Lynyrd Skynyrd are just as important as the Rolling Stones.
That is a rock n roll fact. This was indeed Skynyrd’s first ever tour downunder, and a welcome one at that. The guy in the seat in front has brought along his teenage daughters – both decked out in Skynyrd tees. I should really nominate him for Father of The Year – cos he has successfully weened his kids onto the right kinda rock.
Well done friend. Melbourne outfit My Dynamite opened the show tonight and in a word were ‘impressive’ – grabbing the opportunity to perform on a large stage with both hands. Comparisons to the Black Crowes should be taken as a compliment – and it is re-assuring to know My Dynamite are around. As their set grew, so did their confidence – and they eventually had the majority of those in attendance hooked and on board. A name to make a note of.
My brother and I have long been Lynyrd Skynyrd disciples – in the very early 80’s we would play the ‘Gold & Platinum’ double album till the old Sanyo hi-fi exploded. It was an education which was indeed, life changing. From there the journey took us further – and what an amazing ride of discovery – 38 Special, Blackfoot, Van Zant and the amazing Rossington-Collins records. When the band reformed, I always had my fingers crossed for a tour – but to no avail – and our paths never crossed in the times when we trekked across the USA. But here we are at last. In the Sydney Entertainment Centre, on a humid summer’s evening – with a few thousand fellow rock fans – all standing at the ready – in the presence of gods, as it were.
I heed the call of the ‘show is starting alarm’ and find my seat. Screw that, I’m gonna stand I decide – and commence dancing to ‘Workin’ for MCA’ with a beer in one hand and a grin a mile wide. the stomping I Ain’t the One follows, then they air the title track from the album they are touring ‘Last of a Dyin’ Breed’. It cooks. The crowd are appreciative, and the band are on form. What’s Your Name, Gimme Back My Bullets, Down South Jukin’, That Smell, You Got That Right, Saturday Night Special, I Know A Little – it was a set-list to savor. The fan in front of me was in ballistic bliss – and who could blame him ? Ex-Black Crow Johnny Colt – who I’d last seen at the Hordern back in ’92 fits the band well, and his Thunderbird bass grunt is a welcome addition. The shadow of Leon Wilkeson will always loom large, but Colt looks right at home. Simple Man is next and a definite highlight – how cool is Johnny Van Zant ? No dancing and prancing – like Malcolm, Angus, Wells and Co. The real deal.
To his left stands Gary Rossington – a rock n roll icon. He leaves a lot of the lead work to Rickey Medlocke and Mark Matejka but commands your attention nonetheless. Tuesday’s Gone, a rollicking Gimme Three Steps and Call Me the Breeze are aired next – the set being closed with the obligatory Sweet Home Alabama. Skynyrd encore with Free Bird, and as I dance and play air guitar – in perfect sync with Medlocke – I feel the energy inside me – I am high on the true excess of pure rock n roll.
The houselights come on and I am soon wandering near the stage – hoping to snag a missed Rossington or Medlocke pick. No dice and no great drama neither – cos I
have the memory and it is one I will cherish. You see – rock n roll dreams do sometimes come true – and yes, Lynyrd Skynyrd are as important as the Stones. People should respect that. Rock n Roll.