The Outlaws formed in 1967 and have been playing off and on since that time.
Founding members Henry Paul (lead singer/guitar) and Monte Yoho (drums), were joined by Chris Anderson (guitar), Randy Threet (bass), Dave Robbins (keyboards), and Bill Crain (guitar).
Kicking off their set with “Tomorrow’s Another Night” and “Love Song” it was evident that most of the audience was made up of diehard fans as they started singing along with the band.
They played quite a few new songs from their latest album It’s About Pride.From my past experience when older bands start playing their newer “stuff”, they tend to lose the audience, but that was not the case. Their fans remained engaged throughout their set with most of them on their feet.
There was a problem with Crain’s amp when halfway through “Love Song” his guitar shutdown. After several frantic minutes of changing out the amp, he was able to resume once they started “Hurry Sundown”, one of their newer songs.
Tomorrow’s Another Night
Hidin’ Out in Tennessee (new)
Born to Be Bad (new)
Last Ghost Town (new)
Right Where I Belong (new)
It’s bout Pride (new)
Trail of Tears (new)
Blame Sally brings you everything from stompboxes to fiddles, as they weave their magic in a tapestry of musical delight. And don’t for a minute think of them as a folk band as they add a little bit of rock, and a whole lotta heart into each and every performance, blending the different genres into a melodic work of art.
Their live performances are more than just a musical journey, as they banter back and forth with each other in between songs as only true friends can do, making for a very entertaining evening.
Their most recent Sacramento appearance brought droves of fans from the San Francisco Bay Area to the KVIE studios in Sacramento to record an intimate concert that would later be used to raise money for public television. You can get more information regarding the CD/DVD at KVIE.com, as well as donate and receive free tickets to their upcoming show at Harlow’s where they will be releasing the KVIE CD/DVD to the public.
Winning top honors for “Big Big Red,” “Wide Open Spaces,” and “Bird in Hand,” as voted by fans in the Independent Music Awards, their popularity continues to soar as Blame Sally is quickly becoming a worldwide sensation. They are currently touring across the country and across the pond with upcoming stops in the UK and Ireland.
I’d be remorse if I didn’t mention that band member Monica Pasqual also won an Independent Music Award for Best Concept Album on This Cold Desire.
So who is Blame Sally?
Blame Sally is made up of four women, who decided to get together to play a little music in their spare time with no dreams of grandeur and no expectations, simply enjoying each other’s company while playing a little music.
Band members include Pam Delgado (percussions), Renee Harcourt (guitar/bass), Jeri Jones (guitar/bass) and Monica Pasqual (piano/accordion) – I know, not a Sally in the lot!
I had a chance to ask Monica some questions:
SacAndBeyond – You originally got together as a group to hang out and have some fun. At what point did you realize there was something special happening?
Monica – Monica – We realized we had something special the first time we got together. It was so fun and sounded so good – and that was the reason we really wanted to protect it and make sure that we were doing it for the right reason. We had all pursued “careers” in music and had gotten tired of trying so hard to make it. We loved playing together and we wanted to keep it that way, so we sort of dedicated ourselves to the idea of making great music and having fun together.
Sac- Do you have any regrets not pursuing your musical talents earlier in your careers?
Monica – We actually had all pursued music to varying degrees when we were younger. I started playing piano very young and thought I would have a career in classical piano. I was a professional dance accompanist and also composed for choreographers and then started writing songs and singing in my late 20s. I put out three solo albums before starting to play in Blame Sally. I was definitely pursuing music, so it’s been sweet to finally feel the payoff of lots of years of work!
Sac – Do you have any advice for the many musicians with day jobs?
Monica – I’m not sure I feel qualified to give advice – but I can say this much: There are no guarantees, no matter what you do. I got a lot of advice from family and friends to focus on a more stable career and in some ways I’m sure they were right. Making money as a musician is not easy – and honestly, if the aim is to make money and get famous, it’s probably not the right career for you. But If you are truly passionate about music, it doesn’t really matter what advice you get from other people – you find a way to do it, whether you have to keep a day job or not. Most musicians and artists I know have hobbled together a life and career that includes “straight jobs” and their art – sometimes leaning towards one or the other full time.
Sac – Now that you are on the road so much, are you still able to take the time to just hang out and have a good time?
