January 29, 2016
CATCHING UP: Jacqueline and I went to see Lynyrd Skynyrd in concert at the Rockingham County Fair last August 19, and it was just great. A group called Whiskey Myers played as the opening act, and as the sun went down around 8:00, the main event got underway. I would estimate a crowd of about 2,500 was present. They were enthusiastic, as was the band. The fact that adult beverages were on sale (in a special, roped-off area to the side) may have helped liven spirits. As the photos below show, we were quite close to the stage.
I remember when "Sweet Home Alabama" came out in 1974, and just as they were reached the peak of success in 1977, three band members died in plane crash, most notably Ronnie Van Zant. The band broke up for ten years, during which surviving members Gary Rossington and Allen Collins formed the core of a new group, the Rossington-Collins band. Collins later died as well. In 1987, a new incarnation of Lynyrd Skynyrd was formed, led by Gary Rossington and Johnny Van Zant, younger brother of Ronnie. For more on the band's changing lineup, see lynyrdskynyrd.com and wikipedia.org.
Here is the unofficial set list from my notes, with three songs (marked with asterisks) that I didn't recognize:
** Song titles retrieved from setlist.fm. My notes indicated that there was another song, between "Tuesday's Gone" and "Simple Man," but I guess not.
What better rock 'n roll cliche is there than delirious fans yelling out "Free Bird," asking for an encore? Well, I was finally part of it. I was a little disappointed that they didn't play any songs from the latest Lynyrd Skynyrd album, God 'n Guns. I bought that CD a few years ago, and like the title track as well as "Floyd," and a couple others. "That Ain't My America" veers toward nativism, taking the idea of "We all dig white people, too" (from the song "Sweet Home Alabama") a little too seriously. It's transparently anti-Obama.
My wife and I saw local Alternative Media entrepreneur Chris Graham, and his wife Crystal at the concert. Chris was very impressed by the performance. Other musical acts at the Rockingham County Fair last August included Lady Antebellum and Alabama; see rockinghamcountyfair.com.