There was no way that last night’s Lynyrd Skynyrd tribute, ‘One More For The Fans!’, wasn’t going to be memorable. I mean, the cast was fantastic, the catalog of recognizable hits was extensive. Hell, I knew the die-hard fans would be there, whuppin’ ass. For almost four hours last night, though, my expectations were continously exceeded, and it seems like the show’s producers (who were also behind January’s Gregg Allman tribute) have another successful performance in the books.
The show kicked off with Randy Houser tackling “Whiskey Rock A Roller,” followed by the always-charming Robert Randolph joined by Jimmy Hall for “You Got That Right.” Georgia’s own Blackberry Smoke garnered plenty of love from the crowd, a no-brainer since their sound is so clearly inspired by the band of honor, and their performance of “Working for MCA” certainly proved that the warm reception was warranted.
“We just played 20 shows in Europe and we played it every day,” said frontman Charlie Starr of Blackberry Smoke’s prep for the show. “When we were growing up, the radio was inundated with Skynyrd, so it was really the soundtrack to our youth.”
Every artist on the bill seemed to have a story about the way Lynyrd Skynyrd had been significant to them—O.A.R., who followed Blackberry Smoke’s performance with “Don’t Ask Me No Questions,” mused that Skynyrd songs were many of its members’ first to be tackled when learning guitar.
After John Hiatt joined moe. for “The Ballad of Curtis Loew,” which moe. followed with “Comin’ Home,” Warren Haynes rounded out the first half of the show with Gov’t Mule’s rendition of “Simple Man,” a song the band had recorded for a tribute album in the past.
“I remember Gary telling me later, Gary Rossington, that he really loved our version,” said Haynes before the show. “It made me happy because it’s always been one of my favorites.”
After a brief intermission (okay, it wasn’t necessarily “brief”—since the show was being recorded for a television special, there were considerable breaks between every song), Haynes returned to the stage sans Gov’t Mule for “That Smell,” which garnered all the love and all the, well, smell that you might expect from a crowd that had partied hard to the band’s catalog over the years.
Following Haynes’ rousing performance was something a little bit different from Jamey Johnson, who performed a moving rendition of “Four Walls of Raiford.” He wasn’t traditionally expressive on-stage, remaining almost motionless as he railed through the lyrics, but the performance held a stoic quality that made the song all the more biting.
Next was Jason Isbell with “I Know A Little” followed by a legendary performance of “Call Me The Breeze” by Peter Frampton. Frampton’s involvement in the show was particularly special, as he shared a crew with Skynyrd over the years, and the closeness showed in his rendering of the classic song.
By then, it was becoming clear that the second act of the production was really stepping things up. In particular, the country music marathon that followed—Trace Adkins on “What’s Your Name;” Charlie Daniels and Donnie Van Zant on “Down South Jukin;” Alabama with “Gimme Three Steps”—was a thoughtful reminder of the influence this music has had on the genre.
Gregg Allman was transcendent behind the organ for “Tuesday’s Gone,” which got a healthy dose of gospel vocals thanks to The McCrary Sisters, and his was the last performance before Lynyrd Skynyrd themselves would take the stage for an awards ceremony promouncing Nov. 12 Lynyrd Skynyrd Day.
Following the awards presentation, Skynyrd kicked things back up, bringing the entire cast of the tribute show out for a monumental sing-along of “Sweet Home Alabama,” a fitting celebration of the iconic song. It was a big enough to-do that you’d almost have expected it to be an encore, but the band wasn’t finished quite yet. After the rest of the cast left the stage, the band began “Travelin’ Man” as a touching nod to those members of the band who had famously and tragically passed away so many years ago.
Finally the “Freebird!”-yelling contingent had their moment, though, when the band launched into the anthem, peppering the performance with footage of Ronnie Van Zant in a way that made the whole production feel like exactly what it was: a tribute.
One More For The Fans! Set List
1. “Whiskey Rock A Roller” – Randy Houser
2. “You Got That Right” – Robert Randolph and Jimmy Hall
3. “Saturday Night Special” – Aaron Lewis
4. “Workin’ for MCA” – Blackberry Smoke
5. “Don’t Ask Me No Questions” – O.A.R.
6. “Gimme Back My Bullets” – Cheap Trick
7. “The Ballad of Curtis Loew” – moe. & John Hiatt
8. “Comin’ Home” – moe.
9. “Simple Man” – Gov’t Mule
10. “That Smell” – Warren Haynes
11. “Four Walls of Raiford” – Jamey Johnson
12. “I Know A Little” – Jason Isbell
13. “Call Me The Breeze” – Peter Frampton
14. “What’s Your Name” – Trace Adkins
15. “Down South Jukin’” – Charlie Daniels & Donnie Van Zant
16. “Gimme Three Steps” – Alabama
17. “Tuesday’s Gone” – Gregg Allman
18. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Full Lineup
19. “Travelin’ Man” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
20. “Free Bird” – Lynyrd Skynyrd