Hard-driving rock, scorching sun andflaming arrows were the order of the day.
By BOB JACKSON
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BROOKFIELD -- The term Southern-fried rock was never more appropriate than it was Sunday afternoon at Yankee Lake.
Southern rock legends Lynyrd Skynyrd played a fire-breathing hour of hits for some 13,000 fans who'd been fried by the September sun. Skynyrd's spectacular set was the capper for Yankee Lake Jam.
The band came out as the sun set behind the stage and the theme from "The Magnificent Seven" blared over the speakers. Led by singer Johnny Van Zant, Skynyrd treated the crowd to a parade of hits spanning the band's long history.
Using the three-guitar attack that's always powered its boogie-and-blues style, Skynyrd started rocking with "Workin' For MCA" and kept rolling with songs like "I Know A Little," "Gimme Back My Bullets," "What's Your Name" and "That Smell."
Guitarist Rickey Medlocke, who played with Skynyrd in the 1970s before leaving to form Blackfoot then rejoining Skynyrd six years ago, drove the show with his powerful guitar playing and exuberant stage presence.
Van Zant, brother of original singer Ronnie Van Zant, wasted little time talking between songs, opting instead to keep the focus on the music.
Tribute: He did stop to pay tribute to Leon Wilkeson, Skynyrd's bass guitarist who died six weeks ago in a Florida hotel room. Wilkeson has been replaced for the remainder of the tour by Ean Evans.
"We are here to celebrate Leon," Van Zant said. "We miss him."
A huge black-and-white backdrop picture of Wilkeson draped across the back of the stage as the band played "Simple Man."
On "Tuesday's Gone," the crowd swayed and sang along while guitarist Gary Rossington, a founding member of the band, did superb solo work.
Airing his views: Ted Nugent, another long-term rocker, gave an energetic and entertaining performance before Skynyrd's set. Known as much lately for his political views as he is for his manic guitar playing and singing, Nugent brought both to the Yankee Lake stage.
He ripped through classic songs like "Free For All," "Hey Baby," "Stranglehold," "Great White Buffalo," for which he donned a native American headdress, and "Cat Scratch Fever," which he called the "No. 1 guitar lick in the world."
Nugent also used the stage as a soapbox to air his views on gun control laws. To put it mildly, he's against them. He launched into an obscenity laced tirade against the likes of the Rev. Jesse Jackson, former U.S. attorney general Janet Reno and other anti-gun activists, then had the crowd singing they could "kiss my Glock," referring to a handgun often used by law enforcement officers.
An avid hunter, Nugent ended his show by waving a compound bow over his head, then shooting a flaming arrow through the back of his guitar, which he'd hung at the side of the stage with a large "X" drawn on it for a target.
Also performing during Yankee Lake Jam were The Earthquakers, Bad Habits, Lazarus and Left End. The show was sponsored by Baragona Mid America Productions and radio station Y-103.