Werewolves of Akron: Widespread Panic Delivers Dynamic Fall Show

Concert Review

click to enlarge Bell - JON LICHTENBERG / SCENE
Featuring a plethora of covers in a brief, bustout-filled tour so far, Widespread Panic's show in Akron last night cranked the energy level through the Civic Theatre's starry ceiling.

The first set was anchored by a fiery "Dyin' Man" into "Weight of the World," which was followed by The Band's "Ophelia" and "The Shape I'm In." Throughout, each musician was simply raging, with keys man JoJo Hermann in particular casting psychedelic waves across those first-frame jams.

The Akron Civic Theatre (which the band last played Oct. 15, 2011) is a terrific place to see Panic. Their light show is reliably engaging, and the intricate stage design and seemingly open-air environment really ups the ante on the visuals (especially those crazy spiral lights that swerved all over the crowd last night). 

The second set only intensified matters, with covers of "Werewolves of London" (a fall tour special last played Oct. 10, 2014) and "Heart of Gold" holding court. (Bassist Dave Schools switched up the lyrics a bit in the former, singing "I saw Lon Chaney Jr. walkin' with the Black Keys, doin' the werewolves of Akron...")

Guitarist and singer John Bell, a native Northeast Ohioan, was on point all night. He hung around the upper register in many tunes, and his take on "Heart of Gold" was electrifying. The late-show "Old Neighborhood," which opened their last show in Cleveland, was a nice nod to the hometown too.

Set I: Travelin’ Light, Little Kin > Makes Sense To Me, Rock, Dyin’ Man > Weight of the World, Ophelia > The Shape I’m In, Flicker, Worry

Set II: Junior, Werewolves of London > Big Wooly Mammoth, Party At Your Mama’s House > Ribs & Whiskey, Honky Red, Old Neighborhood, Impossible > Drums > Heart of Gold, Chilly Water

Encore: Old Joe, Protein Drink / Sewing Machine

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Eric Sandy

Eric Sandy is an award-winning Cleveland-based journalist. For a while, he was the managing editor of Scene. He now contributes jam band features every now and then.
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