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Governor HindmarshHotel .

Adelaide. 3-10-98.

     I could not believe my eyes when I read the leaflet on the table.We were at "The Gov " to see folk stalwarts Dave Swarbrick and Alistair Hulett and as usual we grabbed a flyer to see what bands were coming to town in the near future. About halfway down the page, there it was ,"Widespread Panic " with "Line dancers " . it had to be another band with the same name, no way they are gonna come to Australia for a tour, especially appearing with line dancers. 

  A week later Ian phoned ."It really is THE Widespread Panic , he enthused, but no one will go and see them, as we are probably the only people in Adelaide who even know who they are". So we tried to get folks to go, I dragged a couple of my fellow workers along with the promise that they would like the band and Ian also enticed a bunch of Deadheads who live on his street to go along as well, but we still reckoned that the crowd would be pretty thin on the ground. The local newspaper did a big article on the band a few days before the show, but it was the middle of the Arts Festival here, every night there were dozens of shows on , so I was not surprised that when we showed up at 8.30 there were only two other Spreadheads there, both Americans who were following the band around Oz. We shot the breeze for a while with these guys, Burton and Scott , who, not surprisingly, both hailed from the Southern states - and then took our seats as a the rest of the crowd trickled in . 

        I guess this must be about one of the smallest audiences that the band has played to for at least a decade.The Gov holds about 300+ people when full, but there were barely 60 folks there . A Dat taper set up his gear next to me and Kailas sat closer with his setup. Sound was pretty clean, not crystal clear as it can be at this venue with folk shows, but the tape sounds nice and funnily enough the guitar sounds better on the tape that it did on the night. Most people did not yack much and the only blemish was when some one ( who shall be nameless , but whose name starts with a K ) sidled over and enquired whether we'd changed the tape or not .
    When the band hit the stage there wasn't a great deal of room for them ,as the tiny stage was jam packed with equipment. In fact the keyboard player John Hermann was hardly visible at all and if one hadn't been able to hear him I would have thought he wasn't onstage. Houser sat stage left with a fan blowing his long hair over his face, Schools stood with eyes closed, off in his own space, Nance on drums is the perfect compliment to his underpinning role,whilst Ortiz is manic , playing almost anything in sight and bouncing his sounds around Nance and Schools, whilst JB took center stage and growled out the lyrics in his gravelly drawl. 

    It was a slow start, with the band loping into  Show on the Road and then into Pleas Both these numbers were unfamiliar to me and since I was worrying that my mates may not like the band , I felt they were a bit laid back. It was only when the opening notes of Holden Oversoul come around and I was pinned back against the wall by the sheer power of the riff that I realized that this was going to be one mindblower of a show and I should have no worries about my friends getting off on the band in a big way. Holden ripped and roared its way into a wonderfully intense jam , which gradually found its way back to earth and eased into You got yours  . This combination I liked, it was very Dead like , not musically, but in the way one song flowed into the other. By this time the first of the dancers were on the floor, all yanks , including Burton and Amber-, who we got to know better later. There was plenty of space to dance and John D, (who, being a drummer himself , was very impressed by the rhythm section ), slid down front to grok on the aforementioned players and remained glued there for the entire show. The close of this combo got wild cheers and an acknowledgement from JB , that " we'se just getting warmed up"

    A short break, then into an instrumental , I presume -Happy  which has GREAT percussion throughout. Ortiz is arguably the real driving force in this band, he is just stunning,he doesn't seem to play anything that is obvious. it was a delight to watch him , constantly inventive, has he ever jammed with the Rhythm Devils ?-now that would be interesting.
    The band slowed and the keyboards took over the main pulse which then worked into a slow percussive interlude, which marked the beginning of Aunt Avis-( which like a number of WSP songs, has a habit of working its way into ones subconsciousness. After this show I found I was wandering around singing these songs for weeks)- then all of a sudden Avis was over and they threw themselves into a shredding version of Impossible . This then wended its way into the breakneck pace of Tie your shoes, (once again a total ripper) which had everyone head shaking madly or dancing fit to bust and which also gave our invisible Mr Hermann a damn good chance to workout, then Houser let rip with a spiraling solo which was gnarley and massive. This whole sequence was really hot ! . 

     All of a sudden everything tailed off , the percussion cut in and here was Pusherman , which was totally infectious, went on for an age and in a fair world, one would think should be a massive hit. Drums was a total mother in every sense of the word . An bearded aboriginal guy in his late 40's was hanging down stage right carrying a Digeridoo for a while before drums, when he joined Ortiz for a jam,the didge adds a very nice edge to the workout.
  He turned out to be Bushman John Clarke and his presence gave a genuine Australian feel to the opening drums.The Bushman teased some pretty weird sounds out of the didge ,accompanied by clapper sticks from Ortiz . He and the drummers grooved for five minutes or so and then the Bushman departed to cheers , leaving Nance and Ortiz to build the tempo until a nice slide intro from Hedges heralded the move into Guilded Splinters. Being a long time Dr John fan , this was right up my street , WSP do a faster ,more rocking version than the Night Tripper album cut, but it still has a nice psychedelic, hypnotic edge to it and I would have been up there dancing if I could .

     Its the end of a C 90 and they've hardly paused for breath in the last 50 minutes. The new tape captured the strains of perhaps my fave WSP tune Conrad the Caterpillar   a real smoking version which just shook the old Gov's rafters in a big way. Makes Sense To Me followed and this version was played with gusto. By the end of this pair of powerhouses the tiny audience were hollering for more, managing to make a fair din until the boys came back a few minutes later for a nicely rendered Sleepy Monkey and an impassioned Hope in Hopeless World as encores. 
     After the show it was meeting up time, with a number of conversations developing between us local Spread and Deadheads -some of us meeting up for the first time ever - and the US heads who were either following the band on tour or were exchange students from the University.This was a real chance to meet more people on the same wavelength and to increase our contacts. As a result there is now quite a nice little Dead/Spread head network in Adelaide , so we are especially thankful to WSP for making this all possible through their gig. Many thanks to the band members who allowed people to go backstage and rap with the band after the show, thats nice!
     We apologise for the small size of the crowd, but we promise that we will drag a lot more people along in the unlikely event of you ever coming back. What a show !, easily as good as any of the other Panic tapes I have, I just wish there was more chance of seeing Widespread Panic here in Australia on a regular basis but I guess we have to face reality and realise that us Aussie heads will just have to save up and go see them Stateside if we want to get a hit of this live dynamite again in the near future!


Let's Get The Show On The Road, Pleas, Holden Oversoul > You Got Yours, Happy, Aunt Avis >(tape break). Impossible, Tie Your Shoes, Pusherman > Drums*, Guilded Splinters, Conrad the Caterpillar, Makes Sense To Me

E: Sleepy Monkey, Hope In A Hopeless World
* with Bushman John Clark on digeredoo

Aussie Deadheads 
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