Jacksonville's Lynyrd Skynryd Announces Farewell Tour

Jan 25, 2018

Lynyrd Skynyrd has announced a farewell tour that will kick off on May 4 in West Palm Beach.

The band was originally formed more than 40 years ago on the First Coast.

"It's hard to imagine, after all these years, the band that Ronnie Van Zant, Allen Collins and myself started back in Jacksonville, would resonate for this long and to so many generations of fans. I’m certain they are looking down from above, amazed that the music has touched so many," said Gary Rossington, founding member of Lynyrd Skynyrd, on the band’s website. 

The band picked its name as a mock tribute to the late Leonard Skinner, who was a P.E. teacher at Robert E. Lee High School, according to multiple sources that include The Florida Times-Union and Washington Post.

The music almost came to an end in 1977 when a plane crash killed lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines and several members of the road crew. 

The band was reformed in 1987 with Ronnie’s brother,  Johnny Van Zant,  taking over lead vocals of such classics as "Sweet Home Alabama," "Simple Man" and "Free Bird" (videos below). 

“We’ve been blessed by these great songs and the messages they carry to the fans. It’s been a true honor to try and fill in my brother’s footsteps for the past 31 years, keeping the music and his spirit alive," said Johnny Van Zant.

Since then, the band has also lost Allen Collins, Billy Powell, Leon Wilkeson and Hughie Thomasson, according to the band's website.

Despite the setbacks, the sound has endured. Lynyrd Skynyrd has produced more than 60 albums.

One of the band’s recent projects marked a return to Jacksonville. In 2015 the band returned home to record a Blu-ray DVD at the Florida Theatre.

No Jacksonville or First Coast-area tour date has been announced for the Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour Presented by SiriusXM at the time of this story’s posting. But the band does say to check its website for tour updates.

Here are the dates and locations for the first leg of the tour that we have received as of January 25:

Friday, May 4 – Coral Sky Amphitheatre, West Palm Beach, Florida

Saturday, May 5 – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre, Tampa, Florida

Friday, May 11 – Starplex Pavilion, Dallas, Texas

Saturday, May 12 – Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion Presented by Huntsman, Houston, Texas

Friday, May 18 – Ak-Chin Pavilion, Phoenix, Arizona

Saturday, May 19 – Mattress Firm Amphitheatre, Chula Vista, California

Friday, May 25 – Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, California

Saturday, May 26 – Glen Helen Amphitheater, San Bernadino, California

Friday, June 22 – PNC Bank Arts Center, Holmdel, New Jersey

Saturday, June 23 – Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theatre, Wantagh, New York

Friday, June 29 – Coastal Credit Union Music Park, Raleigh, North Carolina

Saturday, June 30 – PNC Music Pavilion, Charlotte, North Carolina

Friday, July 6 – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater, Virginia Beach, Virginia

Saturday, July 7 – Jiffy Lube Live, Bristow, Virginia

Friday, July 13 – Darien Lake Amphitheater, Darien, New York

Saturday, July 14 – Xfinity Theatre, Hartford, Connecticut

Friday, July 20 – Xfinity Center, Mansfield, Massachusetts*

Saturday, July 21 – Bethel Woods Center for the Arts, Bethel, New York

Friday, July 27 – Blossom Music Center, Cleveland, Ohio

Saturday, July 28 – Hersheypark Stadium, Hershey, Pennsylvania

Friday, August 3 – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Tinley Park, Illinois

Saturday, August 4 – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center, Noblesville, Indiana

Friday, August 10 – DTE Energy Music Theatre, Detroit, Michigan+

Saturday, August 11 – Budweiser Stage, Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Friday, August 17 – Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, Ohio

Saturday, August 18 – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, St. Louis, Missouri

Friday, August 24 – Lakeview Amphitheatre, Syracuse, New York

Saturday, August 25 – KeyBank Pavilion, Burgettstown, Pennsylvania

Friday, August 31 – Oak Mountain Amphitheatre, Pelham, AL

Saturday, September 1 – Cellairis Amphitheatre at Lakewood, Atlanta, Georgia

You can check for updates and additional information at http://lynyrdskynyrd.com.

Bill Bortzfield can be reached at bbortzfield@wjct.org, 904-358-6349 or on Twitter at @BortzInJax.

Photo used under Creative Commons license.