After Jerry Garcia shuffled off this mortal coil, Deadheads were lost. Without their affable, portly leader, who would the great unwashed masses follow? There have been several successors to the jam band throne: Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Galactic, and Rusted Root all garnered dedicated audiences of tie-dye-loving, sandal-wearing neo-hippies. But Widespread Panic comes closest to sharing the bittersweet legacy of the Dead.
Both bands are known for touring constantly and playing songs that extend well past the five-minute mark. And both also share a tragic, lineup-altering history. The Dead lost its lead singer at the end of a long, strange trip. Widespread lost its influential lead guitarist, Michael Houser, midstream. He gave the group its name and composed some of its most popular songs, including Porch Song, Vacation, and Ain't Life Grand. Although he succumbed to pancreatic cancer in 2002, current members of the band have confessed they hear his phantom guitar during their swirling sonic jams. Maybe you will hear his ghostly strumming somewhere in the bands jazzy Southern rock ditties tonight at the Fillmore.
Tue., Nov. 6, 7:30 p.m., 2007