Widespread Panic & DJ Logic

Oct. 24-25

North Charleston Coliseum

It was April 2002 when I finally got what I’d been jonesing for since my freshman year of college. Standing on the lawn in Raleigh, N.C., at the end of a three-day run across two states, I heard those first strains of the Guess Who’s most rockin’ cut, “No Sugar Tonight.”

“A bag of goodies and a bottle of wine/We’re gonna get it on right tonight!” snarled John Bell. At 21 years old, it was my anthem.

Then there’s that one other tune that gives me goosebumps like no other — “Driving Song,” a Panic original with that subtle but perfect, “A bowl for the cat, a bowl for the dog, a bowl for me.”

So last Friday night, six years later and no “Sugars” since, I couldn’t help it. It didn’t matter that I was there working, chatting it up with the staff, and carrying a $2,000 camera around, five feet from J.B.’s dusty boots on stage. They opened with “Driving.” With a full-on monkey grin, I took pictures, threw my hands in the air, jumped up and down, got stared down by a security guard, and took more pictures. But then … no. They wouldn’t play that song — not sandwiched with “Driving” to open up a two-night stand? That would be ridiculous. But they did it — there was no sugar in my coffee — and there I was with a camera in my hand.

What could I do but take my clothes off? There was no lawn mud to paint myself like a warpath Indian and trip out into dance-space-heaven, but what did I care? My shirt, pants, and sanity came off right there in front and I shook violently until I reached a fetal position and sheer rock ‘n’ roll ecstasy.

After J.B.’s deepest “bop, bodda baw, bop boddas!!” we segued back into “Driving” and I regained composure. From the “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys” on night one to the “Ribs and Whiskey,” “Rock,” and “I Walk on Gilded Splinters” on Saturday, all that fist pumping and cock-out-rocking was more than justified.

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