Lynyrd Skynyrd-Fri.,March 27th,2015@Casino Rama

Photography by Scott Hughes

In 1969, Ronnie Van Zant sought a name.for his Rock Band and  The group settled on Leonard Skinnerd, and eventually spelled “Lynyrd Skynyrd”  a mocking tribute to a physical-education teacher at Robert E. Lee High School in Jacksonville, Florida who was notorious for strictly enforcing the school’s policy against boys having long hair. Eventually being their signature name and the name of their 1st albums: “Pronounced  Len-nerd Skin-nerd”
Lynyrd Skynyrd  has been playing their brand of “Southern Fried Rock” for over 40+ years and It was their 40th anniversary of the release of their third album, “Nuthin’ Fancy”, which has gone Double Platinum.
Just your basic “Southern Fried Rock” band with their eight-piece ensemble and two female back-up singers with no fireworks, smoke bombs or “Pink Floyd” like laser show. The hits were performance, clearly demonstrating why the band and their legendary brand of southern rock have been around despite the many tragedies and member losses that have occurred during their iconic career. I remember as a teenager wanting to see them on their “Street Survivor” tour only to have the show cancelled due to the tragic plane crash.
Frontman Johnny Van Zant called out for the reserved Casino crowd to get off their seats and join in on the festivities while carrying a worn and yellowed US flag wrapped around the mic stand on stage. The mostly older conservative Casino audience didn’t begin to let loose until the time the band played “What’s Your Name”and”Call Me The Breeze”.
Yes the predominately older generations of fans were on hand but a new generation has discovered “Skynyrd” with the popularity of “New Country”  when we  looked out at the audience and Van Zant commented on the wide variety of fans on hand. Though the mixture of ages was slow to warm up, eventually they embraced the band’s energy and fed it back during songs like Simple Man,Saturday Night Special, Gimme Three Steps, Tuesday’s Gone, and That Smell,
Slowing the pace somewhat, the melodic “Simple Man” was dedicated to Canadian and US troops and their families, with Van Zant putting the Canadian flag to his mic stand as he reminded folks of the band’s support of the “Land of the Free. Then came “Sweet Home Alabama” which rounded out the main set on a high note, as show goers sang along with hands in the air and waving from side to side. We were waiting for the fire code to be broken with the waving of matches and cigarette lighters.
Other members included: bassist Johnny Colt with his multiple hat changes, Pianist/keys player Peter Keys,. Also in the band are: Gary Rossington-Guitars, Rickey Medlocks-Vocals,Drums and Mandolin, Johnny Van Zant-Lead Vocals, Michael Carellone-Drums, Touring Members include: Dale Krantz and Carol Chase-Backing Vocals.
Their Anthem  which closes out their performance with “Freebird” as their encore. Van Zant exited the stage upon completion of vocals and the left the band to showcase their talent to the audience who were now on their feet. With guitars all in sequence,  the Casino Rama fans on their feet singing the Skynyrd standard to end of the show. On a sombre note, original drummer Bob Burns passed away and all Lynyrd Skynyrd family/fans/music lovers pay their condolences to The Burns family.
A big thank you goes out to Mr.Scott Hughes for covering the Lynyrd Skynyrd and keeping the spirit of Rock N’ Roll alive!