Monica – The truth is that sometimes when I get home from being on the road I just really need to be by myself for a while. But there is a point where that retreat becomes habitual and needs to be broken, connections with friends and loved ones have to happen again. It is incredibly important to check out completely from the band and the business of the band in order to be able to reconnect to it with energy and passion. At least that’s the way it works for me!
Sac – In an effort to show women across the country that they can make a difference, you recorded a DVD to help out public television and spread the word. What did that mean to you and do you believe it has helped get the message out.
Monica – For some reason it seems like almost everything we do as a band has ended up being a message – and we’re okay with that. I think that we represent the exception to a lot of rules that people accept but don’t really believe in. We are 4 women who have chosen to work together for a common goal, we nurture each other and we manage to work together really collaboratively. The fact that we are having our first real public success at our age is unusual – but it shouldn’t be. For some reason people think that performers (particularly female performers) are more relevant when they are extremely young – but like people in any other career, there are incredible gifts that come from experience and time. We tell a different story then a 20 year old would tell, and I think that we tell it in a fresh way that has nothing to do with “nostalgia”.
Regarding PBS – we believe that it will be a great opportunity to connect with more people who will resonate with that message. The program is just starting to be aired now, so it remains to be seen. We hope that it will be another mutually supportive relationship.
Sac – What is your most memorable moment on the road?
Monica – I’m having a hard time finding one – but I think we’ve all found it pretty incredible to be touring in Europe lately. We have had the chance to travel in a way that is totally unique – instead of seeing the world from a tourist’s perspective we have been totally welcomed inside the living rooms of new friends who are eager to share their lives and perspectives, and are super interested in us, too. It’s almost like being an ambassador – it’s one thing I never expected to experience.
Sac – As the recently announced winners of the Independent Music Awards for three separate categories, how does that feel and what does it mean to you as a band?
Monica – It’s great to be acknowledged for this. It’s interesting that we were chosen in three different categories that really represent some of the variety that we encompass. With three lead singers and writers in the band – we sometimes find it difficult to concisely categorize what we do. It’s particularly sweet that we won all categories we were finalists in (including two more for my solo work) in the popular voting part of this. It’s good to know we resonate with the people who actually go out and listen to music.
As I jumped into my old rusty and dilapidated truck and headed over to Wheatland’s Sleep Train Amphitheater to watch country music superstar Brad Paisley, I was reminded of the time my wife thought I was cheating. She got country ugly and decided to cowboy up, taking it out on my pretty little souped-up 4 wheel drive, carved her name into my leather seat, took a Louisville slugger to both head lights, and slashed a hole in all 4 tires.
After I crawled out from under the bed and realized what she had done to poor old Ethel (my truck), I thought to myself, there must be a country song in there somewhere. It kinda reminded me of an old Carrie Underwood song. Not exactly sure what made me think of the good times with my wife, but country music has a way of doing that to you.
As droves of country fans filed into the amphitheater Easton Corbin kicked off the evening. Corbin is no stranger to touring with his pal Paisley. In 2010 Corbin tagged along in Paisley’s H2O tour.
Opening with “This Feels a Lot Like Love” and “A Little Bit More Country Than That,” Corbin seemed a little stiff and didn’t move around much. It took the crowd a song or two, but they finally started getting into his set. He ended with his #1 hit “Roll With It,” leaving the crowd energized.
The Band Perry came, they sang, they conquered ““ period.
The 2012 Grammy nominated trio consisting of Kimberley Perry, and her two Brothers Neil and Reid, started their set off with “Sugar Sugar” and “Hip to My Heart,” with fans standing throughout their set.
The interaction between the siblings was highly energetic, with the crowd feeding off of their energy. Even on their slower songs, such as their cover of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallen,” the crowd stayed on their feet and swayed to the music.
I thought The Band Perry was going to steal the show, but Paisley came out to see just how much energy the crowd still had left. As the behemoth monitors started to warm up, lasers started firing, and lights flashing, pandemonium broke out in anticipation of Paisley’s appearance.
As Paisley made his way onto the stage singing “Camouflage,” the crowd showed him that they had plenty of energy left, and beer too, as fans raised their glasses to the country star.
There were several touching moments during the show. One fan, Theresa Manzinali, said her favorite part of the show was when Paisley gave a guitar to a young boy, but more importantly was being able to see what a real human being Paisley is. When he brought a number of military personnel up onstage, it brought tears to her eyes.
