Last Friday morning I woke up in Denver after the craziness that was the DNC and Obama speech to drive up to Aspen, Colorado for the second night of Widespread Panic at the Aspen/Snowmass Jazz Festival. It was a beautiful drive- we drove through Leadville and went over Independence Pass. It seemed like Lissy got a little car sick but I enjoyed the scenery.
After a quick stop in Aspen we headed out to the festival. There were 2 options for parking: the "close" parking was $20, and the parking where you get shuttled to the festival was $10. We opted for he more expensive parking. When we drove in, one attendant at the gate told us to give our money to the guy in the lot. When we drove up to the guy in the lot, he came up to the car and asked "Did you pay that guy up there?" Which of course we responded "Yes." We got a prime parking spot for free. It was pretty sweet, actually, because there were ins and outs to the festival and we could come back between The New Mastersounds and Xavier Rudd to tailgate with Marco (my Honda Element).
I thought that both The New Mastersounds (3pm) and Xavier Rudd (5pm) sounded great before Widespread Panic hit the stage (7pm). I have no complaints for either set, but both bands got lost in the massiveness of the main stage. I love The New Mastersounds but would prefer to see them in a small sweaty club. The early afternoon crowd was the hard core Panic fans who drew the short straw to stake claim for for their crew that would arrive later. It always cracks me up when I see the tarp nation in the hours before Panic shows - 1 or 2 people standing on a 20ft x 12ft tarp and no, you can't stand there.
Panic started promptly at 7. Here is the setlist:
Widespread Panic, Jazz Aspen/Snowmass Festival, 8/29/08
Set 1: From the Cradle > Walk on the Flood, Little Kin > Cant Get High, Airplane > Rock, Visiting Day, Give (58 minutes)
Set 2: Walkin > Ride Me High > Blue Indian, You Should Be Glad > Chilly Water > Drums > Bust It Big > Chilly Water > Mr Soul (73 minutes)
Encore: Dream Song > Going Out West
The first set came off a little flat for most of the crowd. Personal highlights were Can't Get High and Airplane>Rock, but the performances in the first set were the straight ahead playing of the song without much jamming or building. Most in attendance will probably remember the beautiful sunset on a cloud during Give. Check it out, I actually turned around and danced to the sunset instead of the stage:
Set 2 made the first set look like a Governor from Alaska. I loved the second set. It may be my favorite set personally from Panic in 2008. Everything seemed to come together- lots of great playing, the segues were tight, and I was around my best friends and felt great without a care in the world. The jam out of You Should Be Glad> Chilly Water was especially sick.
After the show I set a record for the most people ever in Marco: 9. We did not have far to go- up the road a few minutes to nearby condos in Snowmass- but anytime there are 9 Colorado show kids all piled into a Honda Element it is a hilarious time.
There was a lot of raging going on back at the condos, but the one we shared was a little more chill which was just fine with me. I felt like relaxing and sipping beers rather than staying up all night. Its hard to beat good fun post show conversation, an iPod full of funky tunes and a plush condo. Overall a great time!
By the way, I have know this for a while but Jambase can offically report that Panic is playing New Years in Denver at The Pepsi Center, with Yonder Mountain String Band opening Dec 30-31. Check out the details. Book flights. Party with the joker and my crew in Denvegas. Gonna be fun!