Keeping a scorecard for who’s in Lynyrd Skynyrd could be a full-time job. Over the 40-plus years that they’ve worn their Southern hearts on their tattooed sleeves, they’ve overcome seemingly insurmountable tragedies and numerous deaths. But somehow they’ve always managed to rise up like the proverbial freebird phoenix out of the ashes and the legacy lives on. It resides in the music.
Bless their hearts! Lynyrd Skynyrd will bring their distinctive brand of guitars and guts to Harrah’s Philadelphia (formerly called Harrah’s Chester) on Saturday, May 12. They’ll perform in the space coined “River View Venue” which is in the center of the race track. This show will kick off Harrah’s Philadelphia Summer Concert Series.
The fateful plane crash in October 1977 was the first of many tragedies to visit the band over the years. In fact, during the recording of the latest album God & Guns, two band members died: founding member/keyboardist Billy Powell and longtime bassist Ean Evans. But if this band is about anything, it is about survival and willfulness, rock and resolve. And fun!
Founding member and guitarist Gary Rossington is still in the band after all these years. And representing the Van Zant family is Johnny VZ (brother of original singer Ronnie and brother to Donnie, who heads .38 Special). Rickey Medlocke (you may remember him from Blackfood) is also on guitar and Michael Cartellone, who has played with the band for a number of years, is on drums. With a catalog of more than 60 albums to their credit and a treasure trove of singalong faves, Skynyrd cherishes and celebrates the band’s rich history at every concert. The losses are noted, but the band pays tribute every time they play. And the guitar army will always be at the forefront.
Expect Skynyrd to hit the stage around 9 p.m. with opener guitar hotshot Kenny Wayne Shepherd starting his set around 7:30 p.m. Don’t miss him…he’s off the hook!
Skynyrd band lineup:
Johnny Van Zant/vocals
Mark “Sparky” Matejka/guitar
Peter “Keys” Pisarczyk/keyboards
The Honkettes on backing vocals: Dale Krantz Rossington (since 1987!) and Carol Chase
May 12: 7:30 p.m. Harrah’s Philadelphia, 777 Harrah’s Blvd., Chester, PA 19013. TICKETS: $40-$70, ticketmaster.com