Widespread Panic, one of the most popular jam bands in the world, is celebrating Memorial Day in Mississippi.
The Athens, Georgia based group, a longtime staple on the touring circuit throughout the South and beyond, will play two nights Saturday, May 27th and Sunday, May 28th at the Brandon Amphitheater just outside of Jackson. Tickets are available now at Ticketmaster.com.
in the Past three-plus decades, Widespread Panic has become one of the most popular live acts in the world, grossing millions of dollars a year on their tours. Panic has also sold well over five million records worldwide and built a loyal following on the road beginning in college bars across the South and eventually headlining nearly every major music festival in the United States and selling out some of the world’s most prestigious venues.
No artist has more sold-out concerts at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheater, and their headlining appearance at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival set the single-day attendance record at that time. The band has also sold-out Madison Square Garden in New York City numerous times and has headlined the annual Bonnaroo Festival on multiple occasions.
The celebration for their first live album, “Light Fuse, Get Away”, drew more than 100,000 fans for a free show in downtown Athens and is still considered one of the largest CD-release parties in music history.
“Man, with Panic, you never know what you’re gonna hear,” Ocean Springs resident Marty Saucier said. “I’ve been seeing them live since 1997 and there are certain songs I’ve still never heard them play. Their live shows are three hours of pure excitement. The south is where their foundation has always been and getting to see them in Mississippi usually means some unreal shows.”
John Bell, Mikey Houser and Dave Schools formed Widespread Panic just before Christmas in 1986. Widespread released their debut album “Space Wrangler” in 1988. The band named itself after Houser, who suffered from regular panic attacks. Houser died of pancreatic cancer in 2002.
Another local fan that can identify with the group as well is Pascagoula resident Bill Glenn.
“I equate it to following a college football team,” Glenn, an Ole Miss graduate, said. “If I have on a Panic shirt or I see someone else that does, a total stranger, you can walk up to them and start talking and there’s an immediate bond. It’s a common ground, a common love, just like you get at the shows.”
Glenn admits to seeing well over 100 Panic shows over the years in about 20 different cities and several countries.
“I have seen it morph into what it has become over the years,” Glenn, who is also the radio voice of the Pascagoula Panthers, said. “It’s just good ‘ole rock and roll music with a down-home flavor to it. A lot of their songs have references to the south. You can identify with it. They are the modern-age southern rock and roll band. And I think it’s great that Mississippi, as the ‘Birthplace of American Music’, has a modern, new venue like the Brandon Amphitheater to bring in a variety of national acts spanning all genres of music.”