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A (not-so) Brief History of Widespread Panic

  • 1982-1984:
    • Michael Houser and John Bell ('JB') meet at the University of Georgia at Athens, and begin playing music together around town as a duet. JB plays solo shows as well.

  • 1984:
    • Fall: David Schools sees JB play a solo show at Abbots in Athens (remarking "This guy needs a band!"). Dave and JB are introduced by a mutual friend. Shortly thereafter, JB & Mike recruit Dave to play bass with them, and from Mike's nickname ("Panic"), the band name Widespread Panic is chosen.

  • 1985:
    • February 24: The first performance of Widespread Panic at the A-Frame house on Weymanda Court in Athens. Mike, JB, & Dave perform around Athens as a trio, occasionally utilizing local drummers. While their shows consist primarily of cover tunes (by the likes of The Grateful Dead, Van Morrison, Bob Marley, and Traffic, among others), their repertoire does include a handful of original songs: Sleepy Monkey (the band's first original composition), Chilly Water, Space Wrangler, and Coconut (written by JB before joining the band).
    • During this time, the trio also meet vocalist Kelly Jo Davis (who is later married to blues guitarist and friend of WP, Tinsley Ellis). Kelly Jo performs frequently with the band throughout 1985 and 1986.

  • 1986:
    • February 6: Mike recruits high school friend/bandmate Todd Nance for a WP gig (an Aid For Africa benefit) at the Mad Hatter Ballroom in Athens, opening for Strawberry Flats (featuring John Keane). This is considered the first "official" Widespread Panic show. Todd evidently has a good time, and accepts their offer to join the band.
    • February 9: Mike, Dave, and JB, with Joel Morris on drums and Kelly Jo Davis on backing vocals, record Monkey Image (Sleepy Monkey) and Coconut Image (Coconut) at Panoramic Recording Studio in Arnoldsville GA, to be released as their first single. The 45rpm vinyl is released (in a pressing of only 500) shortly thereafter on the band's Space Baby label.
    • During the rest of 1986, WP plays mainly in Athens, though they do branch out to venues in Macon, GA and South Carolina. Early on, they begin playing every Monday night at the Uptown Lounge in Athens, a tradition that would last well into 1988. Along the way, they develop a solid batch of original tunes (in addition to the four originals that they played in 1985), including Stop-Go, C. Brown, Tie Your Shoes, Porch Song, Driving Song, Conrad, Vacation, Postcard, the instrumental Machine, and another instrumental jam that JB later adds lyrics to, titled Cardboard Box.
    • October 6: Texan percussionist Domingo S. Ortiz ("Sunny"), sits in with the band at the Uptown Lounge for the first time. Sunny continues to perform with the band on numerous occasions in Athens, Macon, and Atlanta, and eventually (late 1988 or early 1989) accepts the band's request for him to join as a full-time member.

  • 1987:
    • April: Brown Cat, Inc. is born, with Sam Lanier hired on as manager.
    • During 1987, WP continues to play primarily in Georgia, while steadily spreading out to SC, NC, AL, TN, and as far north as Richmond, VA (Dave Schools' hometown). They develop a few more originals along the way, including Barstools & Dreamers, Contentment Blues, I'm Not Alone, and instrumentals L.a. (aka "Liza's Apartment"), and The Take Out. JB adds lyrics to Cardboard Box, and to another instrumental titled "Puppet Song", subsequently renamed Pigeons. Cardboard Box is only played a handful of times before being dropped from the repertoire.
    • Fall: WP signs with Landslide Records and records their first album, Space Wrangler, at John Keane's Studio in Athens. Guests on the album include Sunny on percussion, David Blackmon on fiddle, Tim White on keyboards, and Alberto Salazarte (of Athens band White Buffalo) on percussion.

      It is around this time that WP meets Col. Bruce Hampton (label-mate on Landslide Records), who has a profound impact on the band. WP and Col. Bruce continue to perform and record together to the present day.