Manzinali summed up the show best, “He puts on a fantastic show!”
The highlight of the evening was when Carrie Underwood arrived on stage to sing “Remind Me,” bringing cheers from the audience, but wait! It wasn’t really Underwood. As the scene played out the audience soon realized that it was a hologram, much like what Snoop Dogg did with Tupac at Coachella.
I heard a number of people at the end of the show arguing that it was really her, others saying it was someone who looked like her, when in fact, it was a projected image on a fine black mesh screen, or scrim. Very realistic affect and very cool!
The crowd definitely got their money’s worth with the combination of The Band Perry and Paisley. It was a great evening. It was for my wife too . . . I didn’t cheat, so please don’t hurt my Ethel.
As Adkins made his way down center stage the sold out crowd went wild with cheers – There was some hootin and hollerin too, after all it was a country music concert.
Kicking it off with “Days Like This,” Adkins had the women eating out of the palm of his hand, maybe a few guys too. Driving that point home, as soon as he finished “Days Like This,” he stopped and said in his deepest, throatiest voice, “Good evening Thunder Valley, it’s nice to be here.” He said something after that, but I couldn’t hear a damn thing he was saying with all the women screaming.
I don’t get it! Here’s some guy who’s tall in a rugged way, long flowing hair, muscular, has a deep voice, and comes across as a tough, but nice guy. So why do all the women simply love this guy? Oh well.
He started by welcoming everyone to his Songs and Stories Tour and letting them know he wasn’t beginning the concert in his usual manner saying, “This show is a little different from what we usually do, where we come out and put a boot in your ass right off the get go. You will leave with a boot in your ass, but I aint going to do it yet.”
Adkins continued to play songs from his latest album Proud to Be Here, including “Poor Folks,” “Love Buzz,” and “It’s Who You Know.”
Prior to starting “Semper Fi,” he wanted everyone to know that this was his “pathetic” attempt at writing a song about the marines, in particular a friend of his. After hearing the song, I’d say it was well written and definitely not a pathetic attempt – Is his manly charm rubbing off on me? Did I scream during that song? Oh crap! I think I need to go to an MMA fight!!
After singing one of his number one hits, “(This Ain’t No) Thinkin’ Thing,” Adkins and the crew took a break for about 15 minutes, which was a good thing, since it appears many of the concert goers were parched ““ they all headed to the bars!
Continuing after the break with “Ladies Love Country Boys,” “Chrome,” and “This Aint No Love Song,” much of the crowd continued to mingle with each other and cheering at just the right parts.
The boot in the ass came when Adkins started singing “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” with the crowd going completely crazy. Apparently they were waiting for a boot in the ass all night and finally got it. And for those of you out there as clueless as me, Websters defines badonkadonk as a well shaped female buttocks.
Adkins sounded great and put on a great show. I’m sure he now has another fan or two smitten over him.
Next week Foreigner comes to Thunder Valley Casino Resort’s Summer Concert Series, followed by Steve Miller the following week!
See you there!
With the recent annular eclipse of the sun, the lunar eclipse of the moon, and mercury working its way into yet another retrograde (just to mess things up), it’s only fitting that Creedence Clearwater Revisited (CCR) performed their hit song “Bad Moon Rising,” at Thunder Valley Casino Resort on Saturday night.
Local radio personality Kat Maudru, with FM 96.9 the Eagle, introduced the band after she went through the long list of concerts coming to Thunder Valley (see below).
Storming the stage armed with their instruments and a long list of hits, CCR kicked the evening off with “Born on the Bayou” and “Green River,” as 4,500 screaming fans joined in.
Leading into their third song, original member, Stu Cook gave a shout out to Lodi, letting everyone know the town was still special to them after all these years. Then they started playing ““ you guessed it – “Lodi.”
In between songs Cook introduced the band members, singling out original band member, 67 year old, Doug “‘Cosmo’ Clifford, who he’s been performing with for 50 years. Cosmo jumped up behind his drum set and ran around the stage, looking like quite the athlete, as he made his way center stage with Cook.
Cosmo talked about how they met back in El Cerrito High 54 years ago. As he was wrapping up he added;
“There are billions of dreams to choose from, so if you’re a dreamer you know what I mean. If you’re not it’d be a good idea to start looking because dreams are about hope and hope is a good thing to have.”
As the band continued playing hits like “I Heard it Through the Grapevine” and “Midnight Special,” I could hear audience members all around singing the lyrics. It didn’t matter where they were ““ standing in line for drinks, dancing in the aisle, even in the bathrooms (yes that was me).
The Original group, Creedence Clearwater Revival, had their hay day during the late 60′s and early 70′s with original band members John Fogerty (lead singer/guitar), Tom Fogerty (rhythm guitar), Stu Cook (bass), and Doug “‘Cosmo’ Clifford (drums). The band broke up in 1972 with each of the band members going their separate ways. In 1990 Tom Fogerty passed away.
Surviving band members Cook and Cosmo got back together in 1995 to form Creedence Clearwater Revisited with new members Kurt Griffey (lead guitar), Steve “The Capitan” Gunner (guitar/keyboard/harmonica), and John “Bulldog” Tristao (lead singer). CCR now plays up to 100 concerts a year.
I have to admit I was reluctant to attend a CCR concert due to the lack of John Fogerty and his unique vocals, but the similarities between Tristao and John Fogerty’s voice is enough to give you the goosies – Yes I said goosies. However, it was strange listening to Fogerty’s voice come out of this huge tattooed biker dude. Regardless, it was simply an amazing show.
Griffey spent the majority of his time center stage pounding out flawless riffs lending to the original sounds of CCR.
If you haven’t been to a concert at Thunder Valley Casino’s Summer Concert Series, you should seriously consider it. They have a new and improved layout with great seating no matter where you sit, bars, and great entertainment on tap ““ and some beer.
Thunder Valley Casino’s Summer Concert lineup:
Super 70″²s Soul Jam Friday, June 8 ““ 7:00 pm
Filipino Entertainment Festival Saturday, June 9 ““ 5:00 pm
Brett Michaels w/Night Ranger and Slaughter Friday, June 15 ““ 7:00 pm
Trace Adkins Friday, June 29 ““ 7:30 pm
Gabriel Iglesias (aka Fluffy) Saturday, June 30 ““ 8:00 pm
Foreigner Friday, July 6 ““ 8:00 pm
Steve Miller Band Friday, July 13 ““ 8:00 pm
Earth Wind and Fire Saturday, July 14 ““ 8:00 pm
Creed Friday, August 3 ““ 7:30
Jeff Dunham (aka Jeff fa fa Dun Ham) Saturday, August 4 ““ 8:00 pm
Smokey Robinson Saturday, August 11 ““ 8:00 pm
ZZ Top Friday, August 17 ““ 8:00 pm
Diana Krall Saturday, Aug. 18 ““ 8:00 pm
REO Speedwagon Saturday August 25 ““ 8:00 pm
Styx Thursday, September 6 ““ 8:00 pm
Ramon Ayala Saturday, September 15 ““ 8:00 pm
Match Eyewear teams up with Danny Gokey, American Idol Season 8 finalist and philanthropist for distribution of prescription eyewear with an “edge.” The collection highlights Danny’s personal flair with 12 styles, targeting men ages 18 to 35.
The collaboration between Match Eyewear and Danny began in 2010 sparked by his love of fashion eyewear. “It has been a dream of mine to create my own brand of fashion frames,” says Danny. “I have been impressed with Match Eyewear’s designs and quality and see them as the perfect partner.”
The Danny Gokey Eyewear collection diversifies Match Eyewear’s brand assortment by delivering trend-setting designs influenced by Danny’s sense of style and personal brand of music. “We are excited to establish a partnership with Danny,” states Ethan Goodman, President of Match Eyewear. “It has been fun developing this collection with Danny and it’s refreshing to work with an artist with so much passion for eyewear.”
The Danny Gokey Eyewear collection joins other brand names at Match Eyewear, including Adrienne Vittadini, Helium Paris, Float Milan, Float Kids, Aero by Float and Match Eyewear.
Kicking off the night was Road 88 led by Rachael Steele, whose vocals reigned supreme. Starting their set off appropriately with “Attitude,” followed by “Two More Bottles of Wine,” they were hitting on all cylinders.
Joining founding members Rachel Steele (vocals), Scott Prentice (guitar/vocals) and David Phelps (guitar) were Billy Haggard (guitar), Charlie McGimsey (drums), and Todd Prout (bass).
