Inspired by the comments from last week’s Sevens entry on David Bromberg’s “Sharon,” may we present “Let’s Get The Show On The Road Again.” A number of you noted that Widespread Panic covers “Sharon,” and how the band have a long tradition of introducing interesting and varied covers to their live stable. Indeed they do. Over the past fourteen years I have seen the band cover artists as disparate as fIrehose, Talking Heads, The Meters, Bill Withers, Neil Young, Vic Chesnutt, Tom Waits, etc.

One track I most definitely have Panic to thank for turning me onto is Michael Stanley Band’s “Let’s Get The Show On The Road Again,” a track that, after checking, the band has covered almost every year since 1985. Admittedly, I know virtually nothing about Michael Stanley (Cleveland’s answer to Bob Seeger?), or his band, but the tune grabbed me over a decade ago after first hearing J.B. impart the opening lines. They sound both like an invitation and a warning. Lyrically, and instrumentally, the tune conveys a seedy, tired, and foreboding view of 1970s excess, success and easy hubris.

Also: Since we’re on the subject, here’s two tracks from one of my favorite wsp shows from April 3, 1996.


MP3: Michael Stanley Band :: Let’s Get The Show On The Road Again
Amazon: Michael Stanley Band – Right Back at Ya (1971-1983)

+ Download your music DRM free via eMusic’s 25 free MP3 no risk trial offer

After the jump: Since we’re on the subject; 2 tracks from wsp, April 3, 1996.

MP3: Widespread Panic :: Arleen>Satisfied>Arleen (4/3/96)
MP3: Widespread Panic :: –> Vacation (4/3/96)

6 Responses to “Let’s Get The Show On The Road Again…”

  1. Stumbled across your blog due to the Panic references. Here’s something else I recently across while googling the Blossom Music Center in Ohio:

    “The Michael Stanley Band, intensely popular in Northeast Ohio but virtually unknown elsewhere, set an attendance record of 74,404 at the venue with four sold out shows in August 1982.”

  2. Michael Stanley had some other solid tunes, “My Town”, “He Can’t Love You”,”Baby If You Wanna Dance”, “Lover.” Michael Stanley is a staple of Cleveland radio and of our hearts.

  3. widespread played a chilling version of this song last summer at Radio City Music Hall. one of my favorites.

    Great post. love the lyrics to this song

    Let’s Get The Show On The Road
    (Michael Stanley)

    Let’s get the show on the road
    At the curtain take a bow
    New Haven just a rendevous to take you to
    A lover who was then but never now

    And Susan paid the lady
    Who called the players’ song
    Just a figurine of stagehand reveries
    I guess up-and-coming can’t be that wrong

    Let’s get the show on the road, babe
    The spotlight’s on the stage
    Somehow it seems that I heard these words before
    Did you forget to turn the page?

    Just remember what they told you
    About how the show goes on
    How can you come back if you’ve never been away?
    How can you sing without a song?

    And today is for sale and it’s all you can afford
    Buy your own admission
    The whole things got you bored
    Well the Lord chooses the good ones
    And the bad ones use the Lord

    Let’s get the show on the road, babe
    Won’t you take a look a round?
    It seems so easy climbing to the top
    You better know the way back down

    I can’t believe you really stumbled
    But I always knew you’d fall
    It seems so easy to say I knew you when
    I’d rather it was not at all

    And today is for sale and it’s all you can afford
    Buy your own admission
    The whole things got you bored
    Well the Lord chooses the good ones
    And the bad ones use the Lord

  4. Nice post. After being selected as a panelist for the 2007 Pop Conference in Seattle, Washington, I prepared, presented, and defended a paper titled “Greatest Hints: How Michael Stanley Almost Made Cleveland Famous,” examining the role the civic image of an artist’s hometown plays in their attempt at national stardom, focusing on late ’70s and early ’80s Cleveland and the Michael Stanley Band.

    Here are links to my paper, along with my thoughts on the conference:

  5. This was the song that opened the last night of K94 in Norfolk, Va., back in the early ’80s before it went to an urban format. A good ol’ boy anthem.

  6. I remember looking for Michael Stanley’s records in Rome (where I’m from) back in the late eighties: a quote from My Town stood as an epigraph at the beginning of Stephen King’s IT, my favorite book when I was a kid. Stanley’s stuff was impossible to find, actually: then I have just forgot about it and it’s weird to finally hear how it sounds like. Thanks!

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