    • October 31: Halloween show at the Uptown Lounge. To offer attendees a 'Halloween treat', WP debuts new material for the occasion, a tradition (which may have begun in 1986) that continues today. Here, and in the future, these 'treats' are usually cover songs. This night, the treats are 2 songs by Black Sabbath: Black Sabbath and Paranoid (Black Sabbath's music was influential on both Mike and Dave in their musically formative years).
    • December 31: 3-set New Year's Eve bash at the Rockfish Palace in Athens, and the first known performance of WP original The Last Straw.

  • 1988:
    • During 1988, WP's touring is still focused on the Southeast (GA, SC, NC, AL, TN, VA), but by year's end they make it as far north as Maine and Vermont. A few more originals pop up in the repertoire as well: Pleas, Worry, Jack, Impossible, Gimme, Holden Oversoul, and the instrumental Disco.
    • June 9: First known guest appearance of producer John Keane on stage with WP. Usually playing pedal steel, Keane becomes another regular guest at special WP shows.
    • September: Space Wrangler is released on Landslide Records (vinyl, CD, and cassette). The album tracks are: Chilly Water, Travelin' Light (a J.J. Cale cover), Space Wrangler, Coconut, The Take Out, Porch Song, Stop-Go, Driving Song, and Gomero Blanco (a short, mostly instrumental studio experiment never played live). Due to the time limitations of vinyl, the song Conrad, recorded for inclusion, is left off.
    • October 31: First known live guest appearance of fiddler David Blackmon with the band, during their Halloween show at the Uptown Lounge in Athens. After this date, Blackmon becomes a frequent guest at WP shows.
    • December 31: New Year's Eve at the Uptown Lounge in Athens.

  • 1989:
    • Continued touring of the Southeast, further exposure in the Northeast, and in the fall, a gig in JB's hometown of Cleveland. 1989 sees the debut of more new originals, including Rock, Proving Ground, and instrumentals A of D, B of D, and Happy Child.

      Love Tractor and Walkin' (For Your Love) (then titled "Boogie In Your Nose") debut as instrumentals in the spring, and have lyrics added by fall. Pickin' Up The Pieces also appears around this time (eg. at the "Severe Driving Problems" show by Mike & JB in March of '89), but does not enter regular WP rotation for another 2 years.

      It is around this time that Sunny becomes a full-time member of the band.

    • May 5: WP plays the first infamous "Cave" show in Dahlonega GA.
    • October 30-31: WP plays at the newly-reopened Georgia Theatre in Athens for the first time. The Georgia Theatre becomes their venue of choice in Athens for the next 4 years (WP plays there for the last time on December 31, 1993). 'Halloween treats' = Traffic's Shoot Out At The Fantasy Factory and Black Sabbath's Sweet Leaf (the latter a Halloween favorite for many years).
    • December 31: New Year's Eve show at the Cotton Club in Atlanta.

  • 1990:
    • March 8-17: WP tours Colorado (their "home away from home") for the first time, opening several shows for Oregon band Little Women (featuring Jerry Joseph, whose song Climb To Safety is covered by WP as a successful single in 1999). WP original Fishwater debuts during this tour.

      During 1990, WP also meet friends Blues Traveler and Phish for the first time.

    • Spring/Summer: More constant touring in the Southeast & the Northeast. WP debuts 3 more new originals around this time: instrumentals The Earth Will Swallow You and Sun Keep, and Dog Song (all 3 tunes are dropped from WP's repertoire by the time T Lavitz joins the band in early 1991, though Dog Song experiences a brief revival in the spring of 1992).
    • June 2: WP returns to "The Cave" in Dahlonega GA. This time, however, massive attendance results in the police shutting the show down towards the end of the second set.

      Around this time, the band drops Coconut from their repertoire as a result of incessant requests for the tune.

