After years of life on the road and with their role models, the Allman Brothers Band, struggling to survive the deaths of two of its most distinctively talented members, today Lynyrd Skynyrd has become the quintessential Southern Rock band. Under the leadership of frontman and primary songwriter Ronnie Van Zant, the group's melodic lyric driven ballads and power driven hard rockers would catapult the group into one of the most popular touring bands in the world. The group’s distinctive guitar attack, combined with an overtly defiant and rebellious attitude, gave them a cultural identity that would help make songs like "Sweet Home Alabama" and "Free Bird" into anthems of American rock music and staples of FM radio right up to the present day.
Headlining a bill that also featured the Outlaws, this Winterland recording captures Lynyrd Skynyrd following the release of their fourth album, Gimme Back My Bullets. This was during a transitional phase for the band, following the departure of guitarist Ed King, but prior to his replacement, Steve Gaines, coming on board. The band was carrying on as a six-piece unit, augmented by the Honkettes on backing vocals.
This is an interesting time to hear the band live, as their trademark three-guitar attack was reduced by one guitar, leaving more room for keyboardist Billy Powell. On the ballads, like "Tuesdays Gone" and the pre-jam verses of "Freebird," Powell displays great creativity and expands the keyboard's role in these songs.
The band is actually at work in Nashville recording a new album to be released later this year. This will be the first set of new studio material since 2003’s Vicious Cycle.