Skynyrd, Zac Brown delight Augusta fans

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Bill it as a battle of the Southern rock titans.

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Zac Brown delights his fans at the Bell Auditorium.  Michael Holahan/Staff
Michael Holahan/Staff
Zac Brown delights his fans at the Bell Auditorium.

Thursday evening, both the Zac Brown Band and Lynyrd Skynyrd headlined separate shows at the Augusta Entertainment Complex. The shows demonstrated both the enduring popularity of Southern rock and the wide demographic appeal of the musical form.

At the Bell Auditorium, wearing a recent country radio smash (Chicken Fried ) and weighing in with a strong regional fan base, was the Zac Brown Band. At the James Brown Arena, the legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd performed, armed with nearly 40 years' experience and a slew of classic rock tunes.

Fans showed up early and excited. The party started more than two hours before the first opening act took the stage, with local acts Fried Goat and the Ogeechee River Band entertaining on the plaza that separates the two venues. Later, the Skynyrd faithful were offered the opportunity to enjoy barbecue and a beverage (or two) for an additional $30. The pre-party revelers were clearly enthusiastic about seeing the legendary act roll out classics such as Free Bird as well as new material from the recently released God & Guns . The familiar strains of the signature Skynyrd song Sweet Home Alabama were enough to illicit a response.

"I'm just glad to see them come here," said Harold Emery Lents Jr., "Ghosst" to his friends. "Usually we get left out. Usually it's Atlanta or Columbia."

Mr. Lents said that while he was happy to hear Zac Brown was next door, there was never any question that Skynyrd would get his ticket. He said the band has become something greater than the musicians on stage.

"I know people that wouldn't let you say nothing bad about Skynyrd," he said with a laugh. "It's a lifestyle. It's their (the band's) lifestyle."

Sissy Bugg Clark, of Augusta, was seeing Skynyrd for the third time. She said the thing about Lynyrd Skynyrd is that while members have come and gone, with only a single founding member still playing with the group, the sound remains the same.

"It's a sound like no other," she said. "It's something you never forget. Something you never want to forget."

On the plaza, Don and Stephanie Bray, of Augusta, prepared to take their seat for the Zac Brown Band. Mrs. Bray said there was never a question about which show they would attend.

"We were focused," she said with a laugh. "We've heard really good things about his show and really like the music."

For Sammy Janes, of Augusta, the choice was tougher. He originally thought that the Lynyrd Skynyrd show was over the weekend. In the end, he chose to eschew the twangy pleasures of Zac Brown for Lynyrd Skynyrd. "I was in conflict though," he said. "But I've seen Skynyrd before and you can't beat that classic rock sound. Sometime you just want to stick with what you know."

"Besides," he said with a smile. "Someone gave me these tickets."

Reach Steven Uhles at (706) 823-3626 or steven.uhles@augustachronicle.com

Comments (7) Add comment
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papadan
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papadan 11/13/09 - 07:54 am
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Bought tickets, got sick,

Bought tickets, got sick, could not go, mabey next time. I'am glad they are bringing some great bands to augusta

mommie2
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mommie2 11/13/09 - 08:13 am
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Lynryd Skynyrd did a great

Lynryd Skynyrd did a great job! And there's always alot of fun in watching old drunk rednecks get down!

puppydog
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puppydog 11/13/09 - 09:24 am
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Too bad these concerts

Too bad these concerts weren't held on different nights, then people could have gone to both (& generated twice the revenue).

noway
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noway 11/13/09 - 09:48 am
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Wow, Augusta Entertainment

Wow, Augusta Entertainment Complex...I had no idea we had such a place here. Glad the concerts were good and well attended.

ubatch041
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ubatch041 11/13/09 - 02:54 pm
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I agree puppydog,

I agree puppydog, communication and coordination of events would have brought double revenue to Augusta.

belle
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belle 11/13/09 - 03:00 pm
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puppydog and ubatch, I agree
Unpublished

puppydog and ubatch, I agree and feel that weekend venues would generate much more money than weeday but we must realize that these entertainers are booked heavily because they are really good and with their heavy schedule, we can't be too choosy about when we get them.

andrew412
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andrew412 11/14/09 - 05:41 pm
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would it have been crazy to

would it have been crazy to have zac brown band open for lynyrd skynyrd, or for them to have equal time split concert? they could have packed the JB Arena full!

Purrfectlyevil
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Purrfectlyevil 11/14/09 - 09:40 pm
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I for one appreciate that we

I for one appreciate that we actually had a well known classic Rock band in Augusta!!! They were welcomed Greatly...Concert was Fantastic.. This is second time I have seen them and They are still Great. Want to give Kudos also to Blackberry Smoke and Rev Theory who were Very talented in their own right... Kinda rude of us not to acknowledge their presence in the Arena that nite.... it was my sons first concert and Am thankful that ALL of the bands made it Memorable for him.... God Bless and Keep crankin' out The Tunes Guyz...!!! :)

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