a few last thoughts on Targhee Panic

By Jim Stanford on July 13, 2011

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The pilgrims go wild on the hillside. Click to enlarge.

As we look ahead to Sharon Jones, Grace Potter, Michael Franti, Little Feat and the Funky Meters at Targhee Fest this weekend, a little housecleaning is in order.

In hindsight, it’s a shame I had to post a review of the Widespread Panic festival at Targhee before the last show, as Sunday night provided some of the most compelling musical moments. I had heard from veterans of Panic tours that the last night of the run is always the best, and although I lacked the energy to enjoy it fully, they were right.

“Y’all got religion?” bassist Dave Schools growled, introducing Jerry Joseph to the stage. An old friend who has collaborated with the band often, Joseph led Panic through an incandescent rendition of his “Light is Like Water,” a galloping paean to faith, fate and “whatever gets you through the night.”

“Baby, love is like water / And water is just like light / A little faith and a paddle / Will surely get you, and all god’s children / Through the night,” Joseph sang.

Over the last 20 years, no touring musician has performed as often in the Tetons as Jerry Joseph, and on this warm summer night the stage belonged to him. He burns with such fiery intensity, and the interplay between him, John Bell and Jimmy Herring on guitar was scintillating.

Teton Gravity Research filmed all three concerts in high definition, and Panic is set to release DVDs and downloads from the weekend. That song alone is worth the price of an audio or video recording.

Sunset toward the end of the first set Sunday.

Joseph’s cameo came during the second set. Earlier, with the sun setting, a sliver of crescent moon appeared in the sky as Panic played “Last Straw.” Orange light streamed through the spruce trees to the west. Overhead, paraglider Matt Combs did a spiral roll and came in for a landing behind the stage.

It was on this night that the aforementioned melding of mountains and music reached its peak. Late in the marathon second set, sandwiched between two halves of Traffic’s “Low Spark,” Panic romped through the high country ode “Surprise Valley.”

“Kiss the mountain air we breathe goodbye, and it’s time to fly,” Bell sang, as the weekend drew near a close.

The band beamed its lights on the aspen trees on the hillside. A creek formed by melting snow on the ski slopes caught the light. The aspen leaves shimmered in the breeze. Spirit moves in all things, indeed.

Afterward, guitarist Herring confided that the musicians had struggled with the altitude upon arriving at Targhee. Drummer Todd Nance took oxygen after every song the first night, and the temperature, probably near 50 by show’s end, was cold for a band used to swampy heat down South.

While Panic had been at elevation, touring Colorado and New Mexico, for about two weeks, Targhee was a new height, Herring said. By the third night, everything had fallen into place. The look in his eye said he had come away impressed. “You did not undersell this place,” he said with a smile.

The lingering wail of his guitar no doubt stayed with fans for some time. As it has done for 25 years, the music of Widespread Panic and friends will continue to get us through the night.

J.B. gets into a Targhee state of mind. Click to enlarge.

————————————————
ain’t life Grand (July 3, 2011)
an interview with Jimmy Herring (June 29, 2011)
for resort owner, Panic fest a ‘dream so clear’ (June 21, 2011)
Heaven: Panic to play 3 nights at Targhee (March 28, 2011)

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Posted under Music, Ski Resorts

9 Comments so far

  1. js July 13, 2011 6:26 pm

    Some of you may have seen this when I posted the link last week, but for me it sums up so much of the humorous atmosphere of the weekend: http://youtu.be/cIjPq_KWHWc

  2. tom July 13, 2011 8:15 pm

    make that 30 years for Jerry Joseph.

  3. Aaron July 13, 2011 11:27 pm

    Ok we get it Jim, Panic was awesome. How bout some reporting on some other stuff. I used to expect stories that didn’t make it in the Daily or Weekly. Lets get back Underground!

  4. js July 13, 2011 11:32 pm

    Yep, Tom, you would know.
    Also, here’s TGR’s “Surprise Valley” — http://vimeo.com/26388825
    The percussion always has been the heartbeat of Widespread Panic, and this night Sunny went nuts.
    Aaron, if I set out to do something, I’m not going to do it half-assed. Besides, it’s summertime. There ain’t much news happening, anyway.

  5. D July 14, 2011 9:48 am

    JS
    I will take as many of these post as you can write.

  6. Brad July 14, 2011 10:28 am

    Aaron, see Jim’s Lower Valley article below. This is the type of coverage that should happen in a “newsless” summer.

  7. Christian July 18, 2011 10:31 pm

    Hey Jim — thanks much for the WSP hook-ups. You helped make a weekend at the Ghee that Hannah and I will never forget! Here’s a blog post I put together with various videos and audio podcasts from the 3-night stand in Alta: http://podcastcafe.org/blog. Enjoy and paddle on!

  8. Christian July 18, 2011 10:34 pm

    and another webpage of mine with several WSP shows for download, including the last summer’s Red Rocks and the recent 25th anniversary run in Atlanta: http://podcastcafe.org/livearchive/

  9. kevin p. July 19, 2011 5:48 am

    The Band has been known to say, “Never miss a Sunday show”…they were right:)

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