Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
July 28, 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 HORDE 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 middle show of this three night run started off with an energetic “Postcard” that got everyone dancin’ and right back into the groove from the night before. And from there, the band soared….right into “Ophelia,” “Coconut” and “L.a.”…..all seldom-played and the beginnings of a smoking set. A mid-set “Impossible” provided a dirty path to take toward “Mercy” while also setting up the run toward the break. Ending the set with “Worry,” “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and “Imitation Leather Shoes” just absolutely brought the house down and got everyone on their toes in the process.
So here was Widespread Panic….exactly halfway through a three night run…with a second set to slay. And that’s exactly what they did. Creating a nice mood to get everyone in step again, the band opened up with “Casa Del Grillo.” From there, “Surprise Valley” took root and provided the necessary wares to delve deeper into the night. Next, “Down on the Farm” finally came home to roost after a 250 show hiatus. With Oak Mountain now blown sky high, “Holden Oversoul” and “All Time Low” steadied the ship to prep everyone for “Arlene” completely taking over before “Drums.”
Coming out of the drums, the super-rare “Astronomy Domine” jams us right into the second-ever “All Along The Watchtower” performed by the band. Finally,“Fishwater” brings everyone back into the here and now….and rocks the end of a set. As always. Encoring with “Down” and “Ain’t Life Grand” gave us all a chance to reflect on another fantastic performance by Widespread Panic…..and ask that all important question…..Could the boys do tomorrow night what they just did the last two nights? Is that possible? The answer would be known in only 24 hours…and it was an undeniable YES!!!
We’ve got one more show to go in this three night run from Oak Mountain 2001 – Night 3 of course!!! Stay in tune and thanks for supporting the Widespread Panic Archive Project.
Oak Mountain 2001 Night 2 is available in CD, MP3, and FLAC audio formats. Get your copy at any of the following:
Oak Mountain 2001 Night 2
July 28, 2001
Oak Mountain Amphitheatre
1) Postcard – 5:08
2) Ophelia – 4:05
3) Coconut – 6:40
4) L.a. – 4:15
5) Impossible – 9:11
6) Mercy – 9:36
7) Worry – 7:40
8) Dear Mr. Fantasy – 5:17
9) Imitation Leather Shoes – 4:14
1) Casa Del Grillo – 7:59
2) Surprise Valley – 9:25
3) Down on the Farm – 5:14
4) Holden Oversoul – 7:31
5) All Time Low – 4:17
6) Arleen* – 11:55
7) Drums** – 18:35
Set 2 (contd)
1) Astronomy Domine* – 3:43
2) All Along the Watchtower* – 5:32
3) Fishwater* – 8:50
4) Down – 4:48
5) Ain’t Life Grand – 5:01
Widespread Panic is:
John Bell – vocals, guitar
John “Jojo” Hermann – keyboards, vocals
Michael Houser – guitar, vocals
Todd Nance – drums, vocals
Domingo S. Ortiz – percussion
Dave Schools – bass, vocals
*with Dr. Arvin Scott on percussion
** with Dr. Arvin Scott and Peter Jackson on percussion