The bands story took a tragic turn in October 1977 when a plane crash took the lives of Van Zant, Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, and several of their road crew. The band took a decade-long hiatus before reuniting for a tour and live album, Southern by the Grace of God. Since then, the band has toured and recorded extensively, with their most recent release being Last Of A Dyin Breed. The bands current line-up includes original member Rossington, Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke, Mark Sparky Matejka, Michael Cartellone, Keith Christopher, Peter Keys, Dale Krantz Rossington and Carol Chase. The band was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.
A month ago, if anyone had told me I'd be standing in the middle of a crowd watching Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd perform at Charlotte , NC 's Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, I probably would have laughed hysterically. After all, my gun rack's broken, and I seem to have misplaced the top to my rebel flag bikini. However, that's exactly where I found myself last Sunday night! The Rock & Rebels 2009 Tour, starring Kid Rock and Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd, rolled into town last weekend, and I just couldn't resist heading out to see it!
Now for anyone who has never been to a Skynyrd show, especially one in the south, I must say it could only be described as a "unique cultural experience". There was no shortage of rebel flags or almost cartoonishly over-the-top expressions of patriotism and southern pride. Indeed, I knew it was going to be an interesting evening when singer, Johnny Van Zant announced (perhaps a little too late) that it was "time to get redneck", but not even I could deny the incredible performance that shined onstage in spite of the slightly uncomfortable atmosphere in the crowd. I arrived just as Skynyrd began to play "Simple Man", a favorite tune of mine and one that I was excited to hear live, and was overcome by their heartfelt rendition of it. In fact, Lynyrd Skynyrd's performance was full of such southern musical gems. These 2006 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees did what they do best, displaying their impressive musicianship, and putting on a highly spirited show all in the name of dear ol' Dixie.
The real treat of the evening for me, however, was the equally impressive, unbelievably electric performance of Kid Rock and his Twisted Brown Trucker band! The stage could barely hold the enormous amount of energy pouring out of this group of highly skilled, multi-talented musicians. Kid Rock delighted female audience members with his sexy swagger and badboy style while belting out tunes like "So Hott" and "Rock N Roll Jesus", and at one point, proved himself to be a true "American Badass" by playing every instrument on the stage. He even showed off his DJ skills on the turntables! Not to worry, guys. There was plenty of eye candy for male audience members as well in the form of his two gorgeous backup singers, one of whom with which Kid Rock performed the popular duet, "Picture". My verdict? From elaborate pyrotechnics to good old fashioned make-a-sunday-school-teacher-want-to-steal-a-chevy-and-make-out-in-the-back-seat kind of rock n' roll, Kid Rock and Lynyrd Skynyrd's Rock & Rebels 2009 tour is as good as it gets! Do yourself a favor, and catch it before it's over!
Story by Azlana Darque ©2009.