Georgia rockers Widespread Panic concluded the seventh installment of their Panic En La Playa destination event thrown by Cloud 9 Adventures at the Hard Rock Hotel in Riviera Maya, Mexico on Monday night. The band showed the future is bright in multiple ways, both by jamming with 21-year-old guitar sensation Marcus King and by debuting a new original sung by their own John Bell as part of an impressive finale.
Panic made it clear all bets were off by opening with a cover of Warren Zevon’s “Werewolves Of London” for the first time since Halloween ’92 – a span of over 25 years. The six-piece hadn’t played “Werewolves” at all since September 17, 2016 ahead of last night’s show. WSP went the old school route for the rest of a first set that also included “One Arm Steve,” a jammed-out “Pleas” that led into “Christmas Katie” and “Junior” as well as a trio of “Contentment Blues,” “Thought Sausage” and J.J. Cale’s “Travelin’ Light.”
The veteran jam act had another surprise cover in store to begin the second set, “Swamp” by Talking Heads. Panic hadn’t played the Speaking In Tongues gem since 2016’s Wanee Festival. Next up was the winning trifecta of “Fishwater” > “Surprise Valley” > “Rock” ahead of “Saint Ex.” A pair of curveballs came with an unusual approach to the structure of “Pilgrims” and then the debut of “Sundown Betty,” a new original from a band that hasn’t exactly been flowing with new material since the release of 2015’s Street Dogs.
“Pigeons” followed and then Widespread Panic brought out Greenville, South Carolina’s Marcus King for an awe-inspiring collaboration. First up was a take on “Nobody’s Fault But Mine,” but the real standout was a 20-minute “Mountain Jam.” King had made his Widespread Panic debut at 2017’s Wanee Festival, where he sat-in with the group on “Mountain Jam” for the first time. While WSP played “Mountain Jam” in the ’80s, the song disappeared from the group’s setlist until an excerpt was performed on July 10, 2016 – the biggest bust out in the band’s history. Now, the first two full versions of the Allman Brothers Band classic have been performed with Marcus King. The young guitarist went toe-to-toe with Panic’s Jimmy Herring as part of a “Mountain Jam” that featured solos from everyone but JB. Widespread finished off the concert and festival with “Tail Dragger” and the return of Joe Cocker’s “High Time We Went” for the first time since September 23, 2016.
Watch video of “Mountain Jam” captured by MrTopDogger: