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Lynyrd Skynyrd brings masterful southern rock to Massachusetts ~ A review of Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Comcast Center on July 1, 2010
Lynyrd Skynyrd brings masterful southern rock to Massachusetts
A review of Lynyrd Skynyrd at the Comcast Center on July 1, 2010
The biker chaps, tattoos, and Confederate flags were out in force Thursday night as the spirit of southern rock swept over the Comcast Center in anticipation of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s visit. The air of an upcoming Independence Day added a sense of patriotism which would gracefully complement the ambiance of southern pride as the night played out its course. And when it had, one thing was clear: Lynyrd Skynyrd know how to electrify a crowd. From start to finish of their lengthy set, the level of energy palpable in the venue was simply insane.
As soon as Bret Michaels concluded, a buzz of excitement filled the air as fans waited for the legends of southern rock. A white sheet hid the stage while it was set up, and as soon as the lights dimmed again, the place erupted. It’s doubtful that so many people have ever screamed so enthusiastically at a white sheet. Finally the sheet dropped, revealing Lynyrd Skynyrd as they opened with “Workin’ For MCA”. Guitarist Michael Matejka took the honors of first solo, and wasted no time producing a dazzling melody as his fingers danced across the frets. Fans then got a taste of the latest album, last September’s God & Guns with “Skynyrd Nation”. It has a much more mainstream sound than the band’s older material with its heavy riffs and fillers, yet retains some of that defining southern element through vocalist Johnny Van Zant’s gruff voice and a solo from guitarist Gary Rossington, the only remaining founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd. The set also included “Still Unbroken”, another single from the new album.
Then it was right back to some of that older material, the recognizable melody of “What’s Your Name” eliciting an impressive reaction from fans. The song featured Rickey Medlocke’s guitar, and more importantly, Medlocke’s facial expressions. The faces he makes while ripping through solos are both hilarious and bizarre. Whether they are genuine or not, they are one of the reasons to see Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert. And people enjoyed it; the perpetual cheering, which carried on through “That Smell”, reached a point where it left the speakers fighting to be heard, an epic battle of decibels.
Van Zant would take a moment later on to recognize the upcoming Independence Day by dedicating the next song – “Simple Man” – to the nation’s troops and their families. It was a powerful moment in the Comcast Center, as thousands of people swayed back and forth in unison, raising small American flags which had been distributed by soldiers prior to the concert. Van Zant even paused during the song to declare, “God bless our troops and their families.” This was a meaningful gesture; any frontman will take the time between songs to show gratitude to our nation’s defenders, but not many care enough to interrupt a song. It was inspiring to see such a genuine act. The emotional interlude would continue as a recording of “All I Can Do Is Write About It” played while pictures of the late Ronnie Van Zant, the band’s founding vocalist, scrolled across the screen.
From there, the tempo picked up to conclude the set. The band launched into “Gimme Three Steps”, driving fans into a frenzy of dancing and screaming, while Van Zant spun around with a Confederate flag tied to the microphone stand. The cacophony continued into “Call Me The Breeze”, with Peter “Keys” Pisarczyk bringing the keyboard to life with a spectacular solo. Then came fan favorite and classic rock hit “Sweet Home Alabama”, and the band departed the stage. But the cheering only grew louder, for everyone knew what was coming next.
And when Lynyrd Skynyrd returned, Van Zant had gracefully replaced the Confederate flag with the good old star spangled banner, which he saluted as Rossington produced the wistful opening notes of “Free Bird”. The anticipation built through the first verses as fans waited for the song’s defining component. Then, after a lively keyboard melody, Medlocke took the spotlight as Lynyrd Skynyd’s three guitarists jumped into one of the best known solos of all time. Alternating leads, fingers flying up and down the frets, they turned three electric guitars into a furious, passionate harmony of classic rock at its best. Eyes were turned skyward as fans savored each riff, hammer-on, and chord that the band had deliberately saved for last. Finally, as Medlocke vigorously swung the vibrato bar and Van Zant appeared with an enormous American flag, the song winded down and the band again left, to a well-deserved clamor of cheers.
Lynyrd Skynyrd may have only one remaining original member, but the classics are as alive as ever, and the new material is sounding pretty good, too – it adds an element of mainstream rock, while still retaining the features that brought them into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. What really stood out Thursday night was the fans’ reception; the band ignited the crowd from the opening notes, and that energy never diminished until the encore concluded. Seeing them perform only gives the impression that their talent and passion will never fade.
By: MacLean Cadman, Contributing Writer
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We hope everyone in Skynyrd Nation is excited about the 4th of July weekend! And what a better way to celebrate being an American than with Lynyrd Skynyrd.
Johnny Van Zant talks about being proud of our country in a recent interview with the Chicago Sun-Times saying, “We mention our God above, and we definitely are proud to be U.S. citizens and patriots of a great country. All that goes hand in hand. We’ve been very blessed. A lot of artists come and go. Our fans stay and are with us for years and years, and turn their kids onto it.”