    • August 8-30: WP tours Northern California, Oregon, Washington, Wyoming, and Utah for the first time.
    • September: The band records a follow-up to Space Wrangler at John Keane's studio in Athens. These sessions include most of the songs that wind up on the "Mom's Kitchen" album: Rock, C Brown, The Last Straw, Pigeons, Love Tractor, Proving Ground, and Barstools & Dreamers, with the addition of A of D, Impossible, Machine, Liza's Apartment (L.a.), Conrad, Contentment Blues, and Holden Oversoul. This album is never released, though the Contentment Blues and Holden Oversoul from this recording are released as bonus tracks on a Capricorn reissue of Space Wrangler in 1992.
    • Fall: Constant touring of the Southeast and Northeast.

      October 31: At the Halloween show in Athens, the treat debut is Curtis Mayfield's Pusherman. They provide additional treats by dusting off songs they had not played in at least a year: Neil Young's Last Dance, and the crunchy 'Halloween treat' favorite, Sweet Leaf (by Black Sabbath). This show is also the first known performance of WP original Weight of the World.

      In November, another original, JB's Ribs & Whiskey is debuted, and in mid-December at the first known JB & Friends show, JB's Benefactor is debuted (and shows up occasionally at WP shows in 1991-2).

    • December 28-31: An unprecedented four-show run at the Cotton Club in Atlanta, a sign of the band's popularity in the Southeast. Guests at these shows include Col. Bruce Hampton and Paul Hammond.

  • 1991:
    • January: WP signs a six-record deal with newly-resurrected Capricorn Records. The second Keane studio album is scrapped in favor of recording with renowned Capricorn producer Johnny Sandlin.
    • February: Short east coast tour with Blues Traveler.

      On February 8, Dixie Dregs keyboardist T Lavitz, brought in by Phil Walden to play on WP's first record for Capricorn, sees WP perform for the first time in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

    • February/March: Widespread Panic records their self-titled Capricorn debut with T Lavitz on keys. Recording takes place at Emerald Sound Studios (Nashville), Kiva Studios (Memphis), and Duck Tape Music Studio (Decatur AL) with Johnny Sandlin producing. During this time, WP invites T Lavitz to join them on tour as a member of the band.
    • April 1: T Lavitz performs live with WP for the first time, with a 2 show run at the Georgia Theatre in Athens. New WP original Mercy (recorded for their Capricorn debut) is played live for the first time at this show.

    • Through mid-July, WP tours sporadically throughout the Southeast, including a stop at the first Super Jam in Athens on June 2.

      June 26: WP, along with Athens friends Bloodkin, White Buffalo, Jimmy Herring, and others, plays a benefit show at the Georgia Theatre under the name Bar Tab. The Bar Tab shows (several more occur in the next few years) also give these bands a chance to perform together in a more relaxed atmosphere, allowing for casual improvisation and the testing out of new material. Within a few years, the need for the Bar Tab alias becomes more crucial for hometown appearances, as WP's popularity continues to grow.

      This show also features the first full band performance of Pickin' Up The Pieces.

    • July 20 - August 4: WP begins touring in support of their new album, with dates in Colorado and in the Southeast.

      July 30: Widespread Panic (a.k.a. Mom's Kitchen) is released on Capricorn Records. The album includes: Walkin', Pigeons, Mercy, Rock, C. Brown, Love Tractor, Weight of the World, I'm Not Alone, Barstools & Dreamers, Proving Ground, The Last Straw, Van Morrison's Send Your Mind, and Bloodkin's Makes Sense To Me.

