May 28, 2017
Charlotte Motor Speedway
Review by Joseph Hett
Lynyrd Skynyrd Celebrates Freedom In Charlotte
Lynyrd Skynyrd came to the Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday for a pre-race concert to get all of the fans ready for some racing at the Coca-Cola 600. This race is a tradition on the Sunday before Memorial Day. And that meant patriotic pre-race festivities took place with helicopter and fighter jet flyovers. Members from all branches of the armed forces were saluted for their service all race day long.
The stage was on the front stretch near the exit of pit road. Fans with pit pass could get up close and personal to the stage for the hour long pre-race concert.
Lynyrd Skynyrd came out and started with “Call Me The Breeze” – appropriate for the race. They then went into “Saturday Night Special” and “Down South Jukin’.”
Skynyrd is anchored by sole original member Gary Rossington and longtime members Rickey Medlocke and Johnny Van Zant.
The guitar strings were sure bending on the classic “That Smell.” “Honky Tonk Night Time Man” was dedicated to Merle Haggard, who passed away last year.
Van Zant was very appreciative and thanked the troops many times throughout the set. Before “Simple Man,” he dedicated the song to the men and women who are serving, did serve and will serve in the military.
Fans started clapping their hands to go along with the rhythm of “Gimme Three Steps.” Everyone at the speedway enjoyed every second of each timeless tune.
Van Zant wrapped a Confederate flag around his mic stand and said “heritage not hate.” Skynyrd then went into the all-time classic “Sweet Home Alabama.”
People were yelling out “Free Bird” all concert long – mainly as a joke. And guess what? It was finally time for that song. All 12 minutes of it. In the middle of it, Van Zant dedicated the song to “Rock and Roll heaven.” This is especially touching because Gregg Allman (Allman Brothers Band and Southern rock royalty) passed away the day before.
Charlotte Motor Speedway continues to bring in top notch pre-race concerts. They also keep the tradition of providing patriotic themed pre-race festivities for the Coca-Cola 600. Lynyrd Skynyrd was an excellent choice for the pre-race show.