Tonight! Lynyrd Skynyrd and Bret Michaels Come to Cruzan Amphitheatre

Neil Young initiated one of the most barbed exchanges in rock 'n' roll history

with "Southern Man" and "Alabama," two scathing indictments of

segregation and Southern sins. Pride rankled, Lynyrd Skynyrd jumped to its homeland's defense and responded with "Sweet

Home Alabama," etching a classic-rock standard and ripping Young a new

one in a tidy step. That track, along with perennial "Free Bird," would

eventually rival "Stairway to Heaven" and Boston's "More Than a Feeling"

for rock radio domination.

Sadly, tragedy looms large over the Skynyrd legacy -- specifically the

1977 plane crash that killed original singer Ronnie Van Zant and two

other band members; a car crash in 1986 that paralyzed guitarist Allen

Collins and killed his girlfriend (Collins died four years later); and

the January '09 death of original keyboard player Billy Powell. Still,

the supposed Skynyrd-Young feud apparently didn't erase the affection

Ronnie felt for Young. He was frequently photographed onstage wearing a

T-shirt bearing the cover of Neil's Tonight's the Night album,

and he was also reportedly buried in it.

As for special guest Bret Michaels, the former Poison singer is quite

the media star, with his Broadway bow in Rock of Ages, a recent Oprah

interview, his win on Celebrity Apprentice, and, perhaps even

more impressively, a well-documented recovery from a near-fatal brain

hemorrhage and surgery to repair a hole in his heart.

Both acts, beaten

but not broken, should make for a memory-filled night.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, with Bret Michaels and 38 Special. 7 p.m. Thursday,

June 10, at Cruzan Amphitheatre, 601 Sansbury's Way, West Palm Beach.

Tickets cost $19 to $53.50. Call 800-745-3000, or click here.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Lee Zimmerman