Lynyrd Skynyrd have an ongoing knack for not dying, no matter how many of their number actually do die. Based on the evidence here, after 40 years, this is no bad thing.
Theirs is a graceful ageing process, shining through slick, crisp live footage. With Ronnie Van Zandt replaced by brother Johnny, among other newbies, their stock is replenished and the classics preserved as God and the Wild West intended.
Pronounced ‘Leh-’nérd ‘Skin-’nérd comprises the first half, while Second Helping fills the second (ie, the next night). With their biggest hits guaranteed (and they are big) it’s a safe, welcoming set. It’s a softened but stoically capable Skynyrd onstage, grinning through tight renditions of Tuesday’s Gone and the like.
There’s audience fist-bumping, there’s a slightly corny “give a warm welcome to Rock And Roll Hall Fame band, Lynyrd Skynyrd” introduction, there’s regal Southern rock.
Then, midway in this DVD set, it’s there: the close-up of the silver bird, the projected images of candles (with names of deceased Skynyrd-ites), the immortal slide lick… Like the pyramids and Stonehenge, it would take a seismic shift of fearful proportions to bring Free Bird to its knees. And it never stops being great.
No fireworks, no frills – just some nice rugs and a rotating cast of furry critters atop bassist Johnny Colt’s head.