Donnie Van Zant - vocals, guitar
Jeff Carlisi - guitar
Don Barnes - guitar, vocals
Larry Johnstrom - bass
Jack Grondin - drums
Steve Brookins - drums
.38 Special came to national recognition as the Lynyrd Skynyrd empire was coming to an unfortunate and abrupt end, due to that fateful plane crash in 1977. Donnie Van Zant, younger brother of Skynyrd vocalist Ronnie Van Zant, formed .38 Special. Along with guitarists Jeff Carlisi and Don Barnes, Ronnie formed the group in 1975, but they failed to gain any real attention until they reshaped their Southern fried boogie sound into a more radio friendly AOR format. By the turn of the decade, their songs were more structured and driven by hook-laden choruses.
The group built itself around a similar musical line-up as the Allman Brothers (two lead guitarists, two drummers) sans the gritty organ. Musically, the focus generally stayed on the duel lead work of Carlisi and Barnes. This performance is the first of two shows currently posted here on the Concert Vault, originally recorded for the King Biscuit Flower Hour.
The group was just about at its chart-topping peak when this show was recorded on New Year's Eve in 1982. Many of the band's trademark hits are here, including "Caught Up In You," "Hold On Loosely," and "Rockin' Into the Night," though a few of the sets songs had not yet become the radio staples someday would. It was expected that 38 Special, with the younger Van Zant taking the helm, would inherit the Skynyrd legacy. That never happened most likely due to the band placing its emphasis on a slick arena-rock sound.
The highlights of the show, however, are two blistering covers: Chuck Berry's "Around and Around" (also made famous by The Rolling Stones in 1964) and a rousing re-make of the Creedence Clearwater hit "Fortunate Son," which serves as an encore.