Monday, April 9, 2007


Ticket for Widespread Panic: $48.50
Double Jack & Coke at the Warner Theatre: $16 + tip
Seeing dozens of hippies suck nitrous oxide on the street 3 blocks from the White House: Priceless

I got to see some old friends this weekend, namely my old best friend from high school Gloria and my favorite “boy band” from Georgia, Widespread Panic. Panic tends to follow me around the country only to make me spend all my money while forcing me to have a good time in the process; I’ve seen them everywhere from LA, to Montana to Atlanta to Colorado, and after this weekend I can add DC to the list.

Friday night was fun, although it was almost tame when compared to some of the other shows of theirs I’ve seen, which is probably a good thing. It’s been about a year and a half since my last show and since my music tastes have certainly shifted since then I wasn’t sure how much I would enjoy the show. For example, if someone had asked me three years ago how the first set of Friday’s show was I likely would have replied “great!” whereas my reaction now is that it was bland, mediocre even.

Second set was an entirely different ballgame however. Armed with their new guitar player, Jimmy Herring, they tore through 10 of their older songs and simply kicked my ears’ ass. I don’t know what went on backstage during the set break, but it worked and they emerged ready to raise hell.

Second set was also more fun because Gloria and I ditched our balcony seats and found a place to rock out in the 6th row, stage left, (aka the Schools Zone, so named after their bass player David Schools). It’s my favorite place to be at a Panic show because, well, that man is simply mean to his bass guitar and drops bass bombs on the crowd.

Speaking of bombs being dropped, during set break I met a Marine who had just gotten back from Iraq a few months ago. We talked a little about politics, and when the house lights went down, he pulled out a fat joint which he was more than happy to share with me and those around us. Strangely, I noticed how he kept staring not at the band right in front of us, but at the people dancing in the balcony. Turns out dude was flying high on acid and at one point he turned to me and said “its weird being in a crowd of people and not being afraid for your life”. Indeed.

Security as this show was basically non-existent. Nearly everyone around me was smoking something and not once did an usher ask people not to dance in the aisles. Towards the end of the show I asked my friend what the deal with the security was and she pointed to a short, black middle aged woman in a yellow security jacket, who was dancing just as hard as the hippie girls around her.

The second set saved the show and my friend and I emerged from the theatre all grins, which quickly vanished when we both heard the tell tale “hisssssssssssssssssss” sound of a nitrous tank. For the most part I don’t care what people do to themselves. If it makes you happy to suck balloons filled with laughing gas and starve your brain of oxygen, well, so be it, (certainly isn’t my idea of a good time). But I was aghast at the sight of literally dozens and dozens of people blatantly sucking on balloons, right on the street in front of the theatre, 3 blocks from the fucking White House.

And it wasn’t just random 17 year old kids who didn’t know any better. I saw several people in their 40’s sucking down balloons and “fishing” out on the pavement like epileptics, popping their half full balloons before passing out. Amazingly, amongst all the people not one cop was to be found. The presence of a single cop car in front of the theatre was openly mocked by random dudes and hippies posing for pictures next to it.

It certainly wasn’t the best show I’ve ever seen, and while it was memorable for the wrong reason, I had a great time and got a much needed R n’ R fix.

DC, you rock!

1 comment:

dan said...

sounds like a blast, glad you had a good time. later.