    • August 14 - August 30: Short tour of the Northeast opening for the likes of Hot Tuna, Blues Traveler, and Phish.
    • September 2-3: Two invitation-only shows (opening for Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit) at the Georgia Theatre are filmed by Billy Bob Thornton for WP's first video release, Live At The Georgia Theatre. A third (public) show on September 4 is recorded by Johnny Sandlin for a live album, but does not get released. During this run, Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit also record their outstanding debut album.
    • September 8 - October 31: Nationwide tour opening for Blues Traveler (the tour-ending show at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City is a solid set, but does not feature the traditional WP 'Halloween treats').
    • November 3-30: More touring of the Southeast, and on Nov. 28-30, they open 3 shows for Drivin' 'n Cryin' at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. These shows wrap up four solid months on the road, dubbed "The Punisher Tour" by the band.
    • December 31: New Year's show at the Georgia Theatre. First known guest appearance of Daniel Hutchens on stage at a WP show. Danny & Eric Carter of Bloodkin are highly respected by WP, and they pay tribute by covering a number of Bloodkin songs. In fact, some of WP's most popular recordings end up being Bloodkin's Makes Sense To Me, Henry Parsons Died, and Can't Get High.

  • 1992:
    • January: WP heads back to Duck Tape Studio in Decatur, Alabama to begin work on their next album, with Johnny Sandlin producing. These sessions (with T Lavitz on keys) are not released.
    • February 4: Space Wrangler is re-issued on Capricorn, with 3 bonus tracks: Contentment Blues and Holden Oversoul from the September 1990 Keane Studio sessions, and Me & The Devil Blues / Heaven, an outtake from the early 1991 Sandlin sessions for Mom's Kitchen with T Lavitz.
    • February 7-8: T Lavitz plays his last shows with WP in Macon GA, citing the grueling tour schedule as his reason for leaving. These two shows also mark the debut of WP classics Better Off, Diner, Wondering, and Hatfield.
    • February 21 & 27: Two shows in Auburn AL and Atlanta mark the final performances of WP without keyboards (though on 9.18.94 at a JB & Friends show in Monroe GA, Mike, JB, Dave, Todd, & Sunny perform together without a keyboard player). About this time, while meeting with Capricorn in Nashville, WP runs into old friend John Hermann ("Jojo") of the Oxford, Mississippi band Beanland. As Beanland is about to take a hiatus, WP recruits Jojo to take over as keyboard player in the band.
    • The February 27 show in Atlanta also marks the return of the WP instrumental L.a. to the live repertoire (as the show's opener!). Not played since their New Year's run at the Cotton Club in December 1990, L.a. had been dropped along with several other original tunes when T Lavitz joined the band in early 1991. This begins a stellar spring run of original tune resurrections and debuts.

    • March 4: WP plays a show at the Georgia Theatre billed as "The Pintos (formerly The Cornbobbers)" opening for Tower of Power. As an audition of sorts, Jojo Hermann sits in with WP for this acoustic set.
    • March 13-14: These two shows at the Georgia Theatre to kick off the spring tour are Jojo's first shows as a member of Widespread Panic. Ironically, his first "official" show is 2 shows later at "Herman's Hideaway", on March 21 in Denver, CO.

      The March 13 show features the debut of Dream Song, and the March 14 show features the return of originals Disco and Dog Song, which had been shelved when T Lavitz joined the band in early 1991, and Pleas, which hadn't been played in nearly 4 years (and never actually played by the full band until now).

    • March 19 - May 31: Spring tour of the West, Canada, and the Southeast. First tour with Jojo, and more tune resurrections: Tie Your Shoes, which had been shelved in late 1989, and Postcard, which had disappeared along with L.a., Disco, and Dog Song by early 1991. Dog Song returned with a new arrangement to accomodate Jojo's keyboards, but was unfortunately dropped from the repertoire again by the end of the tour.

      Spring tour wraps up with an appearance at Super Jam II in Athens on May 30.

    • June 18 - August 9: Summer tour of the Southeast, Northeast, and Midwest.

      July 9 - 12: WP joins friends Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Blues Traveler, Phish and The Spin Doctors on the first H.O.R.D.E. tour.

      August 6-9: Second leg of the H.O.R.D.E. tour, with WP, Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Blues Traveler, Bela Fleck & The Flecktones, and The Spin Doctors.

