Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sydney, 13 February 2014 – (Live Review)


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.

One thought on “Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sydney, 13 February 2014 – (Live Review)

  1. I must have missed this post – Glad to know that appreciation of Lynyrd Skynrd is alive and well in all parts of the world. As any good Skynyrd fan would know they were “discovered” in Atlanta, (my home town), by Al Kooper who caught their set while partying in a club, which eventually led to the record deal as well as Kooper’s formation of “Songs of the South” label. Another band from that time, Mose Jones, was under Kooper’s wing but never flourished in the way Skynyrd did. Anyway, Atlanta at that time was a small town and those guys could be spotted at one of only a handful of clubs, (maybe 3), either playing or partying. They were very approachable but could be moody though it had nothing to do with that “I’m going to be a star” crap – they were just working (and drinking) hard. Obviously they went on to great things and, unfortunately , not so great things…..

    On a related note – In the 80s the band BlackFoot was in town to record what would become “Vertical Smiles” at Eddie Offord’s studio in nearby East Point. This was so odd for a number of reasons not the least of which Offord was so strongly associated with Prog Rock. Anyway, I kept running into the band unwittingly at my local bar/pub. At first I didn’t put two and two together. I just kept stumbling into, quite literally, this really happy, boozy guy who would buy drinks and pat you on the back and give spontaneous bear hugs.Turned out that was Jackson Spires the drummer. Very generous guy and fun to drink with. The rest of the band was a bit aloof , (though eventually warmed up), especially Ken Hensley who was recording with the band for a time. He looked every bit the role of a rock star though , in my opinion, was a bit “above it all”. But he was a treasure trove of information on rock music. He would quietly throw out bits of insider information. Once, for whatever reason, someone had mentioned Argent and he smiled and tossed out some facts no one else would know. Ricky Medlocke ,when he showed up, rarely said anything and just kept to himself mostly. Funny thing, he always had his hair combed straight back which is something I was doing also since my hair line was receding. I’m not saying that’s why he did it but…….. Anyway, I hope you don’t mind this trip down memory lane.

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