Baseball, apple pie and Skynyrd… What does America mean to you and how does the Skynyrd Nation make our country a better place? Let us know by entering the Skynyrd Nation 4th of July contest below.
1.) Send us an email to email@example.com
2.) Write "4th of July Contest" in the Subject line of the email.
3.) Tell us in the email how Skynyrd Nation makes America a better
place and what this country means to you.
4.) Attach at least one photo of any fireworks that you see this weekend.
The contest entry date has been extended until Friday July 16. The top winner will receive a Skynyrd Nation prize pack and their email and photo will be featured in the fan club. Runner-ups will also have their emails featured in the Skynyrd Nation at LynyrdSkynyrd.com.
The newly released Live From Freedom Hall not only captures Lynyrd Skynyrd doing what they do best, but it's also one of the last concerts to be recorded with longtime members Billy Powell and Ean Evans, both of whom passed away last year. The release is a tribute to and a celebration of all things Skynyrd. In the video below, Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke, and Gary Rossington explain more about why and how.
Live From Freedom Hall is out now! Get your copy of the CD/DVD featuring a classic set list of the southern rock legends' greatest hits by going ,RIGHT HERE.
Lynyrd Skynyrd have just released their brand new live set Live From Freedom Hall and Classic Rock Magazine is celebrating with a special exclusive clip from the disc's accompanying DVD.
Live From Freedom Hall includes the audio and video components of the band's special show at Freedom Hall in Louisville, Kentucky on June 15th, 2007. While the band play a set of Skynyrd classics and fan favorites, the show marks a special occasion for the Skynyrd Nation for many reasons. Watch as Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke and Gary Rossington explain it all at http://classicrockmagazine.com
Live From Freedom Hall is in stores now.
The summer just got even better! Skynyrd will rock Beaumont, TX and Mountain Vew, CA this summer, and we want Skynyrd Nation to have first access to presale tickets and VIP packages before the general public! This presale will begin tomorrow, June 23 at 3pm Local Venue Time. Remember, tickets are limited and available on a first come, first served basis, so get them while we've got them!
8/22/10 - Ford Park Arena (Beaumont, TX)
8/29/10 - Shoreline Amphitheater (Mountain View, CA)
Presale tickets can be purchased at: http://tixx1.artistarena.com/lynyrdskynyrd/
*** If you are having difficulty accessing the ticketing link, make sure you are allowing cookies. If that isn't working for you try using another browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, etc...). If after all of that and you still can't get in, please call 212.420.1700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for assistance.
Additional presales may be announced shortly. Please do not call or email about shows that are not listed here, as we will post the information as soon as it's available.
We'll see you there!
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s Gods & Guns Tour kicked off yesterday!
The Miami Herald recently interviewed Johnny Van Zant to talk about this summer's tour with .38 Special and Bret Michaels. During the interview, Johnny was asked if he felt the presence of the former Skynyrd members who have passed. In response he said, "I think if you were up there, and you didn't feel that, there'd be something wrong with you. There's a lot of spirit to Lynyrd Skynyrd -- that's what keeps this band going."
The full interview can be read here at MiamiHerald.com
We hope everyone in Skynyrd Nation has their tickets ready to go for these summer dates. Be sure to let us know which shows you're going to, in the comments below, then come back and tell us how the show was! We look forward to hearing from all of you!
Lynyrd Skynyrd are set to release their live CD/DVD Live From Freedom Hall tomorrow, June 22nd, and to commemorate the album that catches the long-running southern rock staples doing what they do best, we caught up with frontman Johnny Van Zant to go through the set list.
Read what he had to say about each song being part of the band's live repertoire after all these years below, and don't miss the band on tour all summer long. Go right here for a full list of tour dates and ticket information.
And don't forget to pick up your copy of the new live album tomorrow at a record store near you!
“That’s kind of like a duet thing that me and my brother did, and to be able to sing with him was pretty awesome. Years ago we had it on our record and for live, I think for Skynyrd fans to be able to see Ronnie up there actually singing and then it comes back to me on stage I think it’s just a very cool thing for fans and I always love doing that. Our dad was a truck driver and we’ve been travelin’ men our whole life. Ronnie for 29 years was a travelin’ man, ‘til his untimely death. And for me I’ve been doing it for about 30 something years. So it’s just a very cool song and for anybody.”
“Well I think that goes back to our upbringing. We always have worked in our life and our fans are working class people and that’s what we believe in doing -- we’re probably one of the hardest working bands out there and have always been out there every year. Where a lot of other bands take off, we’re out there playing for our fans. And you know its something like ‘I’m gonna buy my baby shoes’ I have kids in college and I have to buy them shoes! (Laughs) …and keep ‘em fed! So thanks to the Skynyrd Nation we’re still around. And we’re actually playing it this year coming up. We change our set up here and there, there’s so many great Lynyrd Skynyrd songs. We know we have to do “Freebird”, “Sweet Home” and those kind of things, but that song was just a statement, we think of our fans as the working class of America –or all around. [Even] when we’re in Europe they’re the working class so we like doing that one. It’s an up tempo thing, it’s in your face and that’s us.”
