Here’s what I know about Widespread Panic: The group is from Athens, Ga. and has been playing for more than 20 years (longer than some of its fan base has been alive). Panic fans are (depending on how you look at it) obsessed/dedicated—enough so to support the band despite a lack of major radio play.
It’s that enthusiastic audience response (Panic has released 15 CDs and five DVDs, selling three million units mainly through live shows) that’s likely responsible for keeping Panic on the road. Time has not necessarily been kind to the group: Several lineup changes have occurred over the years, including the loss of guitarist Michael Houser to cancer in 2002. But Panic has also spawned plenty of side projects, such as keyboardist John “JoJo” Hermann’s Fat Possom-released boogie-woogie albums and guitarist/singer John Bell’s “JB and Friends” solo work.
The hard work and many miles have paid off: Panic was recently inducted to the Georgia Music Hall of Fame, and, this November, will be presented with the first-ever Road Warrioraward at the 5th Annual Billboard Conference & Awards.
Widespread Panic makes a post-Thanksgiving tour stop at the Asheville Civic Center on Friday, Nov. 28 and Saturday, Nov. 29., 8 p.m. Advance tickets go on sale online this Wednesday (Oct. 29) at 10 a.m. Regular ticket sales begin Saturday, Nov. 1. Info: 251-5505.
—Alli Marshall, A&E reporter