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POP MUSIC REVIEWS : Beat Goes On for Lynyrd Skynyrd, Nugent

July 29, 1994|CHUCK CRISAFULLI

In the mid-'70s, Lynyrd Skynyrd spearheaded the rebel charge of Southern rockers, while Ted Nugent reigned as heavy metal's premier gonzo guitarist. On Wednesday night at the Greek Theatre, each act demonstrated that while its moment of pop triumph may be long gone, the music rumbles on.

Opening its headlining set with an acoustic segment, the band--which has been regrouped since 1991 with Johnny Van Zant on lead vocals--kicked some new sparks out of old favorites like "Saturday Night Special," with the group's trademark triple guitar attack sounding particularly effective unplugged.

When the band fired up its amps and began to run through its lengthy list of hits and crowd-pleasers, the energy stayed high even as the music became predictable.

The set peaked as a giant Confederate flag was unfurled to the guitar-driven strains of "Dixie," just before the band launched into "Sweet Home Alabama."

Nugent's ferocious set was a powerful showcase for his estimable guitar skills. Fronting a power trio, Nugent was something of a heavy metal harlequin, pulling faces and clowning about the stage as he ripped through "Cat Scratch Fever" and "Stranglehold" with virtuoso abandon. The longtime hunting enthusiast ended his set with a bit of archery, aiming an arrow at a guitar hoisted up at the rear of the stage.

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