After decades of keeping the music of Lynyrd Skynyrd alive with a rotating carousel of players, original member Gary Rossington and the band are returning on its “Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour" at 6 p.m. July 13 at the Darien Lake Amphitheatre. Here's a quick look at where the band has been and what to expect at the show.
You know Lynyrd Skynyrd from: Cultivating a sound and image associated with Southern rock ’n’ roll; sing-along hits like “Freebird” and “Sweet Home Alabama;” and its perpetual existence atop classic rock radio countdowns.
Noted lineup: The 1977 “Street Survivors” edition, featuring Ronnie Van Zant (lead vocals), Steve Gaines (guitar), Allen Collins (guitar), Gary Rossington (guitar), Billy Powell (keyboards), Leon Wilkeson (bass), and Artimus Pyle (drums).
Current tour’s lineup: After a plane crash in 1977 took the lives of Van Sant and Gaines — and time has taken Collins, Powell and Wilkeson — different versions of it have continued in name only. The current “Farewell Tour” features original member Rossington, surrounded by Johnny Van Zant (vocals), Rickey Medlocke (guitar), Mark “Sparky” Matejka (guitar), Michael Cartellone (drums), Johnny Colt (bass), Peter Keys (keyboards), Dale Krantz Rossington and Carol Chase (backing vocals).
A rebel yell before farewell: Rossington and Johnny Van Sant — Ronnie’s younger brother — are ready to retire its long-running tribute to the substance and spirit of Jacksonville, Fla.’s cherished rock outfit. Its catalog has influenced generations of Southern rock musicians, inspired a variety of memorable film scenes, and served as impetus for tailgate drinking and drunken song demands from coast to coast. It’s been a wild run, but its remnants should live on.
What to expect: Popular American imagery (complemented by flames) on T-shirts and flags. Wild hoots and waving Zippo lighters. Hundreds of swaying dudes unironically shouting for “Freebird”— and that’s just on the Darien Lake lawn. As for the band, the current collection of Rossington-directed hired guns will deliver the hits to drive the fans wild, as well as honor the act that once was. That version of Skynyrd left a prolific succession of Mason-Dixon-defining rockers that have reverberated for decades. Add those to the country-touched barrage sure to come from openers Jamey Johnson, Charlie Daniels and Marshall Tucker, and the night has the makings of a live revue so Southern-centric, it could make the late Jefferson Davis dance.
The show: Lynyrd Skynyrd with the Marshall Tucker Band, Charlie Daniels Band and Jamey Johnson, 6 p.m. July 13 at the Darien Lake Amphitheatre. Tickets are $30-$200 (ticketmaster.com).