Road 88 was voted Best Local Band in Sacramento for 2011 by local television station KCRA’s A-list. At the time they had been together a couple of years and already had a hit climbing the charts in Europe with their song “Not Gonna Happen.”
Since that time there has been some shuffling of band members resulting in the lineup above. The move appears to be successful with some great guitar playing throughout their set, and a new level of energy, with Haggard bouncing around the stage, going from one performer to the next saying god knows what, but apparently making everyone laugh. The only question is – Were they laughing with him or at him?
Road 88 continued with a few of their original songs including “Drive” and “Child of Innocence.”
Prentice soloed with “That’s How They do it in Dixie,” followed by Steele closing their set in style with their original hard-driving “Faultline.”
After a quick set-change the Marshall Tucker Band took the stage with 64 year old founding member Doug Gray singing “This Old Cowboy.” As soon as the flute kicked in I was reminded of why Marshall Tucker’s music has stood out for all these years.
The Marshall Tucker band members included Marcus James Henderson (flute/sax/keyboards), Pat Elwood (bass), Chris Hicks (guitar), and B.B. Bordon (drums). The guys were the true stars of the show playing extended versions of their hits like “Hillbilly Band,” “Fire on the Mountain,” and “24 hours at a Time.”
Henderson was non-stop, playing the flute, on to the sax, over to the keyboards and then back again. He did an awesome job, earning him several well deserved standing O’s.
Gray, being the southern gentleman that he is, talked to the crowd in between songs, joking about his age and how the band has been around for 40 years. Focusing on one of the younger ladies in the front row, he joked about her not understanding what Winterland meant, referencing their legendary performance at Bill Graham’s Winterland auditorium in San Francisco back in 1973.
For their finale, “Can’t You See,” Gray had the audience singing “‘Can’t you see, can’t you see, what that woman has been doing to me,’ providing one of those “goose-bump” moments.
While Gray’s voice isn’t what it used to be, he still has that wonderful soulful sound, although a bit rough at times. The instrumentals were to die for, with soaring flute solos and hard driving guitar riffs. All executed with perfection.
The Marshall Tucker Band is truly an awesome instrumental group bursting at the seams with talent, making for a memorable performance and reminding me of a entire orchestra rather than a handful of performers.
KNCI’s Country Christmas concert was an evening packed with country greats including The JaneDear Girls, American Idol finalist Danny Gokey, Sacramento’s own Attwater, Craig Campbell, and duo Montgomery Gentry.
Leading the pack was The JaneDear Girls coming out singing “Merry Go Round” followed by “Shotgun Girl.” The duo, made up of Susie Brown (vocals, mandolin, fiddle, bass, guitar, accordion) and Danelle Leverett (vocals, guitar, banjo, harmonica) are well versed in a number of instruments and they were continually switching instruments.
Brown also treated the audience to a fantastic solo piece with the fiddle. Quite impressive!
Local country music sensation Attwater came out with both barrels blasting singing “Daydreaming” and “Runnin”. The duo, consisting of Erika Attwater and Jonathon Richards, had an extra band member. Sorry, but I wasn’t able to get her name. I will research and update this as soon as I find out. She was awesome playing the Ukulele.
Craig Campbell followed Attwater. Obviously he has a lot of fans in the Sacramento area because the crowd went wild as he came out on stage. Towards the end of his set he sang his newly recorded Christmas song “I’ll Be Home for Christmas.” Dedicating it to Specialist Ben Nichols and his girlfriend Michelle.
The couple met at Country in the Park a couple of years ago and Nichols couldn’t make it to this years event, so he recorded a special message for everyone at this years Country in the Park. Pat and Tom brought Michelle onstage and asked her what is the one thing she wanted most for Christmas. She responded “To have Ben home,” at which point the brought Nichols onstage.
American Idol alumni Danny Gokey kicked his set off with “Bad Timing” and “Be Somebody.” Gokey sang a couple of his songs as well as a couple of covers. He did a great job working the crowd and getting them on their feet.
