Widespread Panic returns to Stephens Auditorium


Courtesy of Iowa State Center

“Widespread Panic”performed at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 26, at CY Stephens Auditorium. 

Melissa Garrett

With influences from blues and Latin music to southern rock, jazz and R&B, Widespread Panic has written their own rules of rock ‘n’ roll for more than 28 years.

Widespread Panic returns to Ames at 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 29, to perform at CY Stephens Auditorium for one night only. 

According to the Everyday Companion Online, an online catalog of the concerts and songs “Widespread Panic” has played since 1985. This will be the tenth time that “Widespread Panic” returns to Ames for a performance. The band offers a wide variety of music from a repertoire of more than 200 songs. 

Domingo Ortiz, Widespread Panic drummer and vocalist, left his Texas roots and became part of the band in Athens, Ga., initially attracted to the diversity of the band and its unique artists.

“Music has no boundaries. It’s just dimensional and that’s what interested me about Widespread Panic,” Ortiz said. “It’s a unique band. Everyone gets to have a voice musically.”

Ortiz said the band’s diverse fan base ranges from ages 16 to 70 and is a crucial element of Widespread Panic’s success, since the band is known for having different, improvised set lists for each show.

“It’s not just the same rock ‘n’ roll night after night. We like to give [the audience] different songs [on] different nights and keep it interesting for everybody,” Ortiz said.

“It’s just like an artist painting. You never want to paint the same thing over again because it’ll get too mundane, too monotonous. So we try to mix it up as much as we can.”

Widespread Panic is always a different experience for the fans, according to Mark North, general manager at the Iowa State Center.

“The fans that come to see Widespread Panic are here to listen to music and have fun,” North said. “These guys are gifted musicians [and] they put on a good show. It’s usually a good night for everybody.”

Roughly 110 days a year are spent traveling and touring.

“Traveling is a big part of our lives and we love it,” Ortiz said.

In describing Widespread Panic’s style, Ortiz said, “It’s not that kind of music that everyone really likes to hear. It’s not playing on the radio, so we sustain ourselves by touring and how you do that is to have a good fan base. It’s very diversified, along with our music.”

Widespread Panic will host a food drive in Ames as part of their “Panic Fans for Food” initiative, where audience members are invited to bring canned goods or monetary donations for people in need. With a goal of “feeding people through music,” Widespread Panic’s initiative has raised more than $81,000 and provided over 9,600 pounds of food for communities across the country.

“I think if folks have never checked out Widespread Panic they owe it to themselves to check out a show,” Ortiz said. “Maybe bring some friends, bring canned goods and expect to hear some good rock ‘n’ roll music that they probably haven’t heard in a while.”

Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and are also available for purchase at the Stephens Auditorium ticket office from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

For more information on Widespread Panic’s performance and ticket prices, visit the Iowa State Center’s website. For additional information on the band and tour dates, visit Widespread Panic’s website.