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article imageReview: Lynyrd Skynyrd rock the NYCB Theatre at Westbury, New York Special

By Markos Papadatos     Aug 15, 2013 in Entertainment
Westbury - On August 15, southern rock group Lynyrd Skynyrd played at the NYCB Theatre at Westbury in Long Island, New York, to a sold-out venue.
Lynyrd Skynyrd is comprised of Johnny Van Zant on lead vocals, Gary Rossington on lead and rhythm guitar, Rickey Medlocke on guitar, Mark “Sparky” Matejka on guitar, drummer Michael Cartellone, keyboardist Peter “Keys” Pisarczyk, as well as Johnny Colt on bass.
They opened their set with “Call Me The Breeze,” where the audience interacted well with the iconic group.
“How are you doing New York?” asked front-man Johnny Van Zant.
It was followed by “What’s Your Name,” where the crowd sang along with them, as well as “Gimme Back My Bullets.”
“All right, New York,” said Johnny. “How are you guys doing? It’s a Thursday night but we need to turn it into a Saturday night. We are celebrating 40 years together. I just wanted to tell you one thing. Lynyrd Skynyrd is in the house.”
They continued with “Down South Jukin’” and “That Smell,” the latter of which they incorporated as another sing-along with the audience, as the stage was graced in yellow lights.
“We look forward to coming back and seeing you guys each year,” Johnny said. “You are an awesome little audience. God bless you all,” he added, and subsequently noted that their crowd tonight consisted of three generations of fans.
“If ya’ll like it, let’s get a little loud,” Johnny added prior to singing “You Got That Right.”
Lynyrd Skynyrd broke into “Saturday Night Special,” where they were able to get the crowd on their feet and “I Know a Little” was a catchy, up-tempo tune.
“How many die-hard Skynyrd fans are out there? Thank you so much for keeping our music alive all of these years. God bless you all,” Johnny stated.
It was followed by the poignant, yet patriotic vocal “Simple Man,” which they dubbed as one of their all-time “favorite songs” and it has extra significance to them since they dedicated it to the American troops overseas and their families.
“The troops will feel your spirit no matter where they are,” Johnny said, and the moving song was well-received, thus garnering the rock group a deserving standing ovation.
“We love you and we say that from our hearts. Skynyrd fans are true fans,” Johnny said graciously. “Again, God bless our troops and their families and God bless our ‘simple men’ in New York tonight.”
They took their audience on a trip down memory lane when they performed “Mississippi Kid,” a track from their debut studio album, in an acoustic fashion with acoustic guitars and mandolin.
“Do you know it?” Johnny asked, prior to singing “Tuesday’s Gone.” Ironically enough, the majority of the Long Island crowd was familiar with the tune and they were able to recite the lyrics back verbatim to the group.
Ever surprised, Johnny remarked, “I got chills, New York.”
After their rendition of “Gimme Three Steps,” Johnny showcased his patriotic spirit. “I’m loving the greatest country in the world, good ole U.S.A. We are army strong. Again, Skynyrd is in the house,” he said.
They closed with their signature song “Sweet Home Alabama,” and the Rock and Roll Hall of Famers returned for an encore performance of “Free Bird,” another fan-favorite yet lengthy classic tune.
The Verdict
Overall, Lynyrd Skynyrd put on a high-energy southern rock concert at Westbury, New York. Johnny’s vocals were smooth and powerful and the rest of their band was exceptional, including Carol Chase and Dale Krantz Rossington on backing vocals, both of which are dubbed as “Honkettes.”
Lynyrd Skynyrd commanded the stage and showcased a lot of passion with their performances. Along with The Marshall Tucker Band, they are truly one of the best live rock acts that I have ever had the pleasure of seeing live.
I firmly believe that a lyric from country singer Justin Moore’s song “Flying Down a Back Road” describes this band the best: “Went on tour with Skynyrd and man they still rock.” It is safe to say that Justin Moore nailed it: Skynyrd did rock at Westbury tonight.
According to Nancy Venti, a fan and attendee, she echoed my remarks. “Lynyrd Skynyrd was absolutely awesome. I love how patriotic they are. They were wonderful at Westbury and I thoroughly enjoyed their show,” she said.
For more information on Lynyrd Skynyrd, visit their official website.
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