Rock and Roll: Why it Changed My Life in One Night

I was 100 percent not a rock and roll girl before this weekend. Anyone who knows me knows that I strictly stick to my Taylor Swift and Jack Johnson playlists. I know, don’t cringe. However, this weekend changed all that. One rock concert, and I’m a changed woman.

Lynyrd Skynyrd, a rock band that is said to have changed the Southern rock genre in the 1970s, performed this Friday, Sept. 20, at the USANA Amphitheatre in West Valley City, UT. Right now, I know probably more than half of you are thinking, “who the heck is that?” I didn’t know either, until I saw the good ol’ song “Sweet Home Alabama” pop up when I searched the band  name.

It took me a second to figure out who the opening band was, but I was fascinated with the lead singer’s British accent when he addressed the crowd. Bad Company, an “English hard rock supergroup” kicked off the night. Don’t know who they are either? That’s okay, they were more my mother’s generation. Don’t write them off yet though, listen to “Feel Like Makin’ Love” first. Give “Bad Company” a try too. Even if you don’t like it, you’ll at least appreciate how the group named one of their songs after themselves.

I’m not sure why rock and roll has never really been my thing. There was something about it, though, watching it be performed live. It might have been the electric guitar or the jazzy melodies being played on the piano. Maybe I really just appreciated Paul Rodgers’ long scarf and black fedora. But looking back, I think it was watching all these old men wearing biker jackets hold hands with their wives and scream, “we love you Skynyrd,” that really won my heart over. 

Rock and roll is known for being gritty and mean and the kind of stuff you play before you go pump iron at the gym, but I think there’s more to it than that. There’s a reason these hard core men are pouring their souls into this music. 

The lyrics from one of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s most popular songs, “Free Bird,” uncovers that reason. “Cause I’m as free as a bird now… and this bird you can not change.” Rock and roll brings out the youth in us. It makes old men get off their Harley’s and stand in a crowd full of smoke just to listen. It makes young college girls like me that feel uncomfortable in a crowd of old people stop thinking about the Spanish test she’s about to fail. It makes us feel free. 

Lynyrd Skynyrd said it best that night; “Life is good. What’s not to smile about?” Thinking about attending a concert yourself? Guns N Roses is performing in Salt Lake City UT on Oct. 29. Give rock and roll a shot, it just might change your life in a night, too.


Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photo by: Elizabeth Armstrong