Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
July 27, 2001
From 1990 – 2002, Widespread Panic and their fans held an annual gathering south of Birmingham, AL off of an exit along I-65 in a town called Pelham. Setting the WP record for consecutive years played at the same venue at 13, Oak Mountain conjures up all kinds of musical memories that represent a true cross section of the Widespread Panic timeline. From the early days in 1990, playing only one set…to the H.O.R.D.E. collaborations…to the multi night runs…and eventually returning in 2011 and 2013. This record was achieved by a band always rolling with the changes while always remaining true to their craft.
Shining through all the Oak Mountain performances is a list of supporting bands (including the H.O.R.D.E. brothers) that stretch through the years and also stretch the capacity of the old memory banks: Slick Lilly, Follow For Now, Kill Darling, The Connells, The Grapes, The Freddy Jones Band, The Spin Doctors, The Samples, Bela Fleck and the Flecktones, Cowboy Mouth, Robert Randolph and the Family Band, Rana, Galactic, Particle, Joan Osborne, Guster, Everything, G. Love and Special Sauce, Blues Traveler and Col. Bruce Hampton and the Aquarium Rescue Unit. And the onstage guests: Jimmy Herring, David Blackmon, Jerry Joseph, Brad Rosen, Dr. Arvin Scott, John Popper, Colin Butler, Robert Barnett, Fred LeBlanc, Jeff Mosier, Col. Bruce Hampton, John Keane, Cecil Daniels and Robert Randolph. Whew!
Oak Mountain has always had its share of musical surprises. But there have been other sorts of surprises as well, some not always good ones unfortunately. Even with all the setbacks, (For example: The weather. Who remembers standing on that shaky bridge in 2002? Tickets. And, um, the police) we all kept coming back year after year to shake off the weight of the world. There were, of course, plenty of good, crazy times on stage too, like Fred LeBlanc of Cowboy Mouth tackling JB during the 97 show. But, no on-stage memories compare to the ones indelibly imprinted in the minds and souls of those that spent a few days at Oak Mountain in the spring of 2002. We started a musical celebration of the life of Michael Houser that weekend and it continues to this day.
For this latest Widespread Panic Archives release, the 2001 summer tour ends with a three-night run in late July catching Widespread Panic and their fans enjoying the fruits of their labors. Feeling just like home, the band cuts loose right from the start with an abundance of energy, focus and chance taking that carries on across each of the three nights. They take their time jamming from anywhere to who knows where. The strange. The familiar. The dirty. The clean. All of that and more came together that weekend. That’s Widespread Panic.
The first night of this 2001 run, the band takes full advantage by jumping on “Conrad” right out of the gate and there is plenty of room to fly right in this first set. Complete with a mid-set “Barstools and Dreamers” and a “Greta” that dug deep before heading into a “Christmas Katie” that eventually slid into “Let it Rock”. The second set highlights include a “Disco” opener, a “Driving Song” “Blight” sandwich, “The Harder They Come,” “Low Rider”, and finally a “Ride Me High” to start the encores. As Mikey dropped down into “Dream Song” to end the show, all was good. Two shows to go and one smokin’ opener already in the books.
Next up for that crowd and for us? Well Oak Mountain 2001 – Night 2 of course! Stay tuned and thanks for supporting the Widespread Panic Archive Project.
Oak Mountain 2001 Night 1 is available in CD, MP3, and FLAC audio formats. Get your copy at any of the following:
Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, Pelham, AL
1. Conrad – 8:36
2. One Arm Steve – 3:12
3. Barstools & Dreamers – 10:08
4. Action Man – 4:14
5. This Part of Town – 5:14
6. Greta – 11:29
7. Christmas Katie – 7:05
8. Let it Rock – 7:09
9. Radio Child – 5:54
1. Disco – 5:37
2. Bear’s Gone Fishin’ – 10:35
3. Driving Song > Blight > Driving Song – 14:54
4. The Waker – 3:42
5. Last Dance – 7:41
6. The Harder They Come – 10:30
7. Drums – 25:20
1. Fixin’ To Die – 5:12
2. Low Rider – 6:58
3. Love Tractor – 5:41
4. Ride Me High – 7:36
5. Dream Song – 5:17
John Bell – Vocals, Guitar
John Hermann – Keyboard, Vocals
Michael Houser – Guitar, Vocals
Todd Nance – Drums
Domingo S. Ortiz – Percussion
Dave Schools – Bass, Vocals