PORCH SONGS: Kalamazoo, MI – 11/11/1997

State Theater | Kalamazoo, MI | November 11, 1997

I like to think that, for any given night, music is in the ears of the beholder. As a result, there are certainly concert-goers that walk out of Widespread Panic shows with differing opinions as to the perceived quality of the nights’ performance. Never knowing what you’re going to get is sometimes closely followed by not really knowing what you just got. To that end, it’s always interesting to connect with friends and strangers after shows, to analyze the past and contemplate the future. So…for the 13th volume of Porch Songs, we do just that: ask a friend to reflect on this release.  For that we turn to Steven J. Ziegler…known to most of us as The Z-Man.

Kalamazoo 11/11/97, was and still is one of my all time favorite Widespread Panic shows! I had to be in West Lafayette at Purdue University for work the next day, so I left work in Ohio and made the 2 ½ hour trip. Seeing the boys in a small Midwest theater is always a treat. I got there after the doors opened and ran into Dr. Michael P.  We decided to set up our taping equipment in the front row of seats in the back of the pit. Of course, we saw the rest of the tapers in the back, next to the soundboard.

The boys were ALL business as they opened with “Weight of the World.”  ”Aunt Avis” > “Walkin’” was next and then I got to hear my first “You’ll Be Fine” from Todd. “Glory” > “Rock” was smooth as can be. I always love hearing “Rock”. One of my oldest tour shirts, that I call “Rock on a Belly,” has a picture of Dave Schools on the front. After “Big Wooly Mammoth,”  ”One Kind Favor” > “Love Tractor” was a superb set closer. It may have been my first time hearing Panic cover “One Kind Favor,” as they had just begun playing it in 1997.

The second set was Pure Classic Panic, as the boys “‘Got Down To Business.” Then, “Hope In A Hopeless World,” led into a killer “Disco” > “Diner”. “Diner” was and still is my favorite Panic song and I was SO happy to hear it. I was whipped into a frenzy, but then they took it to the next level when they segued into “Arleen!” WOW! “Drums” led into another favorite, “Pilgrims.” Time for an instrumental, welcome “B Of D”. Prior to this show, I can’t remember hearing the closing 2 songs of the set back to back, but “Raise the Roof” and “Last Dance” were unmatched! What an end to a rockin’ 2nd set! “Makes Sense To Me” closed it all out as the encore.

Did I just see the show I thought I saw and heard? As Michael and I packed up, I noticed we were the only 2 left in the theater. I walked out the front door and much to my surprise, it had snowed 6” during the show! The first snowfall of the year. I brushed off my Jeep and managed to make it to I-94 West. Well, I rode the tail lights of an 18 wheeler and managed to get to the next exit, about 10 miles, in an hour! I got off, grabbed a room at a hotel, and went inside. I unpacked my gear to listen to the show and figure this whole thing out. And guess what, I really DID see the show I thought I just saw and heard!

Dave Schools - Fall 1997

Dave Schools - Fall 1997

Michael Houser - Fall 1997

Michael Houser - Fall 1997

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 release, we’re stuck with a show that’s pretty damn clean…but to get there…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 November 1997 Kalamazoo show here

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

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12 comments to PORCH SONGS: Kalamazoo, MI – 11/11/1997

  • LetItRollOn

    Awesome Fall ’97. Thank you!!


    Truly appreciate what you guys do. Can I make a suggestion? There are TONS of great ’97 soundboards already in circulation. Could we look into releasing some shows after soundboard feeds were no longer allowed? How about Spring Tour 2002? Just my .02. Thanks again.

  • Paul Merlo

    Hey Z-man! That show, and surprise blizzard, sure were unforgettable. You’re lucky you exited I-94 when you did, because I’m wonderin’ if the semi you were tailing was one of the many we saw spun out or overturned on our way home to Detroit that night.

    Thanks to Horace and WP for releasing this gem, and I heard the Pilgrims > B of D on Brad S’s “Weekly Live Stash” last weekend too…

  • Impossible

    It’s great as we get older and the impermanence of life takes hold to see the music carry forward and spread throughout the world and enable positive attitudes and energy. You truly makes a positive contribution to our world. Thank you for for your continued dedication.

    Gratefully Yours,
    A fan

  • Schooled864

    This is one of the most solid CLASSIC panic shows. 97 was such a great year, more releases from this yr would be a blessing

  • Adam

    Totally agree with you SATISFYED….the dead just released an entire tour in a box set…How I would pay top dollar if WSP would do something like that! Spring 02 sounds like a great start too!

  • Coconut Phil

    Looking forward to my copy arriving. I agree with Adam 100%, got my Spring 90 box last week, super nice. Having a WP box released is way over due. Us fans will buy it for sure. I e-mailed Horace a while back asking about some multiple night runs, he just said it was not in the works. I would like to see WP sort of use the Phish buisness model. I like Phish a lot too, they really keep it coming. I’m sure we will get some great releases on down the road.


  • I e amassed some 6-7000 shows over the years, bout 13-1400 WSP yet as always I’m proud to see another quality show being released, I Iike to see the band release anything and really think the archive crew has done a lot o work and a great job. I’d like to see one from the late 2002 shows as this Is a part of what we still love today. Fiddler Green Fall 2002 ?
    Great to see the show Descrip by Z-MAN, awesome touch!

  • Scott Corrao

    Even if every Archives Release isn’t perfect in terms of quality or show choice or era, etc… at least they’ve settled into a nice once a month release groove, so every thirty days or so you’ve got something new coming out. Show’s like this, which were never available in sbd before are my preference. Hopefully Horace is going through 98 and 99 with a fine tooth comb to see if there’s ANY sbd’s in the bunch (beyond the RR 98, and the RR 99 truck mix he snuck out through the podcasts). Howsabout the year 2000? Pretty much untouched so far

  • Scott Corrao

    That said, Multitrack releases of the more prominent 3 nighters (Myrtle Beach 99, NOLAWeen 99, Oak Mtn. ’01) seem like obvious choices. Modeled on the Phish Reno and Hampton releases, and the Dead Winterland, Europe ’72, etc…

  • anthony perrone

    I purchase almost all of these releases from livewidespread panic. Could we have the album artwork and the essay?

  • editor

    Hi Anthony,
    The album art is at the bottom for download on every show download page at http://www.livewidespreadpanic.com. It comes as part of the show if you order it as a CD as well. The essays, however, are only here on the Archive blog.

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