Lynyrd Skynyrd - 'Live In Atlantic City' Album Review
1. Workin' For MCA
2. Red White And Blue (Love It Or Leave)
3. Gimme Three Steps
4. The Real Thing (feat. Bo Bice)
5. Gimme Back My Bullets (feat. Bo Bice)
6. Down South Jukin’ (feat. Hank Williams Jr.)
7. Born To Boogie (feat. Hank Williams Jr.)
8. That Smell (feat. 3 Doors Down)
9. Kryptonite (feat. 3 Doors Down)
10. Saturday Night Special (feat. 3 Doors Down)
11. Call Me The Breeze (with All Special Guests)
12. Sweet Home Alabama (with All Special Guests)
13. Free Bird
As a reviewer I generally love hearing new good music from artists I have not heard before. It is the main pleasure of doing this and maintains your faith in music. However every now and again the opportunity comes along to review an album from a band that you consider an old friend, a band that has been in your life longer than most people you know. When this happens you just pray that they are as good as you remember and that the old magic is there.
The term legends is much overused, but anyone who knows anything about Rock music knows that Lynyrd Skynyrd are bono fida legends. After a career that has spanned more than 40 years and includes a catalogue of more than 60 albums, the undisputed kings of Southern Rock have just completed their final 'Last Of The Street Survivors Farewell Tour'. So if like me, you have not seen them live, then time has run out for you. They have released a number of live albums in their time, but this one is one of the best. 'Live In Atlantic City' was recorded in New Jersey in June 2006, at the Decades Rock Arena.
Lynyrd Skynyrd are not self absorbed and do not only play their most iconic hits, but are joined on stage by Bo Bice, a former runner up on American idol, and Hank Williams Jr, who as his name suggests is the son of country legend Hank Williams and a successful artist in his own right. These artists play the same genre of music as their hosts, but 3 Doors Down are a completely different proposition coming from the Alt Rock Grunge stable. This combination of styles and the fact that Lynyrd Skynyrd are on stage with guests more than they are on their own makes this a very different live album.
The album opens with the band playing on their own with 'Workin' for MCA' and then 'Red White And Blue (Love It Or Leave)' in which they give a dedication to the country's troops and their families. It is immediately obvious that not only have Lynyrd Skynyrd, still got it, and why wouldn't they, they are inductees of the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame, but the sound quality and production on this album is exceptional. Then they play a couple of tracks with Bo Rice. The first track 'The Real Thing' is a cover of one of Bo's hits, and then they follow with one of their iconic songs, 'Gimme Back My Bullets'.
Hank Williams Jr joins them for 'Down South Jukin' and then a cover of his song 'Born To Boogie'. You can see a pattern developing here! It is a nice pattern in as much as Lynyrd Skynyrd are more than comfortable to showcase their guests. Let's face it, they do not pose a threat to them, but it is an unusual honour.
The most intriguing combination is the segment with 3 Doors Down. This is the ultimate Lynyrd Skynyrd, 3 Doors Down sandwich. First up is 'That Smell' which is then followed by the classic 3 Doors Down 'Kryptonite'. I wasn't sure how this would pan out but this is a great version. The final slice of the sandwich is a spellbinding version of 'Saturday Night Special'. You can tell at the end of this song that the crowd are having a hell of a time. I always think that the sign of a good live album is when you have a palpable feeling of the crowd. It means that the recording is truly conveying the live experience.
The stage must have been pretty packed for 'Call Me The Breeze' as all the guests and Lynyrd Skynyrd are on it. It has a real jam feel about it, as you would expect. The guitars and honky tonk piano are a joy to behold. The keys take centre stage two thirds of the way through. As live tracks go, they don't get much better than this, or do they?
Well with the crowd at obvious fever pitch, there can only be two songs to take this higher. With everyone still on stage, they unmistakable guitar intro kicks in and the South rises again with the, supposedly grudge song 'Sweet Home Alabama', at almost seven minutes long, I am sure Neil Young would like it! This is one of my favourite Southern Rock anthems and this version is about as good as it gets. There can only be one closing song from this band and I guess you don't need me to tell you what it is. The Encore, with Lynyrd Skynyrd back on the stage all on their lonesome is obviously 'Free Bird'. The piano intro is reassuringly familiar, along with the bass drum beats and the glorious slide guitar. So buckle yourself in for over twelve minutes of Southern Rock at its best. Not a bad way to sign off.
Lynyrd Skynyrd are the icons of Southern Rock, so a well produced album, with a great setlist and more guests than you can shake a stick at is truly exceptional. They have played their final tour, so this is as close as you are going to get to experience them live, and what an experience it is. This is a truly magnificent live album, and is worth it's price just for the versions of 'Sweet Home Alabama' and 'Free Bird'.
Live in Atlantic city” will be released on 21st September via earMUSIC.
Website - www.lynyrdskynyrd.com
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/LynyrdSkynyrd/
Review - Tony Creek