LYNYRD SKYNYRD // THE SSE HYDRO, GLASGOW
LYNYRD SKYNYRD say farewell with an outstanding show at Glasgow’s SSE Hydro
Arriving at the Hydro tonight with Glasgow still bathed is glorious sunshine and the throngs of aging rockers queuing in a mixture of faded old gig merchandise T-shirts, Jeans and the odd vest top too. The main act we are here to see is classic vintage rock/ southern boogie outfit Lynyrd Skynyrd but I think there’s a large portion of the audience here to see the main support too.
Once I’m in the venue, I’ve got a fairly good seat, great view, but then all views at The SSE Hydro are pretty good, one of the main benefits of seeing bands here.
The first act on the bill are Massive Wagons, I don’t know anything about them. They come on stage to a less than quarter full Hydro. That said, there is an enthusiasm about those that are already here with folks standing already and crowding forward to the barrier from the off. The band are a 5-pce consisting of 2 guitarists, Bass, Drums and a singer. The singer comes out in a tartan suit and bowler hat and he is full of energy, really working hard to inject some atmosphere in the room. By the start of the second track he has the suit jacket and bowler hat off and is throwing his long hair about wildly. They are quite retro, feel good rock and do a good job in this opening slot, if anything the sound is a bit thin and they are not very loud in the hall. All in all a good opening act.
The stage gets changed around and out come some shiny chequer plate risers for drums and some white Marshall stacked amps. A very clean, minimal but functional set up for the UK’s much maligned but infinitely loved and listenable, Status Quo. Got to remember (those old enough at least) these guys had the opening slot at Live Aid in 1985 so with that experience they must put on a good show.
The Quo come out as a 5-pce with Bass, Drums and Keys and a new guitarist to replace the fairly recently passed (December 2016) Rick Parfitt and obviously main protagonist Francis Rossi. Their backdrop is a graphic of the recent tour they’ve been on BackBone. They open with Caroline and instantly the, now near full, Hydro is on its feet singing along. They follow that up with There’s Something ‘Bout You Baby I Like and then Rossi has some banter for the audience. He asks if they will shout ‘Murder’ for him, as he liked how it sounded on Taggart….he is disarmingly charming and really down to earth, considering Quo’s success. He then tells the audience that he is 69 and now special, as shown by their special guests standing and that they ‘don’t have much time so let’s get on with it, 3 chords, same old shit!’. Whilst he’s chatting he has strapped a capo on his guitar and bassist tells him he’s put it on the wrong fret…the years catching up?!
They then go through an almost non-stop show of sing along tracks from What You’re Proposing and Honky Tonk Angel through Cut Me Some Slack and Liberty Lane to hit the audience with 5 classic rock anthems starting with In the Army Now by Bolland & Bolland, Roll Over Lay Down, Whatever You Want and closing with the track they opened Live Aid with Rockin’ All Over The World.
They played 13 songs in a 45 minute set, they really made the most of the time and it’s a dynamite, professional performance from start to finish….they could really have been headlining.
After quite a wait and a stage change over revealing a considerably larger set complete with Drum riser with wings, Amps and bespoke white mic stands including a riser either side, one for a white grand piano and keys, and the other for the backing vocalists.
A disembodied voice then announces that Lynyrd Skynyrd will be taking the stage shortly and lights start to dance as AC/DC’s Thunderstruck comes on with the lights picking out the key beats. They finally come out on stage as a 9-pce band and are straight into Working The MCA and the epic guitar soloing is on, from the start.
Aside from the Drummer the Keys player and the backing vocalists there are 3 guitarists, a bass player and the lead singer. They look like a real mix of looks, one of the guitarists is a skinny towering guy with long straight grey hair playing a Gibson Explorer, then there is another with an almost Tom Petty look playing a tobacco sunburst Fender Stratocaster and the third guitar player looks a little like Carlos Santana sporting a Gibson Les Paul and a wide brimmed hat and bright shirt.
The lead singer is a fairly thick set guy with long hair and a beard and he is wearing a denim waistcoat and black T-shirt……I can’t help thinking that he is who Jack Black channels when he is doing his Tenacious-D lead stuff.
They are backed by a hemispheric screen which shows graphics and some words to the songs as well as real-time video of the band on stage. They also have one of the biggest and best lighting rigs I’ve seen at a gig.
They are pretty slick through the first few tracks with Skynyrd Nation getting the audience chanting from the off then What’s Your Name, That Smell and I Know A Little giving way to the classic Gimme Back My Bullets. The singer gives the crowd plenty of encouragement between tracks but it is limited to ‘come on Glasgow’ and ‘Gimme A Little More Scotland’.
After they have guitar soloed and rocked through The Needle And The Spoon and Saturday Night Special the singer tell us he likes it when we sing and that we can sing the next one , but only if we are diehard fans, it turns out to be The Ballad Of Curtis Loew….and the Hydro’s diehards duly deliver.
A tenth member comes on stage to play the harmonica to start Tuesdays Gone and everybody’s hands are in the air swaying back and forth. After this one the graphics and he lights get really psychedelic and kaleidoscopic as they play Don’t Ask Me No Questions.
Simple Man completes the more ballad-like section of the performance and then the tempo changes for Gimme Three Steps followed by the J.J. Cale cover Call Me The Breeze. The packed Hydro audience seem like they could do this all night, the energy in the room is rockin’.
The Singer makes the most of this energy as a mandolin like opening heralds the closing track of the main set Sweet Home Alabama. The singer’s mic stand draped in a confederate flag and the name of the song emblazoned on the screen. Everyone clapping in the air and as they finish and go off.
It’s obvious they are coming back for an encore as there is a glaring bird-shaped hole in the set list but the Glasgow crowd whistle and cheer for more just to let them know they want it.
The Wings either side of the drum riser glow a moody blue and a sound guy drapes a Scottish flag over the mic stand then video footage starts to play of the original singer who died talking about his philosophy about a man’s freedom. Then they break into Free Bird, epic!
During the track the screen shows the names of those who died in the plane crash along with the singer. Then the current singer disappears but leaves the old singer trademark hat on the mic stand and the screen shows footage, synced up, of the original singer singing the track, it’s a well worked tribute. The track goes to its full 11-minute, unedited, original version length, complete with soaring dual and triple guitar lead guitar lines….and a huge disco ball?!
A great crescendo to a fantastic night of boogie rock ‘n’ roll, from the opener Massive Wagons through the mighty Quo to Skynyrd themselves this was a great night. The sound was great throughout, possibly with the exception of Massive Wagon needing more volume and bass. The light shows for both Status Quo and Lynyrd Skynyrd were huge and really well done, and the full Hydro audience seemed to love it.
SETLIST: | LYNYRD SKYNYRD : SSE HYDRO, GLASGOW - 26.06.2019
Thundstruck - (AC/DC song) - TAPE : Intro
Workin’ for MCA
What’s Your Name
I Know a Little
Gimme Back My Bullets
The Needle and the Spoon
Saturday Night Special
The Ballad of Curtis Loew
Don’t Ask Me No Questions
Gimme Three Steps
Call Me the Breeze - (J.J. Cale cover)
Sweet Home Alabama