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Southern Rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd wows the crowd on Saturday night
(All MyBayCity Photos by Diane Szczepanski)

Lynyrd Skynyrd Gets It Rockin' in Bay City

Rockin' the River 2011

July 17, 2011       Leave a Comment
By: Diane Szczepanski

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The temperatures weren't the only thing that were hot in Bay City this past weekend. One of the all-time greatest Southern rock bands, Lynyrd Skynyrd, proved once again how they earned that designation, when they rocked the river and an appreciative crowd Saturday, July 16th at Veteran's Memorial Park in Bay City.

Skynyrd gave it their all on the last night before a week break, of the first leg of their God & Guns Tour. Founding guitarist, Gary Rossington and singer Johnnie Van Zant, who was only 17 years old when his brother Johnnie Van Zant, died in a plane crash in 1977, lead loyal followers and current fans in a show that many will remember as a fantastic summer evening for live music in Bay City, MI.

The highly anticipated show kicked off with Finding Clyde, an up and coming band with local roots in Essexville, Michigan.

Finding Clyde most recently opened for Sick Puppies and Pop Evil at the Chesaning Showboat and was also the opening act for the recent Styx concert during the Bay City River Roar on June 25, 2011.

They have upcoming dates scheduled with Stone Temple Pilots and Alice Cooper to name a few. You can check them out at

From left, Marc Scott, Tony Rivard, Jack Neymeiyer and Joe Rivard-Finding Clyde, are ready
to go onstage and rock

Finding Clyde gets the crowd going

Ginger Drzewicki, longtime concert volunteer, with Finding Clyde band members

Skynyrd took the stage to thunderous applause just before 9pm with the kicking chords of 'Working for MCA' and from that moment on, there was little talk and lots of rock.

The set was unsurprisingly heavy on Skynyrd classics and had concert goers on their feet from the onset. Midway into the evening show, to the cheers of the crowd, Van Zant introduced the song 'Simple Man' and dedicated it with heartfelt sentiment to US military troops.

For many in the audience, the icing on the musical cake was the 17 minute long encore of 'Freebird'. Van Zant, got the crowd dancing and singing en masse and the band nailed the chords note for note in an almost 5 minute guitar solo. The delighted crowd filtered out of the park singing Skynyrd tunes and praising a band that delivered what they came for--good old rock 'n roll on a beautiful summer night.

An eager crowd waits in a line almost 2 blocks long

The stage is set and the crowd is waiting for Lynyrd Skynyrd

Chad Cunningham, concert organizer was pleased with the successful event and the over 10,000 people that came to enjoy a memorable show. "It always goes to a great charity, it's affordable entertainment because of our fabulous sponsors and volunteers who make it happen and it's a great night" said Chad. He went on to say, "I've been working on getting them here for many years and I'm happy to see them finally here performing in Bay City".

Cunningham has been promoting Rockin' the River for 15 years. The concert is an annual fundraiser for the Maier & Associates Financial Group Inc., and their 'Just for Kids' charity which raises money and changes lives for children in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Bob VanWert, Director of Sales-Soaring Eagle Casino, a sponsor of the concert

"Forever Fans" (from left) Kevin, Todd, Lorie, Dawn and Renee get ready to enjoy the show

There were some long time fans in Saturday's crowd. Kevin and his group got to the park about 11am to get in line with the mission to secure their front row, center stage, VIP seats. "I've never missed a Skynyrd show in Michigan and have been a fan since 1973" said Kevin. "It's almost an industry to us". Kevin and his wife Lorie, (3rd from left) were excited to share their passion for Lynyrd Skynyrd with their son Todd (second from left).

Tom Pree, Security and John Reminder, Concert Volunteer

Girls night out for (from left) Kellie, Pat, Mary Lou and Diane
"It's yet another enjoyable concert event in Bay City!... Skynyrd rocks! FREEBIRD!" exclaimed Kellie.

Ticket Booth volunteers, Elaine Rico, Ginger Drzewicki and Deb Kiesel

Morning at Maggie's owner, Rod Nimtz (left) kept the crew and volunteers in delicious food for the day and Concert Organizer, Bujie (right) kept the whole event running smoothly and on time.

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Diane Szczepanski

Business-woman by day, confessed boot addict by night and 'wanna-be' writer, music lover and proud Mom of an awesome guitar playing, teen son.

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