Makes for most excellent viewing and comes recommended to the casual and diehard fan alike.
The appetite remains for all things Lynyrd Skynyrd. Following the now exceedingly well-documented plane crash that claimed the lives of three band members and their tour manager, one could quite rightly argue that Skynyrd are more popular now than perhaps during that of their heyday of the mid-seventies. For many of the Skynyrd purists, the band ended that fateful day in October 1977, but for the average joe who has grown up listening to 'Free Bird' or 'Sweet Home Alabama' on the countless Classic Rock stations across the world, the fact remains that there is something about Skynyrd that has managed to transcend age gaps, race, creed and musical genres, meaning the Skynyrd of 2015 is still a massive touring entity, selling hundreds of thousands of concert tickets each year.
Filmed at The Florida Theatre in their home town of Jacksonville over two nights in April of this year (and available in DVD, Blu-ray or 2CD formats), Skynyrd blaze their way through their first two albums in their entirety, possibly for the first time ever, with every single track that made both albums get an airing. Seldom if ever played tracks such as 'Poison Whisky', 'Things Goin' On' and 'Mississippi Kid' from 'Pronounced 'Léh-nérd 'Skin-nérd' along with 'I Need You', 'Don't Ask Me No Questions' and 'Swamp Music' from 'Second Helping' adding the sense of occasion for the Skynyrd anorak.
What does stand out is the fact that from both of these Al Kooper produced masterpieces, a stunning Ten, yes, ten tracks can be found in pretty much almost any Skynyrd set-list over the past twenty-five years. Bona Fide classics such as '...Bird' '...Alabama' 'Tuesday's Gone', 'Gimme Three Steps', 'Simple Man', 'Needle And The Spoon' and the wonderfully understated 'Ballad Of Curtis Lowe' (depending on which version of events you believe may have been written about Shorty Medlocke; think Blackfoot's 'Train Train' from 'Strikes' and also of course Skynyrd's guitarist Ricky Medlocke's gran-daddy).
Musically, Skynyrd could probably perform the majority of their rich back catalogue blindfolded, however the very idea of getting to grips with tracks that they possibly haven't even listened to for over two decades presents a whole plethora of problems in its own right. However Skynyrd, despite always presenting that affable "who gives a shit boy from next door having a good time" image are damn fine musicians one and all, and live... well, they absolutely nail it as you would expect.
Despite performing the original albums with only one original member on stage (Gary Rossington), it somehow, even to a hardened Skynyrd critic like myself, seems in any way like a cheap shot at the memory of those that have gone before. There are an almost countless amount of live Skynyrd DVDs, videos and albums in circulation, many mind-numbingly repetitive re-issues under different titles of, well frankly poor (by their own high standards) live performances, however this particular offering has a little bit about it to make it stand out from the crowd. Perhaps it's the fact that it's on hallowed turf, or perhaps it's because of the sheer quality of the songs on offer; this boys and girls is about as close as anyone who had ever hoped to see the original band in action in their early days is likely to get.
Padded out with the now obligatory backstage interview with Rossington, Johnny Van Zant and Medlocke paying tribute to past members as you would expect given the subject matter of the impending live performance, it makes for most excellent viewing and comes recommended to the casual and diehard fan alike.