgins on percussion
    ***** with Dirty Dozen Brass Band

  • Conrad


  • Chris

    The palace is magic! My wife and I got engaged in the balcony during climb to saftey in’ 03. Thanks guys I can always count on you! Oh ya it was also my bday yea-hah

  • Mornin'!withPalmer

    love some JoJo ’97!!!

  • eric

    We found ourselves 3rd-row center and unmolested (crazy elbow room!) at this show. Having thought myself into quite a hole during the 2nd set due to some sort of infection (“… Hmm, you know I think it’d be a real good, level-headed idea to call my dad and then walk back home to memphis, yeah, that’s probably what I need to do …”) I was absolutely picked up and carried away by “Airplane”. One of my favorite Panic show memories. Thanks guys (and I’m glad no one had cell phones back then!).

  • LetItRollOn

    Great theater venue if not the best. Long lines, but wow. Saw them in ’98, ’00, ’05, ’06. Always a good time!

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