Archive for Gary Rossington

Live: ZZ Top/Lynyrd Skynyrd, Austin

Posted in Review with tags , , , , , , , , , , on October 23, 2011 by 30daysout

Dusty Hill, left, Frank Beard and Billy Gibbons tearin' it up in Austin. (Photo by Jave Del Rosario)

There was all kinds of stuff goin’ on this weekend in Austin – the amazing Texas Book Festival, the always-popular Austin Film Fest, the Austin Record Convention and the nicer-if-it’s-a-nice day Gypsy Festival showcasing the city’s food trailers. So what was our big event of the weekend? The so-called “First Annual La Grange Fest,” featuring ZZ Top and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Austin has a semi-new outdoor venue called the Backyard – kind of new, because they closed the old one and rebuilt a new one in a different location in the hills west of the city. It holds about 7,500 people and although I don’t think they had that kind of attendance Saturday night it sure seemed that way.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's (from left) Johnny Van Zant, Rickey Medlocke, Peter Keys (on piano) and Gary Rossington.

Nobody really followed a theme for the “First Annual La Grange Fest,” but former Slipknot and Stone Sour lead singer Corey Taylor, who opened the whole shebang, seemed to set a good tone with his acoustic covers including the Rolling Stones’ “Dead Flowers” and Tom Petty’s “You Got Lucky.” He even turned the Ramones’ “Outsiders” into a rousing country-rock anthem.

I wasn’t too impressed with Jamey Johnson, who is a more conventional country singer with an “outlaw” attitude. He has some nice tunes which he wraps with a gorgeous George Jones-style baritone, but his material tended to be a little slow and plodding for my tastes.

When he yielded the stage the sun was goin’ down, and out came the Confederate flags for Lynyrd Skynyrd. Sporting only one original member (guitarist Gary Rossington) Skynyrd didn’t disappoint. Lead singer Johnny Van Zant pandered to the crowd with his big rebel and U.S. flags and constant points up to the sky (acknowledgement of the “man up there.” Who? Ronnie? Who knows?).

A patron of the arts performs his interpretive dance to Skynyrd.

The Skynyrd encore began with Van Zant asking the crowd, “As my older brother Ronnie would say, ‘What song is it you want to hear?’ ” and the crowd responded with … yes, “Free Bird.”  But during the long guitar duel between Rossington, Rickey Medlocke and Houston’s own Mark “Sparky” Matejka, a disco ball dropped down from the stage rafters and sprayed everyone with tiny little shards of light. Is that some kind of comment? Dunno.

ZZ Top hit the stage with thunder and flash, with “Got Me Under Pressure” and “Waitin’ On The Bus.” Gibbons donned a “blues hat” over his African cap and snarled through “Cheap Sunglasses” and “I’m Bad, I’m Nationwide” before performing a rousing “Hey Joe,” as a tribute to his old mentor Jimi Hendrix. Then, of course, the show wound down with the MTV hits “Gimme All Your Lovin’,” “Legs” and “Sharp Dressed Man.” The only thing left for the Top was to come out for the encore and romp through an extended “La Grange” (the only reference to the festival theme) and “Tush.”

The ZZ Top set was broadcast live on Sirius XM Outlaw Country, the first time in the band’s 40 years that they have participated in a real-time live radio broadcast. It may have been a good idea to listen on the radio – while this place the Backyard is an OK venue, the parking lot is a nightmare. We hung in a traffic jam for more than an hour and as a result it was a long 20-mile drive back to Austin. Everything else was all right at the Backyard, but that traffic issue was a cluster f**k.

Thanks to Jave Del Rosario for helping us out with some cool photos! The best ones here are his!

Billy Gibbons with ZZ Top drummer Frank Beard.

Guess whose setlist.

Rickey Medlocke of Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Lynyrd Skynyrd's disco ball during the guitar onslaught of "Free Bird."

Forgot your camera? Any old iPad will work.

Hill and Gibbons.

Yep, again.

Frank Beard, one of the best rock drummers around.

Hey, that's movie director Robert Rodriguez in the background!

The Backyard is a cozy little place with mesquite trees and a big Texas sky.

Man, this is just wrong.

One more. Thanks Jave!

YouTube: “Hey Joe” by ZZ Top

YouTube: “Free Bird” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

YouTube: Corey Taylor

Your Sister’s (Record) Rack: Lynyrd Skynyrd

Posted in Your Sister's Record Rack with tags , , , , , on April 7, 2011 by 30daysout

My sister actually locked her bedroom door this morning – I’m shut out of her awesome record collection! But never fear, I’ll pull out one of mine – hmmm, let’s go for the good stuff today. And so we have the soundtrack for Freebird: The Movie, by Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Freebird: The Movie is ostensibly a documentary film, released in 1996, but it’s really a concert movie featuring Skynyrd’s vintage three-guitar attack, filmed during various concerts in 1976 and 1977. Most of the footage comes from a 1976 performance in Knebworth, England in ’76 and features most of the original lineup with lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, the three stinging guitars of Steve Gaines, Allen Collins and Gary Rossington, and the keyboard work of Billy Powell. Somewhere along the line Ed King left the band and was replaced by Steve Gaines – I haven’t seen the movie, but apparently only Gaines is on the soundtrack although King is in the movie.

So let’s slap on the soundtrack LP – It kicks off with some recordings from England in 1976, “Workin’ For MCA,” “Saturday Night Special,” “Whiskey Rock-A-Roller.” You hear immediately this recording is a bit rougher and less polished than the classic live Skynyrd album One More From The Road (1976 ). But I like the gritty sound of this one; it sounds more like a concert recording to me, although I think engineers boosted the audience sound in places.

About seven songs in, we switch to a performance from July 1977, where Skynyrd performs “What’s Your Name” and “That Smell,” and between the two Van Zant mentions the new album they’re from, “comin’ out around September.” Then we go back to England and 1976, with awesome performances of “Gimme Three Steps” and “Call Me The Breeze” before the band winds it up for a rousing version of the Jimmie Rodgers classic, “T For Texas (Blue Yodel No. 1).” The boys rock that Rodgers tune, and there’s some nifty guitar work here … and it’s longer than the version of One More From The Road!

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