Archive for the ‘Lynyrd Skynyrd’ Category

Lynyrd Skynyrd Newcastle City Hall 1977 (and a look back to 1974 and 1976)

Lynyrd Skynyrd Newcastle City Hall 1977 (and a look back to 1974 and 1976)
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I saw Lynyrd Skynyrd three times in the 70s; once at Newcastle City Hall supporting Golden Earring (they blew them offstage), supporting the Stones at Knebworth in 76 (some would argue that they were the better band on the day) and then this gig where they headlined their own UK tour and called at Newcastle City Hall in 1977.
I’ll start with some brief memories of the Golden Earring support slot, which I have already blogged on, under Golden Earring. “The most memorable thing that I remember about the City Hall gig was the support act, who were Lynyrd Skynyrd, and blew Golden Earring off the stage that night. skynyrdprog77 It was an unlikely pairing of acts even at the time, as Skynyrd were an up and coming band, having just released their second album. In fact, many members of the audience left after Skynyrd’s set.” My friend John recalls: “I can remember the very large Confederate Flag behind the band and for me it was the best gig I saw them play. They were fresh, different and very exciting with an epic version of Free Bird. At later shows I sometimes felt they were going through the motions and the fire was missing”.
John and I then saw Skynyrd at Knebworth where they (almost) stole the show from the headliners, the Rolling Stones. They played a lengthy version of Freebird that day, with amazing guitar solos, and which gained them a lot of friends. It was a red hot afternoon and Skynyrd came into their own, with their twin guitars dualing across the opposite sides of the Stones tongue stage. This was televised on the Old Grey Whistle Test, and helped propel the band to mega status in the UK. They were back for their own tour in 1977, which sold out very quickly. Support act was Clover, an American band with a country boogie feel. Skynyrd came over as conquering heroes and the thing I remember most is that they were incredibly LOUD. It was probably one of the loudest gigs I have ever been to. Oh and Freebird went on for ever, and ever, and ever. I thought that the song was never going to end (but it was still good 🙂 ).
goldenearing The setlist from Knebworth 1976 is listed here. I think their set at the City Hall in 1977 was quite similar; give or take a couple of songs: Workin’ for MCA; I Ain’t the One; Saturday Night Special; Whiskey Rock-a-Roller; Travelin’ Man; Searching; What’s Your Name; That Smell; Gimme Three Steps; Call Me the Breeze; T for Texas; Sweet Home Alabama; Free Bird.
skynyrdprog76 On October 20, 1977, just three days after the release of Street Survivors, and five shows into their most successful headlining tour to date, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s chartered jet ran out of fuel near the end of their flight from Greenville where they had just performed at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium. The pilots attempted an emergency landing on a small airstrip, but the plane crashed in a forest in Mississippi. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, Cassie Gaines, assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary and co-pilot William Gray were killed on impact; the other band members (Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins), tour manager Ron Eckerman, and road crew all suffered serious injuries.
I had tickets to see the Rossington Collins band at the City Hall in the late 70s, but the tour was cancelled. I saw a more recent (re)incarnation of Lynyrd Skynyrd at Manchester Apollo in 2009 and they were pretty damn good too! I’ve already blogged on that gig.

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Golden Earring Newcastle Mayfair and Newcastle City Hall 1974

goldenearing Golden Earring are something of an institution in their home country of Holland. They formed in 1961, and are still playing to this day. In 1973 they had worldwide success with the song Radar Love, which is just a great rock song. The following year they toured the UK twice; calling at Newcastle Mayfair in March and at the City Hall in November. I remember my mate Norm and I going along to the Mayfair gig.  There was a massive queue to get in, and the place was absolutely crammed. We didn’t know much of their music, possibly only Radar Love, but really enjoyed the gig. Their lp at the time was Moontan, and I would imagine that the set was largely drawn from that album. photo-11 The most memorable thing that I remember about the City Hall gig later in the same year was the support act, who were Lynyrd Skynyrd, and blew Golden Earring off the stage that night.It was an unlikely pairing of acts even at the time, as Skynyrd were an up and coming band, having just released their second album. In fact, many members of the audience left after Skynyrd’s set. Golden Earring have not been much of a visitor to the UK since those days; I think they may have come over only once or twice since. I always bought a programme at gigs, but for some reason I don’t seem to have a copy of the programme for this concert. Many thanks to John for sending me a scan of his.

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
Encore
Freebird

website: http://www.lynyrdskynyrd.com
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