Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Anniversary Skynyrd Shows No Sign of Rust

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Anniversary Skynyrd Shows No Sign of Rust

Article excerpt

Byline: Dan Macdonald, Times-Union staff writer

Lynyrd Skynyrd is celebrating its 30th year. But Saturday night at the Moran Theater at the Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, the band wasn't ready to rest on its long history of hits.

Instead, the band looked fit and ready to seek some chart action with music from its new album Vicious Cycle. And for the first time in years, the new music holds up to the Skynyrd of old.

Too many times, old bands sound like tired bands. Lynyrd Skynyrd returned to its hometown to prove it still has what it takes to enthrall fans.

This was obvious from the get-go. Gone was the traditional opener, Workin' for MCA. They started with That's How I Like It, from the new album. Its full-barreled energy set the tone for the night.

The many old fans were not to be disappointed as hits filled the nearly two-hour show. What's Your Name? and I Know a Little were early reminders that this radio warhorse can still play its music live with the same energy as more than 20 years ago.

But this show was a tribute to the band and its tragic history. A screen was lowered often to show old film footage of the original band. It featured clips of the late Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, Allen Collins and the most recent member to pass away, Leon Wilkeson. Simple Man was dedicated to the late bassist. His replacement, Ean Evans, flashed the crowd the back of his instrument that has a portrait of Wilkeson painted on it.

Johnny Van Zant, the youngest of the singing Van Zant brothers, worked the crowd hard, pushing them to stay on their feet and keep their hands in the air. The band was willing to work but demanded a frenzied crowd. Guitarist Ricky Medlocke looked like a man possessed. His eyes bulged. He gritted his teeth. He pumped his arms at the end of every solo. …

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