ATLANTA (AP) — A star-studded lineup of young and seasoned rockers took to the stage of Atlanta's venerable Fox Theatre Wednesday night to honor Lynyrd Skynyrd, the band that fomented the Southern rock genre and was a 1970s radio staple.
Artists including Charlie Daniels, Peter Frampton, Alabama and Cheap Trick each took their turn performing Lynyrd Skynyrd standards, such as "Simple Man" and "What's Your Name?"
The Fox Theatre was a fitting place to honor the band. Lynyrd Skynyrd recorded a 1976 live album, "One More From The Road," at the Fox and a portion of the tribute concert's proceeds went toward saving the venue from demolition.
A 1977 plane crash took the life of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant and two other band members.
Aaron Lewis, the lead singer of Staind, got the audience rocking early with a moving rendition of "Saturday Night Special." Before the show Lewis acknowledged being a fan of Lynyrd Skynyrd in his youth.
"I did a lot of things with Lynyrd Skynyrd as the soundtrack. Some of them I'm proud of and others I'm not, but it was always the perfect soundtrack," Lewis said.
Van Zant's younger brother Johnny took over the lead singer duties when the band reformed in 1988. He and guitarist Gary Rossington reflected fondly over the band's past, each saying they still felt the presence of the musicians who were lost in the plane crash.
"I think my brother would be very moved to think, 'Hey, there's Gregg Allman singing "Tuesday's Gone,'''" Van Zant told The AP backstage before the concert began. Rossington survived the 1977 plane crash and says the presence of the band members who died never leaves him.
"Every night we play, we feel their spirit," Rossington said.
Near the end of the concert, all the performers took to the stage for a raucous version of "Sweet Home Alabama," followed by Lynyrd Skynyrd playing "Free Bird," by popular request.