I'm a freelance writer living in Birmingham. I like Classic Rock, 70s pop music, football and interviewing celebrities. Follow me on Twitter: @andycoleman9
Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour
Southern Rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd are always ready for a challenge – but did they realise what they were letting themselves in for when they invited Status Quo to be special guests at their UK shows? Accustomed to being headliners, rather than a support act, Quo stormed through a tight 65 minute set which left the audience baying for more.
There were numerous highlights. The usual opener of Caroline (always a crowd-pleaser), new boy Richie Malone taking lead vocals on Rick Parfitt's Mystery Song, a reinvigorated Down Down and two new songs, Cut Me Some Slack and Liberty Lane, from the forthcoming Backbone album. The rockin' Cut Me Some Slack sounds like a real contender to become a Quo standard at future shows. And then Rockin' All Over The World closed the set and had the whole arena singing along. It was a 'follow that, Lynyrd Skynyrd' moment.
Follow that: Status Quo on stage at Resorts World Arena
The American outfit chose AC/DC's stomping Thunderstruck as their intro music, which had the audience singing along. It's an incredibly difficult song to follow unless you have some mega tunes in your armoury. Lynyrd Skynyrd do have the weapons but chose to leave them until the second half of their 90 minute set so it took them some time to get the audience support they craved, despite this possibly being the final show they play on English soil. Sole original member Gary Rossington's health problems have prompted this Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour, with the Birmingham gig the last of a handful of UK dates.
Farewell: Lynyrd Skynyrd in Birmingham
Guitarist Rossington was in good form, teaming up with the imposing Rickey Medlocke for a twin guitar assault on set opener Workin' For MCA. Frontman Johnny Van Zant worked hard to encourage the crowd who seemed shell-shocked after Status Quo's show-stealing smash 'n grab. Even the honky tonk What's Your Name, the boogie of I Know A Little and the bluesy The Ballad of Curtis Loew failed to get the desired response from the audience, many of whom seemed more anxious to get to the bar for a drinks refill.
Sweet Home: Rickey Medlocke, Johnny Van Zant and Gary Rossington
But then the big guns were wheeled out and the excitement noticeably increased. Simple Man (dedicated to 'mama') was followed by the singalong Gimme Three Steps and a corking version of JJ Cale's Call Me The Breeze. Finally, Skynyrd's two great anthems, Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird, got everyone on their feet. If this really was the last time we see Lynryd Skynyrd on tour it was a fitting way to bow out – Rickey Medlocke, dry ice swirling round his feet, soloing on Free Bird as if his life depended on it, with the late frontman Ronnie Van Zant – killed with other band members and crew in an air crash in 1977 – shown singing on the big screen. An emotional end to a memorable night.
Lynyrd Skynyrd's farewell tour continues in the States until October 11. Status Quo's next UK show is at Hylands House Estate, Chelmsford, on September 7.
Workin' for MCA Skynyrd Nation What's Your Name That Smell I Know a Little 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
Sweet Home Alabama