The lights came down and the Outlaws sauntered to their positions on the stage. What followed was a two hour stampede of non stop classic Southern Rock. From the first note of the opening number to the last note of the finale and everything in between these musicians perform their craft with precision and boldness reminiscent of the original Outlaws of the 1970s vintage.
Of the 1970s band only Monte Yoho (drums) and Henry Paul (lead vocals, Acoustic guitar) remain. On Bass is Randy Threet and on Keyboards is Dave Robbins. However this band is all about the two great guitarists who form todays "Florida Guitar Army." Chris Anderson has been with the band since 2005. Mr. Anderson made his bones with Dru Lumbar and the gang at Grinderswitch. His teamate is Billy Crain out of Nashville, Tenn. and the brother of the late Tommy Crain, lead guitarist for the Charlie Daniels Band.
These guys have all the finesse of a cattle drive on the open range during a thunderstorm. The amps were spewing out one red hot guitar lick after another and the rhythms rolled across the prairie like a herd of wild Mustangs snorting fire. The crowd was into it. I brought several young guys and gals with me who are too young to have ever heard of the Outlaws. I believe they were impressed and enjoyed the show from our seats in the second row center.
The gang played many of their old standards including: Hurry Sundown, Knoxville Girl, Freeborn Man, Lover Boy, There Goes Another Love Song, Gunsmoke, Waterhole, Gray Ghost (on which Billy Crain played his brothers gold Gibson left to him after his death). From the new album, due out next month, they played: It's About Pride, The Last Ghost Town and Nothin' Main About Main Street.
All great songs, all rocked the building, but Green Grass and High Tides brought down the house and had everyone on their feet for a 16 minute rendition of this southern rock classic. Most folks thought the show was over when this anthem ended, but true to form the Outlaws kept rocking and finished the show with a rowdy Ghost Riders in the Sky. I love the smell of guitar smoke and these guys burned it.
The opening band was Crawdaddy, a Lynyrd Skynyrd Tribute Band. The drummer is Artimus Pyle, an original member of the great group. It was terriffic to hear the Skynyrd classics live. It is about pride and the Outlaws have plenty of it. The next time they ride through town the Jersey Gang will be there to go see them again and again.