Lynyrd Skynyrd Manchester Apollo 30th May 2009

Lynyrd Skynyrd Manchester Apollo 30th May 2009

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this. I saw Skynyrd three times in the 70s; once at Newcastle City Hall supporting Golden Earing (they blew them offstage), supporting the Stones at Knebworth in 76 (they were the better band on the day) and headlining the City Hall (was it 77? I remember they were unbelievably loud). I thought that this (re)incarnation of the band could’t possibly match those early shows, and wasn’t sure what to expect.

Support came from Ansley Lister who was pretty damn good, and went down well with the Manchester crowd. The place was packed to the walls. I had a standing ticket downstairs; it was really hot and sticky (mental note to myself: I am too old for this; always buy seats if you can). The crowd was of all ages; some kids who clearly couldn’t have seen the old band and some old timers like me who obviously had. Lots of cowboy hats on grey haired heads and lots of flags; people had waited a long time for this show and had come from far and wide. Saw a few familiar faces from Newcastle and Sunderland.

I took a place near the front towards the side of the stage. Skynyrd took the stage to a great reception and launched into a set mainly drawn from their 70s albums. So were they as good as in 70s? Actually yes; and the show seemed quite similar to those 70s shows as I remember them. They were still very very loud, with great guitar from Gary Rossington and the other guitarists. Johnny Van Zant does his brother proud. Standouts for me were That Smell, Simple Man, and Tuesday’s Gone. They finish with Sweet Home Alabama and encore with (of course) Freebird. Awesome. So those of you who think this is a cover band and not as good as the old band are wrong in my view. These guys have the same passion, spirit and values as the guys we all saw in the 70s. Tonight renewed my faith in old rock bands and reminded what it used to be like (mental note: yes I should try and make it to see Deep Purple in November even if it does mean a 150 mile drive on a weekday night). And my ears were still ringing when a got home at 1am! It really was like the 70s.

Setlist was something like:
Workin for MCA
I ain’t the one
Saturday night special
Whats your name
Simple man
That Smell
Whisky rock-a-rol ler
Medley – Down south Jukin, needle and the spoon, Double trouble and Tuesdays Gone.
Gimme three steps
Call me the breeze
Sweet Home Alabama



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