Blimp Time-Hop: The First & Last Skynyrd Show At CCCC
42 years ago tonight, the classic lineup of Lynyrd Skynyrd played the Civic Center for the first and last time.The legendary Southern rockers brought their Gimme Back My Bullets tour to town. The new album had been out since February of 1976 and BLM was spinning the title track, Double Trouble and All I Can Do is Write About It.
This show was also bolstered by the popularity of the live album, One More From the Road featuring the addition of guitarist and vocalist, Steve Gaines.
On June 14, 1977, Ronnie Van Zant and the guitar triple threat of Gary Rossington, Allen Collins, and Steve Gaines tore it up in Portland at the newly opened CCCC with Billy Powell on keyboards, Leon Wilkinson on bass and Artimus Pyle on drums. This was their third Maine appearance with previous visits to Lewiston in 1976 and Bangor in 1974.
And holy sh*t...opening the show that night were Foreigner and .38 Special. Blimpsters witnessed history at the fourth rock show ever at Portland’s biggest indoor venue. No one knew this would be the last time.
Sadly four months later, their chartered plane ran out of fuel and crashed in Mississippi. Ronnie Van Zant, Steve Gaines, and back-up singer Cassie Gaines all perished.
A decade later, the surviving band members came together for a reunion tour with Ronnie’s younger brother Johnny on lead vocals. That show came to Portland on September 2, 1987.
Since then, Lynyrd Skynyrd continued to tour keeping the legacy alive in concert led by Johnny Van Zant along with co-founder, Gary Rossington. They are currently on their Farewell Tour and recently played two shows in Blimpville on May 31 at the Bank of NH Pavilion in Gilford and the following day in Maine at Darling's Waterfront Pavilion in Bangor.
Watch this incredible footage captured just a few weeks after they visited Portland, Maine in '77. There’s nothing like the crazy energy of a ’70s rock show!