Lynyrd Skynyrd played their first show since the death of Gary Rossington on Sunday (March 12), headlining Florida Strawberry Festival in Plant City, FL.
The band put in an emotional performance, with guitarist Damon Johnson taking on Rossington’s parts, as he had done previously during Rossington’s bouts of ill health.
During Tuesday’s Gone, the band displayed a montage of photographs and video clips of Rossington, drawn from across his near-60-year tenure with the band.
Fan footage of the show has now found its way online, and during the performance, present-day vocalist Johnny Van Zant can be heard introducing Johnson, telling the crowd: “Damon Johnson playing it pretty for Mr. Gary Rossington, up in rock ‘n’ roll heaven.”
Tuesday’s Gone featured on the band’s 1973 debut album (Pronounced 'Lĕh-'nérd 'Skin-'nérd) and set something of a template for the southern rock movement.
Written by former vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, the lyrics captured the realisation that, having signed to their record label MCA and with the big-time beckoning, life as they then knew it was set to change.
It is thought to be about saying goodbye to the present, with an uncertain future ahead and therefore feels doubly appropriate as a tribute to the group’s last surviving founding member. Not least because the lead guitar on the song is considered to be among the Skynyrd legend’s finest work.
Rossington passed away on March 5, aged 71. The guitarist had survived a number of close calls in his life, most notably the band’s tragic 1977 plane crash and a previous automobile accident.
His cause of death has not been revealed. However, in recent years his health had waned. In 2015 Rossington suffered a heart attack and in 2021 underwent emergency heart surgery.