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Category:    Home > Reviews > Concert > Country Rock > Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama (Eagle DVD Concerts)

Lynyrd Skynyrd – Sweet Home Alabama (Eagle DVD Concerts)

 

Picture: 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.

 

We will 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.

 

Instead, 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.

 

Now, they are rendered pointless by all the revivals and the one who has retained credibility 35 years later and counting is…  Neil Young!

 

The 1.33 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


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