A week after the death of guitarist Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd have returned to the stage.
The band performed at the Florida Strawberry Festival, held at the Wish Farms Soundstage in Plant City, FL, and dedicated the 10th song of their set, 1973's Tuesday's Gone, to the late guitarist.
Rossington had only made sporadic appearances with Lynyrd Skynyrd in recent years due to ill health, with his place in the lineup filled by Thin Lizzy guitarist Damon Johnson, who was originally called up in July 2021 after Rossington underwent emergency heart surgery. Both men were mentioned by frontman Johnny Van Zant during the song.
"Damon Johnson playing it pretty for Mr. Gary Rossington," Van Zant told the crowd, "up in rock'n'roll heaven."
"Gary Rossington’s guitar playing consumed me from Day One of discovering Skynyrd’s music in my youth," said Johnson in 2021, after filling in for a pair of shows in Minnesota and North Dakota. "It was an honour to lend a hand to the band this weekend, and my family is sending buckets of healing energy Gary’s direction. Thank you, Skynyrd Nation and Lynyrd Skynyrd."
Rossington, who was the last surviving member of Lynyrd Skynyrd's original lineup, addressed the subject of whether or not the band would continue without him in a 2017 interview with Classic Rock.
“Well, they’re not supposed to because of legal reasons," Rossington told us. "But if Johnny and Rickey [Medlocke] wanted to do it, I wouldn’t mind myself. They’re playing our music to the people, and the people would come to hear the original band’s music.
"I don’t know. It’s hard to say. If they wanted to do it and the management thought it would be a good idea… It would be weird, though, because none of the original guys would be in it."
Lynyrd Skynyrd's next show is April 29 at the Ampitheater in Brandon, Missouri. On July 21 they embark on the Sharp Dressed Simple Man tour with ZZ Top. Full dates below.
Lynyrd Skynyrd tour dates 2023
Apr 29: Brandon Amphitheater, MS
May 05: West Panama City Thunder Beach at Frank Brown Park, FL
May 19: Bushkill Lost Highway Motorcycle Show & Concert, PA
May 20: Cleveland Jacobs Pavilion at Nautica, OH
May 27: Laughlin Event Center, NV
Jun 17: Santa Rosa Country Summer Music Festival 2023,
Jul 14: Prior Lake Lakefront Music Fest 2023, MN
Jul 15: West Fargo Red River Valley Fair, ND
Jul 21: West Palm Beach iTHINK Financial Amphitheatre, FL
Jul 23: Alpharetta Ameris Bank Amphitheatre, GA
Jul 28: Rogers Walmart AMP, AR
Jul 29: Fort Worth Dickies Arena, TX
Jul 30: Woodlands The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion, TX
Aug 07: Denver Fiddler's Green Amphitheatre, CO
Aug 10: Mountain View Shoreline Amphitheatre, CA
Aug 11: Wheatland Toyota Amphitheatre, CA
Aug 13: Phoenix Ak-Chin Pavilion, AZ
Aug 17: Maryland Heights Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, MO
Aug 19: Tinley Park Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, IL
Aug 20: Noblesville Ruoff Music Center, IN
Aug 25: Cincinnati Riverbend Music Center, OH
Aug 26: Clarkston Pine Knob Music Theatre, MI
Aug 27: Toronto Budweiser Stage, ON
Sep 01: Charlotte PNC Music Pavilion, NC
Sep 02: Columbia Merriweather Post Pavilion, MD
Sep 03: Burgettstown The Pavilion at Star Lake, PA
Sep 08: Saratoga Springs Saratoga Performing Arts Center, NY
Sep 09: Hershey Hersheypark Stadium, PA
Sep 10: Holmdel PNC Bank Arts Center, NJ
Sep 15: Raleigh Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek, NC
Sep 17: Camden Freedom Mortgage Pavilion, NJ