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WIDESPREAD PANIC/LIVE-LIGHT FUSE GET AWAY (Capricorn 314 558 145-2)

After last yearís excellent "Bombs And Butterflies" release (see my best of í97 listing), Widespread Panic follows up with a 2 CD (2-1/2 hour) live set. This one succeeds, perhaps better than any other thus far, in capturing the true feeling of any jam band performance. If youíve never seen Widespread Panic, Blues Traveler, The Dave Matthews Band, Phish, Los Lobos, Bruce Hornsby & The Range, or The Grateful Dead then itís hard to explain what Iím talking about but this set can serve as an introduction if an actual performance isnít available.

The whole jam band scene continues to grow as both The Dave Matthews Band and Phish draw ever larger audiences into the scene. These new recruits soon dig a little deeper and find bands like Blues Traveler and Widespread Panic.

This set jams from start to finish with almost every track going over 6 minutes and 4 that even shoot past the 10 minute mark. This is Widespread Panic at their, shamefully underrated, best. If youíre not very familiar with the band, this is the place to start.

Iím not going to get into reviewing individual tracks here because thatís not what jam bands are about. Suffice it to say, "Light Fuse Get Away" is a strong candidate for my Best of í98 list and Iíd highly recommend it to any rock fan. I donít understand why the band hasnít found a much larger audience yet but until they do Iíll just enjoy seeing them play theaters.