In July 1977, Lynyrd Skynyrd took to the stage to perform at the Convention Hall in Asbury Park, New Jersey. Three months later, lead singer Ronnie Van Zant, guitarist Steve Gaines, and Honkette Cassie Gaines were killed in a plane crash.
Skynyrd's appearance at the Convention Hall was one of the final times that fans got the chance to see Ronnie, Steve, and Cassie perform. Because of that, footage from their Convention Hall performance is a treasured commodity in the Skynyrd world.
As rare as the footage is, some of it has found its way online. Skynyrd performed a series of their best songs that night, along with some newer material off of their then-upcoming album, Street Survivors.
One of the older tunes Skynyrd performed during their Convention Hall concert was "Saturday Night Special." Written by guitarist Ed King and Ronnie, the song addressed gun control and how inexpensive handguns such as the "Saturday Night Special" could lead to impulsive violence. As Ronnie sings:
"Mr. Saturday night special,
Got a barrel that's blue and cold.
Ain't good for nothin',
But put a man six feet in a hole."
Ronnie brought his signature sense of rowdiness to his performance of "Saturday Night Special" at the Convention Hall. During any of Skynyrd's shows, it was Ronnie's unbreakable enthusiasm that drove the entire performance.
Of course, the other driving force was Skynyrd's guitarists and their triple guitar attack. There was some stellar guitar work on display during their performance of "Saturday Night Special" at the Convention Hall, that's for sure!
Check out the clip below to see this history-making performance unfold.
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