The show must go on, and though Lynyrd Skynyrd recently lost a core member of their group, a performance last night showed the “big wheels keep on turnin’.”
Their guitarist Gary Rossington, who passed away at age of 71 on March 5th of this month, was the last surviving band member from the band’s original incarnation and was co-founder of the group.
A concert held last night in Plant City, Florida was the first time the band stepped out on stage without Rossington holding the guitar since the band’s formation
The heartfelt note the southern rock band posted to Facebook acted as touching tribute to Rossington, who co-wrote “Sweet Home Alabama” and was the iconic slide guitarist on the all time classic “Free Bird.” It was apparent that the performance was incredibly emotional for both the band and fans in attendance.
The Facebook post from Lynyrd Skynyrd’s official page regarding last night’s show states:
“We felt you there with us last night, Gary. Looking down from Rock N’ Roll Heaven and helping us get through one of the toughest shows of our lives.”
Rossington’s on stage presence and persona played a crucial part in the success and longevity of Lynyrd Skynyrd, and the band was still immensely feeling that presence even in his absence.
The post went on to say:
“We felt you during the nuances of ‘Free Bird,’ ‘Tuesday’s Gone,’ ‘Saturday Night Special.’ We felt you in the roar of the crowd as they cheered your name and stood up for most of the night.
And we will forever feel you on any stage and in our hearts as Skynyrd’s music continues to move billions of people across the world. We love you brother.”
The band is no stranger to moving on after heartbreak. In the late 1970s, the band’s private plane crashed on the way to a show in Louisiana, killing six people on board. Lead Vocalist Ronnie Zan Vant, Guitarist/Vocalist Steve Gaines, Vocalist Cassie Gaines, Road Manager Dean Kilpatrick, Pilot Walter McCreary, and First Officer William John Gray were all killed in the crash.
Gary Rossington actually lived through the disaster to tell the tale of what exactly went wrong on the flight.
In the video below, Rossington tells the story of the band’s infamous plane crash:
The band was forever changed after that crash in 1977, and it is forever changed once again with the recent passing of Rossington.
From the looks of it though, Lynyrd Skynyrd’s anthemic sound will always have a place in the music world, and as long as a form of the band comes out to play, fans will fill the seats.
Music can be an incredible healer, and it appears that the band and fans in attendance of last night’s show at the Florida Strawberry Festival shared a beautiful moment that only music can deliver.
Pull out your lighter. Here’s to hoping that the music never stops.