Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama (Eagle DVD Concerts)
C+ Sound: C+ Extras: C+ Concerts: C+
To say in
the most condescending way that Lynyrd Skynyrd has been sold, packaged,
repackaged and played out is an understatement.
Their legacy has been milked for all it could be and the revival tours
with ever-changing members/line-ups continue to this day. Lynyrd
Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama is the awkwardly, obviously titled new DVD
with two concerts that are a before and after portrait of a band that began as
a big Country Rock hit, only to suffer the loss of lead singer Ronnie Van Zant
and guitarist Steve Gaines (among others) in a plane crash in 1977. The tease has been a loss of what they want
to imply would have been another Led Zeppelin, but even with the material up to
1977, that is a stretch.
not even address the loose association with White Nationalism or a “South Will
Rise Again” mentality (the latter actually happened recently, but the likes of
Skynyrd fans were used and left behind) so that leaves the music. We first get a 1996 revival concert that is
not great or horrible with its 14 tracks, but it is always an uneasy affair
that never really works and has a sense of tiredness and even phoniness
unintended and plays out as a desperate cash sellout.
the highlight here is of the 1974 Hamburg, Germany concert when the band was
natural, for real, going after Neil Young to appeal to a shallow Right Wing
sentiment and had the energy and originality that put it on the map to begin
with. Here they sing Working for MCA (basing their major
record label, which has since been renamed Universal Music), Free Bird (which has since been played
out in exploitation projects like Free
Bird – The Movie) and Sweet Home
Alabama (which has become the subject of pop trivialization as the title
song of a bad comedy with Reese Witherspoon) showing why the band was of any
importance to begin with.
are rendered pointless by all the revivals and the one who has retained credibility
35 years later and counting is… Neil
X 1 image is on the soft side in both cases, but the new taped concert is not
that much better than the 16mm filmed concert from 1974, though that footage
could use some restoration. The DTS 5.1
and Dolby Digital 5.1 and 2.0 Stereo options are weak, in the newer concert
from a surprisingly bad mix, from the older concert by virtue of its age. The 1974 could be counted as a bonus feature
and we will to be on the thorough side, but the only other extra is a paper
foldout with an essay inside the DVD case.
- Nicholas Sheffo