Delays don't dampen spirits at Lynyrd Skynyrd's final hometown show
Daylong show was Jacksonville's first major stadium concert since 2015
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – "If I leave here tomorrow," Johnny Van Zant belted out minutes before midnight -- nine hours after Sunday's "Last of the Street Survivors" concert began at TIAA Bank Field.
Despite two delays due to lightning from passing storms, an estimated 50,000 fans were still pumped when Lynyrd Skynyrd's familiar guitar riffs lit up the crowd about 10:30 p.m.
The band that formed in Jacksonville nearly 50 years ago headlined the show, taking the stage for what they claim will be their last concert in their hometown.
Through the set of classics everyone in the crowd seemed to know by heart, Johnny Van Zant remembered and honored band members lost over the years, from his older brother -- original lead singer Ronnie Van Zant -- to Ed King, a guitarist who died just two weeks ago.
During the encore of the iconic "Freebird," black-and-white footage of Ronnie Van Zant was shown singing the words as Johnny and most of the people in the crowd sang along and the band's smoking guitars, including one played by original member Gary Rossington, soared.
Lynyrd Skynyrd -- which defined the Southern Rock genre in the 1970s --teamed with the Jaguars for this concert, kicking off the start of football season and celebrating the band’s final show in the city where it all began.
To many concertgoers, Lynyrd Skynyrd means America, freedom and great music. Many fans were hoping this won't be their last concert in town.
"I also don’t believe it, and I hope it’s not true," Anthony Rossi said.
The band posted a Tweet, thanking fans for their loyalty despite the rain delays.
Sweet Home Jacksonville...— Lynyrd Skynyrd (@Skynyrd) September 3, 2018
You braved two lightning storms, rain delays and still rocked it past midnight!!
Thank you, Skynyrdnation!!!
Photo: Doltyn Snedden pic.twitter.com/1AM04LMjSo
Skynyrd was the closing act of a day and night of southern rock and country stars that included Charlie Daniels Band, Jason Aldean and Kid Rock.
This was the first stadium concert in Jacksonville since 2015, the last year the Florida Country Superfest was held here. The stadium’s general manager said one-third of ticket sales came from people outside the Jacksonville area, which bodes well for more events like this coming to "The Bank."
Copyright 2018 by WJXT News4Jax - All rights reserved.