“I was just drunk, y’know. I didn’t think the dude would just appear!”
Such is the claim of Richard Klima—occasional barfly and avid shouter.
“I know it’s a popular song and I really wanted the band to play it. The first time I shouted I wasn’t sure that they heard me. Then I belted it two more times and holy fuck, this guy just materialized!”
Nobody was more shocked than local cover band Simple Tuesday, a group that was on stage at the time, but had never played that song. Lead singer Travis Lee explains:
“This cat who’s been dead for like, 20 years or somethin’, just came out of nowhere and was standing right next to me! So what else could I do? I handed him the mic.”
Without hesitation, keyboardist Jimmy “The Tinkler” Adams started the song in what he guessed was the right key, and the rest of the band quickly joined in.
“I just stood by the side of the stage with my mouth agape,” said singer Lee. “This ghost dude was killin’ it!”
While Klima and his friends were thrilled to headbang for the entire song, the rest of the bar patrons were unimpressed.
“Is this a popular song? I’ve never heard it before,” stated Kelly (24), a local hairdresser.
“Why is that guy all glowy?” asked Brittney, Kelly’s BFF.
Then the craziest thing of all happened. Halfway through the song, as soon as the vocals were done, Van Zant just simply vanished.
“It was as if he didn’t even care about the instrumental part!” shouted bassist Rocky Stephens. “I know I nailed those chord changes!”
Guitarist Mike Michaels was equally disappointed. He knew he had heard the epic Lynyrd Skynyrd classic before, but wasn’t sure about the solo.
“I just started shredding in G-minor, so I figured I’d at least be in the ballpark. But I didn’t get all of those signature lines, and my fuckin’ distortion pedal kept cutting out. I should have brought my Strat.”
Hoping for a repeat performance, customers kept yelling “Freebird!” up until closing time, but it wasn’t to be.
“Our guess,” stated Lee, “is that Van Zant has so many places to appear every night…especially on the weekend. There’s no way he could come back.”