God bless Lynyrd Skynyrd

Southern boogie, god and guns

God bless Lynyrd Skynyrd
30th May 2009 Jane Tomlinson

On Thursday night we went to see Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd perform at Birmingham’s NIA.  Their heyday was the mid 1970s, during which they produced two of their best-loved songs, Sweet Home Alabama and Freebird.

I confess I find all that long, flowing hair, cowboy boots and twangy, jangly insistent and riffy guitar absolutely irresistible. If you’re thinking “hang on what about all those confederate flags and references to God and firearms”, I’m pretty confident this is all tongue-in-cheek; though I suspect they are (or were) Christians.

Many members of Skynyrd were wiped out in a plane crash in 1977, but the band rose again, – some might say like Jesus – with a new line up, which now includes the late lead singer’s brother Johnny Van Zant as lead singer. The star of the show for me was one of the three guitarists – Rickey Medlocke – whose stage presence outshone the rest of the band by miles.

The crowd of maybe 3,000 people wore hard rock band souvenir T shirts, Harley Davidson emblems, waved confederate flags, and enthused wildly!

OK, we may have heard Freebird and Sweet Home Alabama a million times before, but who can honestly say they don’t smile when they hear those songs again?

Photos: Moth Clark