    • August 27 - November 14: Fall tour of the west, Southeast, and Northeast U.S. During this tour, WP debuts an instrumental version of what later becomes Pilgrims.

      September 1: Live At The Georgia Theatre video is released on the Capricorn label. The video features live versions of Send Your Mind, Pigeons, Walkin' (For Your Love), Makes Sense To Me, Rock, and a special version of Mercy performed by John Bell and Samantha Woods (of White Buffalo) as a duet.

      October 5-6: Two shows at the Georgia Theatre are multi-track recorded by Johnny Sandlin for a potential live album on Capricorn, but these sessions are never officially released.

      October 30-31: Two Halloween shows at the Georgia Theatre in Athens. The 'Halloween treat' debut is especially sweet, a cover of Funkadelic's instrumental Maggot Brain.

      At this show, the WP original Coconut gets played for the first time in over 2 years, having been dropped due to incessant fan requests for the tune (which the band had been obliging, eventually getting tired of playing the song). Appropriately, it becomes Coconut 'candy', only handed out at Halloween for the next 5 or so years.

      Additional treats include six cover tunes that hadn't been performed in at least 2 years: Black Sabbath and Sweet Leaf (both by Black Sabbath), Last Dance (by Neil Young), Lawyers, Guns & Money and Werewolves Of London (both by Warren Zevon).

    • November 15: Widespread Panic heads to Muscle Shoals Sound Studio in Sheffield, Alabama to begin recording their next album (Everyday), with Johnny Sandlin producing. They're in the studio for roughly 5 weeks.
    • December 30-31: New Year's shows at the Georgia Theatre. WP plays Pilgrims with lyrics for the first time on the 30th.

  • 1993:
    • January 13 - March 6: Winter tour of the Southeast, Northeast, and Midwest. WP debuts a new instrumental titled "Apologies to George Porter, Jr." (George Porter, Jr. is the bassist for The Meters) early in the tour. Words are added later, at which point it becomes known as Rebirtha.
    • March 9: Everyday is released on Capricorn Records. This first album with Jojo on keys includes: Pleas, Hatfield, Wondering, Papa's Home, Diner, Better Off, Pickin' Up The Pieces, Postcard, Dream Song, and Bloodkin's Henry Parsons Died.
    • April 8 - May 21: Spring tour of the Southeast, Northeast, and Midwest. WP original Little Kin is debuted on this tour.

      May 21: WP headlines at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta for the first time.

    • June: During a month off the road, WP does makes an Athens appearance at Super Jam III on June 13 and members of the band take part in the second "Bar Tab" show, at which they debut 2 new original tunes, Ain't Life Grand and Blackout Blues.
    • July 2 - August 15: The second (and final, for WP) H.O.R.D.E. tour, with Col. Bruce Hampton & the Aquarium Rescue Unit, Blues Traveler, Allgood, The Samples, and Big Head Todd & The Monsters. WP original Heroes appears for the first time during this tour.
    • September 2 - November 25: Fall tour of the entire U.S., ending with a Thanksgiving show at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta. This tour marks the first known appearance of WP instrumental ditty West Virginia.

      October 31: WP finds themselves far from home for Halloween this year, playing a show in Missoula MT. The 'Halloween treats' this year don't include any debuts, but WP does dust off the smoking instrumental B of D, which they hadn't played since September of 1992. They also pull out some semi-traditional Halloween treats: Coconut, Sweet Leaf, and Lawyers, Guns & Money. In addition, this show also features the second-ever performance of David Earle Johnson's Time Is Free, inspired by Col. Bruce Hampton.

    • December: WP & Vic Chesnutt record the brute. Nine High A Pallet disc at John Keane's Studio in Athens.

      December 30-31: WP plays New Year's shows in Athens for the last time, also making their last "official" appearance at the Georgia Theatre.

