Artpark in Lewiston, NY heard that familiar yell last Tuesday, “Skynyrd’s in the house!” Lead singer Johnny Van Zandt’s intro meant a packed house was in for some sweet southern rock sounds for the next two and a half hours. The band has played at this venue numerous times over the last handful of years and you can almost call it second home for them.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has been the voice of the southern rock genre since their inception in 1970. Surviving many trials and unfortunate events like the plane crash in 1977 that killed three band members and injured six others, Skynyrd has continued to tour virtually non-stop. Original guitarist Gary Rossington is the only founding member left in the band. Johnny Van Zandt
is the younger brother of original singer Ronny Van Zandt. The outdoor amphitheater at Artpark was overflowing with eager Skynyrd fans sporting band t-shirts and the popular Confederate flag sewn to a denim vest. The show kicked off with the low gear “Working for MCA” and “What’s Your Name?” The crowd was immediately into it and sang every word with the band
encouraging every voice. The first few notes of “Saturday Night Special” picked up the crowd a little more as their voices grew louder with each verse. “Down South Jukin” and “That Smell” then had audience members dancing in the aisles. The uptempo “I Know A Little” saw the crowd break into an outright hoedown. Guys were swinging their girls around the open
lawn and hands were in the air clapping along. The iconic tribute to mom “Simple Man” slowed the pace down to the point where couples were spotted slow dancing wherever there was space. Van Zandt encouraged crowd participation on every tune and the crowd responded heartily. Skynyrd concerts have become like family gatherings when old friends would get
together to hear some of their favorite music and remember the good times of the early 70’s.
The party was back on with the closing blend of “Gimme Three Steps,” “Call Me The Breeze” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” Rossington and fellow guitarists Rickey Medlocke and Mark Matejka lined up at the front of the stage and plowed through the songs with wild solos, jumping with every note. As the band left the stage, the crowd cheered and begged for more. Everybody knew what was coming. Peter Keys was back out onstage first at the piano with the first few notes of the encore of “Freebird” and the crowd nearly exploded. The live version is over ten minutes long and left the crowd a heaping, sweaty mess, a few even in tears. This night came to a close and as the crowd lingered, more Skynyrd tunes could be heard blasting out of the cars in the parking lot waiting in line to exit. The music of Lynyrd Skynyrd lives on and their return is surely going to bring another faithful crowd to hear them once again.
Working for MCA
What’s Your Name?
You Got That Right
Saturday Night Special
Down South Jukin’
I Know a Little
Gimme Back My Bullets
Needle and Spoon
Gimme Three Steps
Call Me The Breeze
Sweet Home Alabama
We would like to thank Maria Hays for the credentials to review the show.