A heavy weight sits on the shoulders of the modern Lynyrd Skynyrd, as they carry forth the legacy of the legendary band who possess such a musically rich yet tragic history.
Tonight Skynyrd give the audience what they desire, while paying homage to that history, and the set-list is the stuff fans’ dreams are made of.
Skynyrd’s newer material may be among the best of modern southern rock, but the authenticity and soul of the classics are impossible to top, and the setlist features nothing released post-70s. The band bound onstage to burst into fan favourite Workin’ For MCA. “Ain’t nothing like a Skynyrd crowd!” grins Johnny Van Sant. Realistically the closest we will ever get to the original frontman, his late brother Ronnie, Johnny’s more than competent at carrying That Smell and Saturday Night Special (told you it was a good setlist). The rest of the band work hard to impress: guitarist Ricky Medlocke shreds his guitar with his teeth; bassist Johnny Colt changes from top hats to furry animal heads. Last remaining original member Gary Rossington’s solo in Tuesday’s Gone tugs at the heartstrings.
Some magic is missing, a spark that will never again be lit. But an encore of Sweet Home Alabama – with Bad Co’s Mick Ralphs on guitar – and Free Bird, against an eagle backdrop with a disco ball, is hammy as hell, but genuinely moving. It’s heartwarmingly clear that Skynyrd care just as much about the band they’re carrying the torch for as we do.