  • 1994:
    • February 10 - April 9: Winter/Spring tour of the Southeast, Northeast, and Midwest, preceded on January 27 by the third "Bar Tab" show in Athens, where new original Raise The Roof is debuted. During the tour, another original song, Airplane, is played for the first time.
    • May 2: Pre-production work begins on Ain't Life Grand at John Keane's Studio in Athens. It goes so well that WP decides to finish the work there with Keane producing, rather than return to Johnny Sandlin's studios in Alabama.
    • June: During a 3 month break from the road, WP plays Super Jam IV in Athens on June 12, and the City Stages Festival in Birmingham, AL on June 19.
    • June 30 - August 6: Summer tour of the West, Midwest, and Southeast. One new WP original, Havin' A Ball shows up, only to be canned after just 3 plays.
    • August 28: Album release party for Ain't Life Grand at Smith's Olde Bar in Atlanta.
    • September 6: Ain't Life Grand is released on Capricorn Records, and debuts at #85 on the Billboard charts, due in part to WP's successful version of Can't Get High, written by their friend Daniel Hutchens of Bloodkin. Album tracks are: Little Kin, Ain't Life Grand, Airplane, Can't Get High, Heroes, Raise The Roof, Junior, L.a., Blackout Blues, Jack, Fishwater, and a hidden track, a solo acoustic guitar piece by Mike Houser titled Waiting For The Wind To Blow Down The Tree In My Backyard.
    • September 22 - December 3: Fall tour of the U.S. Rebirtha with lyrics gets played for the first time during this tour.

      October 31: Halloween in Evanston, Illinois. The 'Halloween treat' debut is a cover of Vic Chesnutt's Let's Get Down To Business. Traditional treats Coconut, Sweet Leaf, and Werewolves Of London are also handed out.

      November 13: WP headlines at the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco for the first time.

      November 22: WP makes their network television debut, performing Ain't Life Grand live at Moorehouse College in Atlanta for Good Morning America. Charles Gibson incorrectly introduces the song as Airplane.

    • December 31: Too big for the Georgia Theatre, WP moves to the Coliseum in Macon GA for New Year's Eve. Bloodkin opens the show, and Danny & Eric sit in with WP for the encore.

  • 1995:
    • January 18: The fourth Bar Tab show in Athens, which sees the debut live performance of the WP / Vic Chesnutt collaboration brute., as well as the first performances of WP originals Burned Faceless and Gradle.
    • March 21 - June 3: Spring tour of the U.S. WP original Radio Child is debuted, and Gimme triumphantly returns to the repertoire after a 2-year absence.

      April 6: WP performs Can't Get High on Late Night With Conan O'Brien (with a 3-piece horn section from the Max Weinberg Seven).

    • July 7 - August 6: Summer tour of the Midwest and Western U.S. Original tune Tall Boy first appears on this tour.

      August 4: Before a show at the Vic Theatre in Chicago, WP soundchecks Van Morrison's And It Stoned Me, which is recorded for the NORML benefit album Hempilation (released September 26, 1995).

    • September 8 - October 31: Fall tour of the Southeast, with brief ventures into the Northeast and Texas. On this tour, several new originals are debuted: You Got Yours, Glory, Big Woolly Mammoth, and instrumentals Happy and Galleon.

      September 12: Nine High A Pallet, by brute., the Widespread Panic / Vic Chesnutt collaboration, is released on Capricorn records. Album tracks are: Westport Ferry, Blight, Good Morning Mr. Hard On, I Ain't Crazy Enough, Protein Drink / Sewing Machine, Let's Get Down To Business, George Wallace, PC, Snowblind, Miserable, Bastards In Bubbles, Cataclysm, and Blight Remix.

      October 30-31: With "official" hometown appearances on the decline, WP plays 2 historic homecoming shows in Athens at the newly-built Classic Center (on the site of the Mad Hatter Ballroom, where they played their first show). Guests include John Keane, David Blackmon, and Daniel Hutchens & Eric Carter of Bloodkin. The 'Halloween treat' debut is a cover of Bloodkin's Rotgut, though the show is highlighted by the unshelving of WP original Vacation and a few covers (Cream Puff War (The Grateful Dead), Dirty Business (New Riders of the Purple Sage), and Chainsaw City (Jerry Joseph)), all of which had not been played in several years. Coconut gets played, but the "Halloween-only" tradition was broken earlier in 1995 with two rare performances.

