The first group rode in on a wave of Southern Rock revival around the time of punk. Skynyrd had attitude, a wide range of musical influences and a super-fine intro to the airwaves in “Sweet Home Alabama,” which not only took on perennial hipster favorite Neil Young but the country/Western establishment as well. Add on such other mid-‘70s hits as “What’s Your Name?” and “Free Bird,” plus an in-your-face three-guitar attack and a confrontational lead singer in the form of Ronnie Van Zandt, and their quick success makes sense.
Then their plane went down, literally, killing three of their key members and closing down the band for a decade – until revival tours beckoned in the late 1980s, fueled by their earlier catalogue’s persistence in classic rock radio formats. Voilà: the latest incarnation of Lynyrd Skynyrd features one of its original members, all of their classic songs and greater Boomer popularity than ever.
The Doobies, meanwhile, are something of an anomaly in rock music: a top group that has shifted sound and personnel several times over a 40-year career while staying at the top of the charts, with hits as wide-ranging as “Listen to the Music,” “Jesus Is Just Alright,” “Black Water” and the Michael McDonald-led “Taking It to the Streets.” They too were based on a three-guitar attack and have seen original members pass away, but kept touring based on the strength of their ageless (but very ‘70s- and ‘80s-resonant) catalogue. And yes, they were named for the original lineup’s fondness for an herbaceous substance rolled into a certain “doobie” form.
Both bands put on a fun show, and the crowds they draw are out for a good time. They hit the stage at Bethel Woods this Friday, August 19, with special guest Blackjack Billy. Showtime is 7:30 p.m. For further information, call (800) 745-3000 or visit http://bethelwoodscenter.org.