Rowdy crowd

 

Rowdy Frynds Tour

Hank Williams Jr., Lynyrd Skynyrd

Conseco Fieldhouse

Friday, April 20

Hank Williams Jr. may not do it exactly the way his daddy did it, and really, his relationship with Kid Rock and his over-the-top “Are you ready for the football?” thing kind of tarnished his reputation. Hank’s boy, Hank III, is carrying on Hank Sr.’s spirit better than the Jr., but when it comes to feel-good, party-hardy, outlaw country type stuff, Bocephus is the master of his own game.

It was during the heart of Friday’s Rowdy Frynds’ show, when it was just Hank Jr. sitting with a guitar and singing songs, that all his shtick melted away and he revealed himself as a true legend in his own right. Songs like “All of My Rowdy Friends (Have Settled Down)” and “Family Tradition” were gems, but when he went into “Country Boy Can Survive,” the Fieldhouse crowd came unglued — hooting, hollering and singing it like it was the national anthem.

After his set, Lynyrd Skynyrd and the crowd began to scare me. On stage, it was a competent recreation of Skynyrd, with only Gary Rossington and Billy Powell left from the original band. Johnny Van Zandt, original singer Ronnie’s kid brother, led the band (which also consisted of Rick Medlocke of Blackfoot fame on guitar, as well as former members of the Charlie Daniels Band and the Outlaws) in a crowd-pleasing set of Southern boogie standards like “Call Me the Breeze” and “Gimme Three Steps.”

But three songs sent the capacity crowd into a tizzy. “Simple Man” had almost every mother in the place crying.

Of course, the capper of the night was a near spot-on performance of “Free Bird,” with a note for note recreation of the guitar solo that ends the song. Not terribly original, but every person walked out of this show hoarse, happy and rowdy, which is pretty much all you can ask for from a concert.

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