The band that would become Lynyrd Skynyrd -- and go on to sell millions of records throughout the '70s, in the process becoming the official ambassador-to-the-world for Southern rock -- began as a basement band back in 1964. More than four decades on, the band continues to tour the globe, bringing its stirring blend of blues, folk, country and rock 'n' roll to audiences still hungry for Skynyrd's potent brand of Deep South boogie.
Much has changed since Skynyrd first brought its triple-guitar attack to the rowdy arena crowds of the '70s. Most of the original band is gone, leaving only guitarist Gary Rossington and pianist Billy Powell in the founding member department. The infamous plane crash of '77 took original vocalist Ronnie Van Zandt, and with him, much of the band's fire. Later, guitarist Allen Collins died following complications surrounding a car accident. Bassist Leon Wilkeson passed away following the band's tour with Deep Purple some six years back.
The spirit of Skynyrd has endured all of this, remarkably. On Saturday, the group -- now featuring the talents of former Blackfoot guitarist Rickey Medlocke -- plays a sold-out show in the Seneca Events Center at the Seneca Niagara Casino and Hotel, beginning at 8 p.m.
-- Jeff Miers