Brick Breeden Field House
Montana State University
For the 19th volume of Porch Songs, let’s set our sights on Big Sky County…along with Glacier, Yellowstone and lots of space in-between. Widespread Panic’s first Montana performance was in Bozeman in 1993 at the Cat’s Paw, a biker bar/casino/liquor store that had a small, poorly monitored stage that served as the music venue. A place where you could pass by, lay your money down and stay for the show! Over the next decade, the Bozeman / Missoula run truly became a yearly destination. It always takes extra effort and dedication to get to those special destinations…and the band always seems to recognize that fact by delivering scorching shows in tucked away little spots. This performance from Bozeman in 2001 certainly supports that idea as it captures that ever elusive, intangible energy and gives it right back to us.
The first set begins with JB setting the mood by locking in with the crazy people and feeling that this night is gonna be fun! “Heroes” gets it started and everyone quickly finds their way into the mix before sliding right into “Papa Legba.” Mission pretty much already accomplished. Mikey then captures, continues and changes the mood with “This Part of Town” before they slam into “Sleeping Man”…and it’s apparent by now…It’s on. But of course it is. It’s Montana, the grown ups are nowhere to be seen and there’s a “Party at Your Mama’s House”…that must’ve been good enough for “The Waker” to greet us with all things good. After a nice little jam, the heavy clouds on the horizon appear and “Hatfield” cooks us up a little collective rain dance. A “Tall Boy” meets us once the storm passes and carries us to “Give” and the end of a smokin’ first set.
Opening the second set with “Walk On” cleans the slate for a “Space Wrangler” that just won’t stop. After dropping into a nasty mid-set “Pigeons,” it’s time to bring Jerry Joseph onto the stage for only the second Widespread Panic performance of “Light is Like Water”…as we embark on our journey to the other side of the world. Before we travel on, though, let’s pull into the take out for a bit and add a little definition to this trip.
Jerry Joseph. His barefoot brand of boundless, raw, polarizing, emotional energy has long moved Widespread Panic to weave his art into their fabric. Having performed as a guest musician with the band since 1990, and in several other WP-related collaborations along the way, Jerry not only penned the eventual Widespread Panic standards “Climb To Safety,” “North,” and “Chainsaw City,’ but also had his lyrical stamp on “Time Zones” and “Second Skin.” Over the years, Widespread Panic naturally gravitated toward some of Jerry’s signature songs from his own touring experiences with Little Women, the Jackmormons, Stockholm Syndrome and as a solo/duo, acoustic/electric performer…definitely a product of the near 60 times Jerry’s shared Panic’s stage. A global road warrior with a truly unique delivery and passion, Jerry leaves it all on the stage every night which is certainly a familiar trait in these circles. This show in Bozeman finds Jerry with his Jackmormons band mates…Brad Rosen and JR Ruppel…leading us all to Damascus and back.
Getting back to the show at hand, let’s pull out of the take out and head on back to Big Sky Country. As a raging “Road To Damascus” comes to an end, we look back from where we came and find, “We’ll Be Fine,” before the reigns are gathered in and a long and winding musical highway brings us all safely home. Dave and JoJo then ease their way out of the “Drums” and into an inspired jam that finds a great spot for everyone to head right on into “Rebirtha.” An immaculate transition into a slow “Porch Song” leads to an ending jam that gets us back out there one more time before “One Arm Steve” closes out the set. A rowdy “Chunk of Coal” and get-back-to-earth “End of the Show” finish us off for the night.
Absolutely amazing music pretty much in the middle of nowhere in Montana. Happens all the time…you just gotta trust your instincts, get off the beaten path and find that dedication to get to that special destination. It’s a pretty safe bet Widespread Panic will have you covered.
Order your copy of October 19, 2001 – Bozeman, MT.
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. So what you’ll occasionally find on these Porch Song recordings is a bit of digital noise, static and maybe even a quick drop out resulting from the onstage recording process and/or the ravages of tape degradation. For this release, we’ve selected a show that’s once again pretty damn clean, but as always, we’ve preserved what we could, doctored up what we’ve been able to, and in this ongoing process, have refused to let a minor blemish or two prevent the spreading of this amazing music. So sit back, settle in and let Widespread Panic take you on another incredible journey.
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