Montgomery Gentry blasted onto the stage and showed everyone in attendance why they were headlining the show. Troy Gentry and Eddie Montgomery were high energy with Montgomery stealing the show. He was all over the stage swinging the mic stand around like it was nothing. They started their set with “Hillbilly Shoes” and “Ever Stop Loving Me,” with the audience on their feet and cheering throughout their set and ended with “Gone.”
|The JaneDear Girls:
Merry Go Round
| Danny Gokey:
Like That’s A Bad Thing
What Hurts The Most
Second Hand Heart
O Holy Night
Crazy Not To
My Best Days
Life is A Highway
Livin’ On A Prayer
You Got Away
All I want for Christmas
| Montgomery Gentry:
Ever Stop Loving Me
Back When I Knew it All
Something to be Proud of
Damn Right I Am
Where I come From
Roll With Me
What do You Think About That
One in Every Crowd
This was not your run of the mill fundraiser either. KVIE recorded the performance and will be using the footage to produce a PBS Special, which will ultimately be used in pledge drives across the country and be made available in DVD format.
So why choose Blame Sally for such an event? KVIE is using Blame Sally to show women of all ages, middle age in particular, that they can accomplish so much more. In their 30′s and 40′s they put their individual careers on hold to start Blame Sally. As a role model, Blame Sally proves that women in their 30′s and 40′s can get together and form, of all things, a rock band. Let me add ““ a successful and great sounding rock band.
Not only are they an inspiration to women around the world, but to anyone out there who’s thought about walking away from their career to pursue their bliss.
Blame Sally had a large contingent of diehard fans in attendance, with most traveling from the San Francisco Bay Area by car, train, and bus. Okay, not so sure if anyone took a bus, but I did talk to someone who took the train from Berkeley. It took her four cabs to finally find a driver who knew how to get to the KVIE studios.
This was my first Blame Sally concert, so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had listened to some of their music prior to attending the show to see what I was in for, so I knew I was going to enjoy their sound, which I did ““ immensely.
What I didn’t expect was the relaxing back and forth banter amongst the group. They looked completely at home as no less than eight cameras were rolling, including a boom camera reaching out over the audience zooming in on unsuspecting band members and concert goers alike.
Blame Sally kicked it off with “Big Big Bed” off of their latest album “A Speeding Ticket and a Valentine.” Pam Delgado was on percussions, Renee Harcourt on guitar/bass, Jeri Jones on guitar/bass and Monica Pasqual on piano/accordion. All band members share in the responsibility of lead vocals and switch off as the song dictates.
I totally missed the fact that there was a man playing bass. Rob Strom who recently joined Blame Sally could be seen in the background. All I had to do was focus and look beyond all the stunning beauty at the front of the stage. Not to say Rob isn’t stunning, he is ““ at least when he’s playing with Blame Sally.
The only case of nerves I noticed? As the band was a few chords into their second song Pasqual shouts “Cut!” stating she started off with the wrong chords because she was just noticing all the cameras.
Pasqual didn’t leave it at that either. Just prior to “Orange,” she was all set to start with her accordion at the ready. Only problem was, the song called for keyboards. It was comical as the band members would exchange barbs back and forth during times like this.
They had plenty of time to exchange those barbs too. Why? In between songs Jones and Harcourt would tune their guitars. Ok, Harcourt would sometimes tune her guitar and then wait for Jones to finish tuning hers, but that was all good. During those times it was as if I was at a comedy club with the jokes going back and forth. Let me see, there were comments about someone’s new hairdo, wardrobe malfunctions, instrument malfunctions, and so much more. You’ll have to wait for the DVD.
For their last song Delgado led the audience through a chorus of do da’s and da doo’s or some such nonsense. Did I say nonsense? I don’t think so. The result was nothing short of amazing. She taught the audience their part and explained that everyone was to start as soon as she signaled. The audience started right on cue. As the song started to come to a close the instruments started to slowly die down with the audience still singing. It was a serious goose bump moment. The song? Again, you’re going to have to wait for the DVD!
If you’re in the Bay Area make sure you catch Blame Sally at Berkeley’s Freight and Salvage Coffeehouse on December 9th. They will be touring out of state during January and February, returning to California in March. Their complete schedule can be viewed at http://blamesally.com/shows/
Give them a listen ““ you’ll be glad you did, and if for some reason you don’t like them? Blame Sally, not me.
Lynyrd Skynyrd arrived with both barrels blazing promoting their latest album, “God and Guns,” in their Florida’s Finest tour at Thunder Valley Casino and Resort Thursday night. The band entertained and delighted a full house of die-hard Skynyrd fans ““ a.k.a. the Skynyrd Nation.
