Saturday, August 06, 2005


Last night (and this morning) was the second and (probably) final "final" Blue Sundaze show.

It was a bit of a surprise for all involved. A friend of the band accidentally double-booked himself for Friday night, and needed to find a replacement to fulfill one of his commitments. Rose from Blue Sundaze is always eager to play out, and it didn't take much convincing to get the other members of the band to drag their equipment some 35 miles upstream to a bar in one of the more affluent parts of Northeastern PA.*

The show was good, as always. But early in the night somebody decided to start yelling "FREEBIRD!" after every song.

Now I have nothing against Lynyrd Skynyrd. I think they created some of the most intelligent (Mr. Saturday Night Special, That Smell), thoughtful (Simple Kind of Man, Tuesday's Gone) and funny (Gimme Three Steps) songs in '70's popular culture (although Judas Priest, Iron Maiden and, of course, Ozzy Osbourne and Black Sabbath would certainly give them a run for their money.) Free Bird is, in and of itself, a good song, if perhaps a bit overrated. But the amusement value of the "Freebird!" phenomenon (yelling out "Freebird!" in-between songs in an attempt to convince the band to play the song, and you think that this will be persuasive because you are a drunken inbred redneck hick) and the related meta-phenomenon (yelling out "Freebird!" because you think it's funny, and don't mind that everyone assumes you are a drunken inbred redneck hick) wears thin pretty fast. Really, two dozen repetitions is probably the maximum number a reasonable person could expect to be permitted to make before being dragged from their stool and pounded into unrecognizable organic paste in the woods behind the bar by the band's oversized and generally tolerant photographer.

But violent fantasies aside, I think that there is one easy fix for the "Freebird!" phenomenon: I think every band, regardless of genre, regardless of any other consideration, should learn to play Free Bird.

And not just learn it. Learn to play it well. Learn to play it without irony. Maybe learn a few other songs by Skynyrd, too. (My votes are for Simple Kind of Man and Tuesday's Gone.) And then, if anybody from the crowd yells out "Freebird!" the band could immediately play a note-perfect version of the song. (The other songs could be used if the alternate "Play some Skynyrd, man!" is shouted from the audience. I myself am guilty of yelling this.)

Yes, if someone calls for Free Bird, you play Free Bird. Once.

And after that, anyone calling for it gets pounded to paste.

*This meant that instead of drunken trailer trash and skanky ho's, the bar was full of glassy-eyed coked-up frat boys in golf visors, khaki shorts and docksiders. I'm starting to wonder if I'm really not a "people person".


marc said...

Please, down here in Florida, Freebird might as well be the State Song. You should have pounded that person to paste anyway.

Betz said...

LOL!!!!! I agree Marc. My ex husband loves the song and my son knows it verbatim. I do not hate the song, and agree with Harold that some of thier others are better. Ricky says it is the next concert he wants to go to.
Would anyone like to join us?