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Live Review: Lynyrd Skynyrd – 13th February 2014 – Qantas Credit Union Arena, Sydney, Australia

3 min read

A good old fashioned injection of Southern rock drenched Sydney last night with the long awaited and highly anticipated arrival of one of America’s most celebrated and longest running collectives, Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Famous for some of music’s most treasured masterpieces including Free Bird, Gimme 3 Steps and the iconic Sweet Home Alabama, success has also come with its fair share of heartache and tragedy; two things Lynyrd Skynyrd have certainly become familiar with during their time.

The band originally formed back in the early 60’s and having done the hard work of making a global name for themselves over a number of years, churning out their now signature hits, 3 members of the band, including front man Ronnie Van Zant, died tragically in a plane crash.

Founding member Gary Rossington gathered fellow surviving members of the band together for a reunion tour back in the eighties and since then they have continued to tour the world and have also recorded several albums with replacement lead vocalist, Johnny Van Zant, the younger brother of founding front man Ronnie, as well as several line-up changes during that time.

Over the past 50 years the band has become one of the most successful rock acts in history and in 2006 they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for their contributions to music. With the band enjoying the success of their current world tour, Australia was on the schedule for the first time in their lengthy career, and closing the Australasian dates, Sydney was treated to a spectacular performance by the 7 piece.

Over the duration of about 90 minutes, the band led us through a predominantly ‘early-years’ set, delivering rockabilly drenched classics like set opener Workin’ for MCA and the bands cover of the J.J Cale hit Call Me The Breeze through to more modern Lynyrd Skynyrd pennings like Last of a Dyin’ Breed. The style of Lynyrd Skynyrd has not really changed throughout the years so being the token ‘new’ track within an otherwise dated set list, it slotted in amongst juggernauts like Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird with relative ease.

The obvious highlights came on hits where the band members were given space to indulge in a bit of individual limelight, flexing their instrumental skills, and that shone through the brightest on Tuesday’s Gone, particularly with the bands keyboardist taking the wheel during the middle of the performance and driving the mid-tempo hit with gusto and precision. It certainly was a notable moment for the entire crowd who swayed from side to side with the rebel-rockers during the songs lengthy unveiling.

Expecting the front man to be the extrovert member of a band is the usual expectation for any gig but at last night’s show it was evident that each member of the collective contributed their fair share of oil to the slick hit-making unit. Each of the 7 members dominated the stage at appropriate moments, showcasing their talents and delivering masterful musicianship within a band world renowned for just that.

I may be a little wet behind the ears when it comes to the roots of Southern rock when compared to some of the die-hard fans, as front man Johnny Van Zant put it on the night, but last nights performance was a thorough lesson in rock and about a collective who have ruled the genre for over half of a century. Thankfully the band also shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.

Set List:

Workin’ for MCA
I Ain’t the One
Last of a Dyin’ Breed
What’s Your Name
Gimme Back My Bullets
Down South Jukin’
That Smell
You Got That Right
Saturday Night Special
I Know a Little
Simple Man
Mississippi Kid
Tuesday’s Gone
Gimme Three Steps
Call Me the Breeze
Sweet Home Alabama

Encore:
Free Bird

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