38 Special - Live at Rockpalast 1981

by Kevin Wierzbicki

Southern rock was still going strong in 1981 thanks in part to great albums like 38 Special's Wild-Eyed Southern Boys. And wild-eyed Southern boys is probably exactly what fans in Europe were expecting as the band played a live show for the German music television program "Rockpalast." Featuring Donnie Van Zant on vocals and with Don Barnes and Jeff Carlisi on guitars (and Barnes on occasion lead vocals) the band was in top form and did not disappoint as they rocked through opener "Turn it On" with Barnes and Carlisi giving the audience a first taste of their stellar guitar interplay. "First Time Around," one of the cuts from Wild-Eyed Southern Boys, has a sound a lot like that of Lynyrd Skynyrd, no surprise since Van Zant is the brother of Ronnie Van Zant, Skynyrd's original vocalist who died in 1977. The guys didn't keep fans waiting too long to hear "Wild-Eyed Southern Boys" as the strutting boogie is played early in the set, followed by the big hit "Hold on Loosely." The lusty "Back Alley Sally" and a roaring take on Chuck Berry's "Around and Around" lead into another big hit and clear crowd favorite, "Rockin' Into the Night." Surprisingly absent, considering it is from Wild-Eyed Southern Boys, is radio favorite "Fantasy Girl," but likely no one missed it as 38 Special finished their show with the lengthy jam "I Been a Mover" which whipped the crowd into a frenzy and set the mood for a raucous cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Fortunate Son" as the encore. A great show and a nice snapshot of 38 Special (and Southern rock in general) in the early '80s.


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