HomeEntertainmentMusicWATCH: Lynyrd Skynyrd Pay Tribute to Gary Rossington in First Show Since His Death

WATCH: Lynyrd Skynyrd Pay Tribute to Gary Rossington in First Show Since His Death

by Craig Garrett
Lynyrd Skynyrd
(Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for Stagecoach)

Despite the recent death of their final founding member Gary Rossington, rock music legends Lynyrd Skynyrd are soldiering on. The Southern rock band’s 52-year career continued at the Plant City Strawberry Festival in Florida Sunday night, Rolling Stone reports.

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A week after the unfortunate demise of their founding guitarist, Lynyrd Skynyrd took to the stage and delivered a memorable performance featuring all their classic hits including “What’s Your Name”, “Gimme Three Steps”,  “Sweet Home Alabama”, and finally ending with an explosive finale of “Free Bird”. Showcasing greatness even in times of sorrow. Footage from the performance was shared on YouTube.

In honor of Rossington, Lynyrd Skynyrd performed the iconic “Tuesday’s Gone” during their concert, accompanied by images commemorating him. Back in 1964, he had worked with Ronnie Van Zant and Bob Burns to found the earliest version of what would become one of music’s most beloved bands – Lynyrd Skynyrd.

Rossington persevered after the tragic 1977 plane crash, which claimed the lives of frontman Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines and backup singer Cassie Gaines. After a decade-long pause in activity, they reconvened with Johnny Van Zant (Ronnie’s younger brother) as lead vocalist – beginning an enduring second act spanning 36 years and counting that has seen different members join and leave the lineup.

Rossington hadn’t performed with Lynyrd Skynyrd since 2021

Rossington’s health issues have kept him off the road in recent months, so Lynyrd Skynyrd had to recruit guitarist Damon Johnson to take his place. His last performance with them was a PBS taping at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium back in November. On Sunday, Johnson was part of Skynyrd’s three-guitar team in Florida with Ricky Medlocke (a member since 1996) and Mark Matejka (who joined in 2006). During their performance of “Free Bird,” Rossington’s first name shined on a screen alongside the other late members from Skynyrd.

Last autumn, Rossington was featured in Rolling Stone magazine. He discussed the classic bands that still perform with only a few or even no original members. “I look out and don’t see the original band — it’s strange. And then I look out and see a replacement for me, which is strange. Just hearing the songs without me playing on ’em live is very strange,” he explained. “So there’s 101 strange things happening. But to see the younger people enjoying it makes your heart warm.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd is set to perform in Brandon, Mississippi on April 29th. Then they will join ZZ Top for the “Sharp Dressed Simple Man Tour” starting July 21st. The tour will run all the way through September, giving fans a chance to experience two legendary bands honoring their history with founding member Dusty Hill’s passing at the start of 2021.