      WP's last performance in Athens prior to this date was at Super Jam IV on June 12, 1994. Their next public performance in Athens would not be for another 2.5 years.

    • December 29-31: Short run of New Year's shows through Chattanooga TN, Spartanburg SC, and culminating at the New Year's Eve show at the Coliseum in Macon GA. John Keane and David Blackmon guest.

  • 1996:
  • 1997:
    • February 4: Bombs & Butterflies is released on Capricorn Records. Album tracks are: Radio Child, Tall Boy, Gradle, Glory, Rebirtha, You Got Yours, Happy, Greta, and two cover tunes, Vic Chesnutt's Aunt Avis (with Vic guesting) and Pops Staples' Hope In A Hopeless World, both of which were successful singles for the band.
    • March 12 - May 10: Spring tour of the U.S. New originals Dyin' Man and instrumental Party At Your Mama's House are debuted.

      March 14: To prevent leg and back pain, Mike Houser returns to playing seated (he started out playing seated in the mid-80s), causing mysterious outrage and confusion among some "fans", and baffling concert attendees for years to come...

    • June 19: WP performs Aunt Avis on Late Night With Conan O'Brien. This same weekend (6/21), the video for Aunt Avis, filmed in April by Billy Bob Thornton, debuts on VH1.
    • June 21 - July 26: Summer tour of the Midwest and Southeast. During this tour, the instrumental precursor to Bear's Gone Fishin' first appears, as well as the return of Big Woolly Mammoth with a new arrangement. Another original, It Was You is debuted, but only played 7 times before being dropped from the repertoire.
    • September 5-27: Fall tour (first leg) of the Northeast, Midwest, and Southeast. For the first time, Todd Nance takes lead vocal duties on a WP song with the debut of You'll Be Fine.
    • October 22 - November 29: Fall tour (second leg) of the Southeast, Midwest, and Southwestern U.S., culminating with 2 Thanksgiving shows at the Warfield Theater in San Francisco CA.

      October 31: WP begins a new yearly tradition, playing Halloween at UNO Lakefront Arena in New Orleans, with local friends Galactic opening the show. More classic rock 'Halloween treat' debuts: Blue Öyster Cult's Godzilla, Long Live Rock by The Who, L.A. Woman by The Doors, and Bill Withers' funky soul hit Use Me. WP also dusts off Heaven by The Talking Heads, which they hadn't played in over 2 years.

      Beginning in 1997, Coconut's "Halloween-only" status essentially comes to an end, and it eventually returns to a somewhat regular slot in WP's repertoire. It is played here though, and does continue to show up during Halloween concerts.

    • December 29-31 & January 2, 1998: The second New Year's run at Atlanta's Fox Theatre. Highlights include guest appearances by Tinsley Ellis, David Blackmon, Rev. Jeff Mosier, Col. Bruce Hampton, Count M'Butu, John Keane, Randall Bramblett, and Eric Sanders, plus a special first set on the 31st in which the band gives the audience a WP "history lesson", depicting the evolution of the band over the years. The show on January 2 was added at the request of Ticketmaster after the majority of tickets for the first 3 shows were sold to fans through the band's mail order.

  • 1998:
  • 1999:
  • 2000:

This page maintained by Bryan Irby (Additions / comments / corrections are welcomed).
Many thanks to Horace Moore, Tom Ferrell, William Bond, Scott Holcomb, Ted Rockwell, and Ben Tanen for their input and discussions regarding this timeline. Thanks also to The Panicle, distributed between 1992-1997 by Fred Adams, and the Moontimes newsletter from Brown Cat, Inc.

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