Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Friday, as the day settled into night, a very enthusiastic crowd made their way into the picturesque outdoor amphitheater, The Woods at Fontanel. Hippies young and old from near and far piled in with tie-dye, glow sticks and LED hula-hoops ready for Widespread Panic to break out amongst the Woods.
The kaleidoscopic stage lights that rapidly changed colors turned the outdoor amphitheater into an enchanted forest. The incandescent colors washed over the trees that surround the venue, making a perfect fall night even more inviting.
A strong sense of community is always found to be the pulsing heartbeat of a Panic show. Many concertgoers have made lifelong buddies simply by being repeat customers at the shows. Being a true Panic fan is a lifestyle that leads people all over the country trying to squeeze in as many shows as possible.
Even before the show started, the crowd acted more like a grand family reunion rather than a concert. Looking around, you might see a friend you hadn’t seen in a long time or perhaps a colleague or neighbor you didn’t know was into Panic.
The first song of the night, "Ain’t Life Grand," was the perfect opener, fully encompassing the theme of the night. Everyone in the crowd was beaming from ear to ear as they danced and sang the night away, making one realize just how grand life is after all.
The night seemed to slip away like sand in an hourglass, and before the crowd knew what had swept over them, the first set was complete.
As the band made their way into the second set, kicking off with "Greta," the crowd showed no signs of tiring. In fact, it was just the opposite: Everyone was getting revved up for what they knew the rest of the night would entail.
For more than three hours, Panic played true to their nature – performing the lengthy, jam-band style songs their fans adore. Everyone seemed enthralled by the music, including the little tykes that ran around dancing and bobbing their heads while viewing the show from the comfort of their parents’ shoulders.
One girl, who appeared to be five years old, had a mini sized LED hula-hoop that she tirelessly swung around song after song soaking in the affection and praise from those surrounding her.
Widespread Panic double encored with "Sharon" and "Walk On," and even after lead singer John Bell thanked the fans and assured them that the show was over, fans still lingered, just hoping and waiting for more.