The members of Widespread Panic
seem to have contented themselves with the notion of the band's audience being exactly what it is. Given the records they've issued in the last couple of years, they no longer seem ambitious about growing to reach anyone else. (For one thing, when was the last time the band did a studio recording?) This is too bad, because the world of popular music is almost always one of diminishing returns: if a band has no ambition, many of its own fans will eventually grow tired and look elsewhere for excitement. Live at Myrtle Beach
is a rote set by a band that is increasingly becoming rote in its method and expression. If you are a "spreadhead," there may be something here for you in these live versions of songs that have been trotted out before along with a couple of interesting covers -- most notably "Dirty Business," originally done by the New Riders of the Purple Sage
. The other cover is Robert Johnson
's "Stop Breakin' Down Blues," which is workmanlike and doesn't get to the heights it could on a more inspired set. Ultimately, this is exactly what you'd expect, two discs of Widespread Panic live, doing just what they do without really reaching for more.