"VOLUNTEER JAM," CHARLIE DANIELS, .38 SPECIAL AND SHOOTER JENNINGS, USANA Amphitheatre, Friday
For an elder statesman of southern rock, Charlie Daniels moves and sounds like he's in his prime.
The 71-year-old fiddle player/guitarist/band leader took the rowdy USANA audience on a trip through the past and into the present with his "Volunteer Jam," which opened the amphitheater's summer concert season.
Dipping into his bag of goodies, Daniels and his band cranked out "Dixie on My Mind," "El Toreador" and "Drinking My Baby Goodbye."
When he fiddled, he fiddled hard and threw the used bows into the audience. When he played the guitar, he cranked it out and gave the audience what it wanted.
"Jamming for Stevie" and "In America" got the audience on its feet, and some even rushed the stage to get a few photos of the newly inducted member of the Grand Ole Opry. Of course, what would a Charlie Daniels Band set be without "The Devil Went Down to Georgia"?
Opening the night was Shooter Jennings & the .357s. Shooter, the son of Waylon Jennings and Jessi Colter, kicked off the night with his swampy blues.
His restless tunes included older tracks, such as "Gone to Carolina" and "4th of July." But he mixed in some new songs, such as "Slow Train" and "Blood From a Stone," from his new album, "Wolf."
The .357s did their job well as they jammed it out and got the audience on its feet.
After Jennings' set came to a close, .38 Special gave the audience another shot of southern rock.
Classic tracks, such as the sing-along chorus to "Rockin' Into the Night," "Twentieth Century Fox" and "Back Where You Belong," reacquainted the band, fronted by Donnie Van Zant and guitarist/vocalist Don Barnes, to its fans.
The shuffle strut of "Wild-Eyed Southern Boys," the longing "If I'd Been the One" and "Fantasy Girl" still sounded as current as they did in the '80s.
Van Zant even took some time to sing "Help Somebody," which he originally recorded with his younger brother, Johnny, for an album called "Get Right With the Man."A show-capping medley, which included snippets of "Back to Paradise," "Teacher, Teacher," "Somebody Like You," "Stone Cold Believer" and "Second Chance," culminated with "Caught Up in You." And the finale, featuring "Hold on Loosely" and a remake of "Travelin' Band," cleared the way for the Charlie Daniels Band.