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Yesterday & Today: Lynyrd Skynyrd
 By Zane Ewton

Lynyrd Skynyrd is celebrating 30 years of rock and roll.  Arguably, the definitive southern rock band, Skynyrd has marked this occasion with the release of a new live album.

Lyve: The Vicious Cycle Tour was recorded in Antioch Tennessee on July 11, 2003, the band performed songs covering all 30 years and each Skynyrd incarnation.

The band began in Jacksonville, Florida when high school friends Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins, Gary Rossington, Leon Wilkerson and Billy Powell started playing clubs throughout the south.  Leonard Skinner, the high school gym teacher, lent the inspiration for what would become the band’s name.

The 1973 debut album, Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd, yielded several Skynyrd classics.  Pronounced has the most representation in this live set and receives the best crowd response with songs like “Simple Man”, “Tuesday’s Gone”, “Mississippi Kid”, “Gimme Three Steps” and “Freebird”.

Skynyrd continued to pick up steam with a constant touring schedule and consistently good albums.  In 1977, the with the release of the band’s sixth album, Street Survivors, the band was involved in an accident when their chartered plane crashed , due to either a fuel shortage or mechanical problems.  Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines and his sister Cassie died in the crash.  Following the accident, Street Survivors became one of the band’s most successful albums and the remaining members of the band decided to call it a day.

Ten years later in 1987, the remaining members reformed Lynyrd Skynyrd with Johnny Van Zant, Ronnie’s younger brother, as the new vocalist.  Somewhat of a revolving door lineup has plagued the band since, but they have still managed to consistently tour through the nineties.

Lynyrd Skynyrd has seen all the highs and lows that a rock and roll band could ever imagine.  After 30 years, the current lineup and the new live album feel relaxed.  The life of a hard-driving, hard-living rock and roll band seems to be behind them.

The band is comfortable with the songs in their repertoire.  There is no sense of urgency of hunger that can drive a rocking live band.  The musicianship on Lyve is definitely top notch, something that Skynyrd could always be proud of and the songs are of the “greatest hits” variety.

“Sweet Home Alabama” swings with southern comfort and the 12 minute “Freebird”, with extended piano intro and chirping birds, is as overindulgent as ever.  Newer songs “That’s How I like It” and “Red White and Blue” find themselves right in the mix and hold up as moments that aren’t just for a pre-“What’s Your Name” run to the concession stand.  

Lyve is an album more for the Skynyrd collector, a thank you note to the fans who have stuck around.  People newer to the group will find their money better spent on Pronounced Leh-Nerd Skin-Nerd or Street Survivors.  

CD Info 

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Lyve: The Vicious Cycle Tour
Label: Sanctuary

That's How I Like It
What's Your Name
I Know A Little
Pick 'Em Up
Simple Man
That Smell
Red White & Blue
Down South Jukin'
Gimme Back My Bullets
Double Trouble
Ballad Of Curtis Loew, The
Tuesday's Gone
Mississippi Kid

 DISC 2:
Gimme Three Steps
Call Me The Breeze
Sweet Home Alabama
 Way, The
 Free Bird

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