Watch Lynyrd Skynyrd perform first show since Gary Rossington’s death – Rolling Stone

If you thought the death of Gary Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s only surviving original member, last Sunday would end the southern rock band’s 52-year career, you only needed to be at the Plant City Strawberry Festival in Florida on Sunday night. Lynyrd Skynyrd took the stage a week after their founding guitarist’s death at 71 to play every hit, from “What’s Your Name” and “Gimme Three Steps” to the one-two show closing “Sweet Home Alabama” and ” Free” Bird.”

But the group also paid tribute to Rossington with a mid-show performance of “Tuesday’s Gone,” setting the song to images of the late guitarist, who in 1964 formed the earliest version of the band that became Lynyrd Skynyrd with singer Ronnie Van Zant and drummer Bob Burns. Rossington would go on to survive the 1977 plane crash that killed Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines and ultimately break up the band. After a 10-year hiatus, the group reformed in 1987 with Ronnie’s younger brother Johnny Van Zant as lead singer, kicking off a 36-year (and counting) second act that has seen various members shuffle through the lineup.

Rossington’s health kept him off the road in recent months — his last performance with Lynyrd Skynyrd was a PBS taping at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium last November — and the group called on guitarist Damon Johnson to fill in. Johnson played with Skynyrd in Florida on Sunday night and rounded out. out of the band’s three-guitar attack opposite Rickey Medlocke (member since 1996) and Mark Matejka (who joined in 2006). As the band performed “Free Bird”, Rossington’s first name was projected on a screen next to that of other fallen Skynyrd members.


Last fall, Rossington spoke Rolling stones about classic bands that continue with few, if any, original members. “I look out and I don’t see the original band – it’s weird. And then I look out and I see a replacement for me, which is weird. Just hearing the songs without me playing them live is very weird,” he said .” So 101 strange things happen. But to see the younger people enjoying it warms your heart.”

Lynyrd Synyrd’s next show is set for April 29th in Brandon, Mississippi. This summer they will join ZZ Top – who are also soldiering on with a replacement after founding member Dusty Hill died in 2021 – on a joint tour. The Sharp Dressed Simple Man Tour kicks off July 21st in West Palm Beach, Florida and runs through September.

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