6.30.06 Wiltern Theatre, Los Angeles, CAHere's my mini-review...
Set 1: Disco > Papa Legbra > Goodpeople > When The Clowns Come Home, Rebirtha > C. Brown, Dyin' Man > Holden Oversoul > Doreatha > None of Us Are Free
Set 2: Lawyers, Guns, And Money > Diner > Stop Breakin' Down Blues > I'm Not Alone > Tie Your Shoes > Drums** > Junior > Pilgrims > Climb To Safety
Encore: Trouble > One Arm Steve
** with Matt Abts on percussion
Change100 found a great parking spot one block from the Wiltern Theatre. The crowd was late to show up and we wandered up pretty close. We could have chosen a spot that was the equivalent of fourth or fifth row, but those areas are always super crowded in general admission shows. We found some space a little farther back from the front of the stage.
I never saw a concert at the Wiltern before. Capacity is about 4,000 with a balcony. The entire floor is general admission. The Wiltern reminded me a little bit of the Warfield Theatre in San Francisco. The crowd was an interesting mix. Most of the cool trendy music industry types were across town at the Greek Theatre seeing Radiohead. The rest of the crowd was peppered with California hippies, Southern transplants, and a decent amount of heads on tour including a handful of wookies. A couple of chicks that drove up from Orange County were nearby us. We suspected that someone gave them the tickets.
The band started out slow. Although Disco is a rockin' tune and Papa Legbra is a fan favorite, the crowd didn't start grooving until the third tune. Goodpeople > Clowns Come Home are two of the few songs off of Earth to America that I actually like. John Keane continued his run with Panic playing both guitar and pedal steel.
The band fed off the crowd for the remainder of the set as George McConnell stepped up with some magnificent guitar playing. JoJo and George were the MVPs of the first set. We had a great spot and were in the center about 20 people back. Plus the show was indoors so the sound was crisper and clearer that an outdoor venue. I could keep my eye on George and pay more attention to his playing. After seeing him hold his own with Trey at Vegoose last year, I developed a new-found respect for George's playing. Rumors have been circulating whether or not he'll be with the band in the future. Regardless of what you've heard, George brought his best shit to Hollyweird. He and JoJo carried the band during the first set.
Rebirtha > C. Brown were the highlights of the entire show. George also sang on Doreatha.
The boys opened up Set 2 with a rare cover of Warren Zevon's Lawyers, Guns, and Money. The crowd recognized that they were getting a treat. Diner had everyone singing along. The jam out into Stop Breakin' was dark and as Daddy would explain, "Pure sickness."
One of the things I love about Panic is that at any given moment, they can take a sharp turn and take you to a very dark place. Matt Abts sat in during drums and I particularly dug the bass and drums jam with Dave Schools. I dunno if I was really wasted at Red Rocks or that he was drowned out by three guitars onstage, but the Joker commented that he barely heard Schools during the Colorado shows last weekend. During the second set Schools and JB stepped up.
The intensity picked up during the final three songs of the set. Junior > Pilgrims > Climb To Safety is an example on how you close out a set. I called Climb to Safety. Actually I had been calling it the last three shows I saw. It seemed obvious to me that they were going to bust out the crowd favorite.
The night before, American Idol Taylor Hicks came out and played harmonica. I expected a Clay Aiken sighting and didn't get one. Although I'm not a fan of Trouble, I freakin' love hearing One Arm Steve. The boys closed the show with that one. I wish I saw that set at Red Rocks.
I left the Wiltern extremely impressed. It's a cool place to see a show even though he drinks are pricey and on par with NYC prices. I dropped $17 on a water and two beers.
The Red Rocks shows were average and they're playing and song selection inconsistent. Since they were at Red Rocks, the shows were special and they could get away with not putting out their best efforts.
Alas, Panic showed up in sunbaked Hollyweird ready to show the West Coast that they can still bring it.