Santa Cruz, CA
For Porch Songs‘ 27th show release, let’s finally head back to 1992! Early on in the beginning of that eventful year change was definitely afoot. Keyboardist T Lavitz called it quits after about a year with the band, and Widespread Panic masqueraded a couple of college-day shows in Auburn and Atlanta without having filled the spot. But by the end of February, JoJo had found his way into the fold and it was time to hit the open road once again. Pretty much starting out at the Georgia Theatre on March 13th & 14th, Widespread Panic took off on an extensive spring tour. After a dozen or so performances in what was quickly becoming their second home…Colorado, the band headed out to the Pacific Northwest, over to Vancouver and down to California…finally landing in Santa Cruz on April 18th…about halfway through the tour. Big times in small, crazy places…those were the days!
After Garrie Vereen gives us a hearty welcome that we grew to love and expect during that period….the band charges right into “Send Your Mind.” “Papa Legba” finishes kicking open the gate and hits a groove as we roll past “Wondering” and “Walkin’”…fully warmed up and ready to go! Next up we get the first archival release of “Dog Song”…a fan favorite that ended up straying away to parts still unknown. With our spines now in line the band leads us down an adventurous path full of wonder and exploration with “Stop Go”, “Holden Oversoul” and “Hatfield” before riding to the end of the set by wearing out “Space Wrangler” and “Love Tractor.”
“Just Kissed My Baby” opens up the second set and gives us the feeling of being thrown immediately right back into the mix. As “The Take Out” and “Porch Song” settle us in a bit more, Bloodkin’s “Makes Sense To Me” and “Quarter Tank of Gasoline” continue to set a mood and define that high-five with the crowd. “Better Off” gets us in another gear and leads us to an excellent rendition of “Me and The Devil Blues”… with Cecil “P-nut Daniels joining in for the rest of the set, for possibly the first of many times, with his “midi horn bag of tricks.” Working seamlessly through “Weight of the World” and “Pickin’ Up the Pieces”….it’s yet another destination journey as a heavy “Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys” closes out a fantastic set. As the crowd absolutely demands an encore….an interesting nod to unknown things to come a decade and a half later, a little “Space is the Place” jam provides the perfect intro to “Travelin’ Light”….and the rest of the California night!
Finding themselves all along the west coast for successive times now and the word having been spread….these were special times. Taping, touring and merchandising had begun to take hold…special friendships, for both the band and the fans, had been forged….and the circles were coming back around again and again. Intent was moving this band down the road…musically and otherwise…and the benefits of these times in the early 1990’s would prove immeasurable.
Order your copy of April 18, 1992 – Santa Cruz, CA
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 enjoy.
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