“What’s Your Name?”
“Well that is just a great hit song. Most Skynyrd people don’t realize that was the highest charting song that Lynyrd Skynyrd ever had as far as the top 100 singles and it was a top 10 song, I’m not sure exactly how far it went but it went up there quite a ways. And it’s just a great song, great feel [good] song. You can always tell that the crowd loves that, which is why we pretty much keep that in our set every year. I mean the crowd, especially the ladies -- that one’s for the ladies. “
“Well, ‘That Smell’ what a great song. That’s something Skynyrd’s always been about: true things that we’ve written about, and that’s definitely a true thing. We’ve all lived true our days of doing things that probably weren’t good for us (laughs). That one there with the audience you can definitely smell that smell if you get my drift.”
“Well that’s a great song and something that I think we all live by. I think anybody out there needs to respect their mother, and the words of their mother. It’s mama talking to you in that song and I think it’s probably one of my favorite’s if not my favorite to do live. It’s just a great song and that one stays in the set and the crowd always goes crazy on that one. Actually I just saw Lee [DeWyze] from American Idol do part of it a couple of weeks ago. Thought that was pretty neat.”
“Down South Jukin”
“Well that one’s just another fun up-tempo thing and I think that’s part of a medley. We’re from the south and just love doing that one; it just gets the crowd so much and to go from “Simple Man” into that just makes your blood start going up a little bit too, it’s a lot of fun.”
“The Needle and The Spoon”
“That’s a rare, really an obscure Skynyrd song. I mean not everybody knows “Needle and The Spoon” but we love doing it live just the whole riff the way it starts out and we’ve been doing it for many, many years.”
“Ballad of Curtis Loew”
“Well that one everybody does know. If you’re a Skynyrd fan you know “Curtis Loew” and again it just kind of brings the tempo down and just kind of lets us get that back porch feel.”
“Gimme Back My Bullets”
“Again that song it just in your face and that song’s pretty cool. The story behind that song and the reason why we like doing it is that when Skynyrd, when that album came out, everybody used to throw bullets at them because they thought it meant that, but what it really meant was on the Billboard charts it had a bullet besides it meaning it was doing really good, and the album before that, before Give Me Back My Bullets didn’t do quite as well as the first two. So this was something saying give us back our bullets, we’re here and in your face. It’s in your face so we love doing it.”
“Again just a great ballad, up there with Simple Man. Fans love it, and we can hear a little bit of harmonica on that one and sometimes the fans sing louder on that one than when I’m singing at all. That’s one thing about Skynyrd, I’m kind of like the head cheerleader and we love for the crowd to get into it. I can understand people sitting and listening to the music, but for Skynyrd it’s, ok let’s take your worries away for a couple hours and let’s have fun. “
“Red, White and Blue”
“Well that’s one that was off an album called Vicious Cycle. We’re big supporters of our troops and we’ve always felt that’s a Skynyrd crowd; we always go back to our fans, we write about our fans and we love our fans. We’ve been blessed to have fans with us for years and years and years for multi-generations now and we’re supporters of our troops and our families. That song is basically written about our fans.”
“Gimme Three Steps”
“That’s our time to turn it up not to 10 but 11 and try to go out the night at 11. That’s also just a fun, boogie, sing-along song that we’ve done forever, we’re going to be doing it this coming year and it’s just an all around good song, good party song.”
“Call Me The Breeze”
“’Call Me The Breeze’ is an old J.J. Cale song that the band recorded years and years ago. Again it just keeps up – we go from “Three Steps” to “The Breeze” and the crowd just loves it and so do we. By that time in the set we’re ready to go to “Alabama” and “Freebird” you know? So it really pumps us up, not only the crowd but it pumps us up too. “
“Sweet Home Alabama”
“I think “Sweet Home” is something that, we’ve been the ambassadors of Alabama for years --they should give us the state award for spreading the word [laughs] but that song is just a timeless song. And you had Kid Rock last year with “All Summer Long” which used part of it and numerous movies and what can you say about it really except for that it’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’?”
“Well that is a timeless song, that and “Stairway to Heaven”. For years Skynyrd has always closed the show with that song and the song has different meanings for different people. Somebody was telling me, it’s graduation time right now, this kid was telling me that they used it for their graduation song and not too long ago somebody told me that they used it at a funeral. And really it’s a love song, its one of the few that Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ever had. It’s about a guy and a girl. Of course at the end it was dedicated to Duane Allman from the band Allman Brothers because it goes into the guitar part. That one there if you can get through that one you’ve had a good night at a Skynyrd show.”