Artist: Lynyrd Skynyrd
Album: Sweet Home Alabama Live at Rockpalast
Label: Eagle Records
Release Date: 06/02/2015
Sweet Home Alabama, like Lynyrd Skynyrd’s hit song of the same name, is a classic that will be treasured and listened to decades later. Recorded at the 1996 Rockpalast’s Loreley Festival concert and released for the first time on CD, the album features old-time favorites such as “Sweet Home Alabama,” “Free Bird,” “Workin’ for MCA,” “Saturday Night Special” and more.
A grooving mix of country and rock & roll, the album pulls listeners back in time with its feel-good vibes. Opening with “Workin’ for MCA,” the seminal southern rock band begins the performance with a youthful rambunctiousness that drives the entire set. Addictive and speedy guitar riffs complement almost every track, supported by Lynyrd Skynyrd’s three-guitar attack; snazzy guitar solos on “Double Trouble,” “I Know a Little” and “That Smell” are energizing and downright fun. “Simple Man” and its intro acoustics slow the show down for the perfect amount of time before noisy riffs and adrenaline-inducing melodies rile up the crowd in a lengthy 12 minutes of “Call Me the Breeze,” the last track before the encore.
The band closes with “Sweet Home Alabama” and then “Free Bird,” which lives up to its reputation as Lynyrd Skynyrd’s signature song. The bonus tracks at Hamburg spotlight different nuances of “Workin’ for MCA,” “Free Bird,” and “Sweet Home Alabama” due to line-up changes, but still retain the band’s fun-loving ability to masterfully entertain.
A stage presence which can be felt and heard, Lynyrd Skynyrd has ingrained itself as one of the greatest live bands of all time. Sweet Home Alabama’s trip back to the 1996 Rockpalast is sure to make new converts– both to the Lynyrd Skynyrd of the past, and to the one today.
– Jessica Mao