Shooter Jennings / 3 Doors Down
Lynyrd Skynyrd July 14,2006
Post Gazette, Pittsburgh, Pa
Well it was a very hot and humid night when the Skynyrd boys rolled back into stee ltown with an all star show. First up was Shooter Jennings who played there hearts out despite the fact of the nearly empty venue.This boy has what it takes and laid out a 45 minute set of some hot country laced southern blues.They have great potential and even did a meet -n-greet autograph session after they finished there set.Look forward to what potential this band has to offer in the future.
After a quick set change they curtains opened to reveal a very high tech stage with the boys 3 Doors Down hailing from the Biloxi, Mississippi area. Although relative newcomers on the music scene 3 Doors down became a group of 3 guitars, drummer, and lead singer 2 years ago and roared onto the music scene with a definite presence that not only is captured on there cds but really have a nice stage presence which some bands take years to develop. I must admit that I was not very familiar with there music but did enjoy them very much.The lighting show that accompanied their set was very sweet and the venue started to fill in and they had a pretty good fan base as they rocked the crowd with there guitar driven brand of rock n roll. A few of the tunes that I did recognize from radio and MTV was there mega hit "Kryptonite" which got a huge ovation from the crowd and commanded attention to there lead singer who belted out he tunes all night long in a very casual but powerful demeanor..Also done were the song "Here Without You" and "When I'm Gone".The band is not only guitar driven but lyrically strong too and that's what made them who they are today. The song "Be Like That" showcased the guitar licks that these young men could lay down to the delight of the ever growing crowd. Every year they do a charity auction and this year among the many things is a special guitar made for this tour to be auctioned off and all the proceeds going to the hurricane Katrina victims which again proves they are not only great rockers but give back to the fans some of what they reap. They had a nice tribute to the troops fighting for us in this crazy war and ended the set with a blistering encore.
Well the anticipation grew as the sun set behind the now filled amphitheatre and the lights dimmed. As the music started the crowd erupted into a thunderous roar as the Skynyrd boys took the stage with the fury of a freight train.Opening with a fan favorite Workin For MCA this was going to be a night of Skynyrd at there best. Having added a third guitarist to fill the void left by the departure of Hughie Thomason, newcomer Mark Matejka ( SPARKY ) is a guitar giant and had played with the Charlie Daniels band for may years.He is a very nice fit into the guitar army of the Skynyrd band. Being a Skynyrd fan since 1973 has seen many changes of personal and all have been good and the originals like Leon, Allen, Steve and of course Ronnie are sadly missed but this new lineup is keeping the music alive for new generations of fans.And to be honest the band is firing on all cylinders at this time and stronger than ever and truly appreciate the fan base..
Rickey Medlocke shined strong on You Got That Right with not only lead guitar but vocals also . Johnny worked the super owl crowd to his advantage stating that this was the first time Skynyrd had played there since they were world champions and this brought a round of Steelers hats and towels flying to the stage To the delight of the crowd Johnny and Ricky both sported the caps .He also reminded the crowd that this was where LYVE FROM STEELTOWN was recorded and that they love Pittsburgh.
They broke into a blistering version of That Smell that had the crowd singing and dancing in the aisles and the lawnThe set list was like a greatest hits album of skynyrd classics and the medley they do is a very nice version of the classics also. The highlights of that was Gimme Back My Bullets and the ballad of Curtis Loew. After that followed a nice and perhaps the biggest sea of bic lighters I have ever witnessed in all the years as they did Simple Man.
Always a crowd favorite there were literally several thousand lighters all waving in the breeze It was sight that brought tears to ones eyes as the crowd was so loud at points drowning out the band.It was a sight that I will never forget to the day I die for sure.Then kicking it up notch if that was possible they did a rousing tribute to the troops with Red White and Blue which again had lighters waving and American flags everywhere raised proudly as they paid homage to all the troops that are fighting for our freedom..Now in high gear they ripped into another crowd pleaser with Gimme Three Steps in which they got the crowd so into it you just wondered if the energy level could get any higher as the band was clearly feeding off the crowd and vise versa.
Now we had a real treat as Johnny invited the boys from 3 Doors Down and Shooter Jennings back on stage for a killer version of Sweet Home Alabama. This was rare and I tell you that it was one blistering live version with seven guitar players all on stage and the lead singers of all three bands trading licks. Well the crowd was worked into a absolute frenzy at this point and you know what song Pittsburgh wanted to hear. Billy Powell did a very nice and classic intro that showcased Billy's real talents that often get hidden. And anyone that has been to a skynyrd concert today or back in 1973 knows what the feelings is like when freebird kicks off and works into the guitar frenzy that the fans have come to see.The only thing hotter than the Pittsburgh air this night was the Skynyrd Boys who came and gave the crowd 100% pure rock n roll at it finest.
Yes indeed there will never be another Skynyrd like '73 but in some ways this band plays with more guts and drive and no matter your feelings on old vs. new these guys are a real tribute to the founders and the legacy of Ronnie Van Zant. All I can say is SKYNYRD'S IN THE HOUSE catch them if you can.
-Rick & Joann Pierce