It was obvious that their music is enjoyed by a number of generations, as I watched young and old stand up and cheer. Crowds of non-ticket holders gathered in the parking lot area and on the sidewalks outside the amphitheater.
When they took the stage, the crowd erupted into cheers, with the band kicking it off with “Working for MCA.” As they were leading into “I Ain’t the One,” lead singer Johnny Van Zant said hello to the crowd and thanked everyone for being there.
The audience never sat down the entire concert, even through the slower medleys, such as “That Smell.” The band sounded great and had a solid stage presence, keeping the audience engaged throughout the evening.
Guitarist Rickey Medlocke was tossing out guitar picks to the audience and I thought to myself, how does he know they need a guitar pick, let alone that they play guitar? But it didn’t matter. They were gobbled up before they even had a chance to hit the ground.
They dedicated “Simple Man” to our troops as a huge backdrop fell into place showing the U.S. flag and emblems of the various armed services.
It was a touching moment, with the crowd going quiet but remaining standing.
Toward the end of the concert, Van Zant waved an Alabama state flag attached to a microphone stand. He was encouraging the audience to scream “Alabama!” to prepare for their next song, “Sweet Home Alabama.” As soon as they started up the song, they were met with the wildest and loudest cheers of the show.
For their encore the band came out with Van Zant taunting the crowd.
“You know what you want to hear,” he said.
“In the words of my brother Ronnie Van Zant, what is it you want to hear?”
“Free Bird!” And with that last request, they started up the song.
Lynyrd Skynyrd has a rich but tragic history. Producing over 60 albums, they have sold well over 30 million records and continue to sell a million records each year.
They got their start in Florida in 1964 and were known as The Noble Five. They later changed their name to Leonard Skinnered, which ultimately morphed into the spelling they use today. They got their name from high school teacher Leonard Skinner, who strictly enforced the school’s policy against boys having long hair.
Their rise to fame finally came in 1973 when they released their first album, “(Pronounced ‘LÄ•h-’nÃ©rd ‘Skin-’nÃ©rd).” The album contained the hit song “Free Bird.”
On October 20, 1977, right after the release of “Street Survivors,” Lynyrd Skynyrd’s chartered airplane ran out of fuel near the end of their flight. The plane went down in a forest in Gillsburg, Miss. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick and both pilots were killed on impact. Other band members and crew suffered serious injuries.
The remaining members disbanded, reuniting once to perform an instrumental version of “Free Bird” at Charlie Daniels’ Volunteer Jam V in 1979.
Of the surviving band members:
Allen Collins crashed his car while driving drunk near his home in Jacksonville, killing his girlfriend and leaving him permanently paralyzed from the chest down. Collins died on January 23, 1990, due to pneumonia.
Leon Wilkeson, Skynyrd’s bassist since 1972, was found dead in his hotel room on July 27, 2001. His death was attributed to emphysema and chronic liver disease.
Billy Powell died on January 28, 2009, at the age of 56. An autopsy was never performed. It is assumed he died of a heart attack since he had missed a doctor’s appointment the day before for a checkup on his heart.
Powell’s death left Gary Rossington as the sole pre-crash member of the band.
Newer band members:
Hughie Thomasson died in his sleep on September 9, 2007, of an apparent heart attack in his home in Brooksville, Fla. at the age of 55.
Ean Evans (bass) died on May 6, 2009, from cancer.
As it states on their website, “Beyond the tragedy, the history, the raging guitars and the killer songs, ultimately, Lynyrd Skynyrd is about an indomitable will. About survival of spirit; unbowed, uniquely American, stubbornly resoluteCurrent band members:
Gary Rossington- Guitar
Johnny Van Zant- Vocals
Rickey Medlocke- Guitar
Mark “Sparky” Matejka- Guitar
Michael Cartellone- Drums
Robert Kearns – Bass
Peter “Keys” Pisarczyk – Keyboards
Dale Krantz Rossington- Backing Vocals
Carol Chase- Backing Vocals
Working for MCA
I Ain’t the One
What’s Your Name
Down South Jukin
I Got the Same Old Blues
I Know a Little
T for Texas
Gimme Three Steps
Call Me the Breeze
Sweet Home Alabama