BANGOR, Maine — The chance to hear Lynyrd Skynyrd and ZZ Top on the same ticket Thursday night drew an estimated 8,000 rock fans to the Bangor Waterfront for the second installment of the 2011 Waterfront Concert Series.
Both bands are classics by any definition and both have been entertaining fans for decades.
That the two rock powerhouses have staying power was evidenced Thursday night by the range of ages represented in the crowd, which spanned generations.
“This music will never die, I think,” said Cassie Nealley of Newburgh, who took in her first ZZ Top concert at the age of 12 at the Bangor Auditorium.
“We grew up with this music,” said Nealley, who added that she is glad to see concerts here in Bangor after having had to travel to Portland to catch a good show.
So, what was it that she wanted to hear? “Free Bird,” she said, without missing a beat.
Her kid sister Makayla, who is 13, also grew up listening to the classics.
“‘Gimme Two Steps’ was the first song I learned to sing,” Makayla said.
Meanwhile, older rockers were getting jazzed about the show.
Candace Phillips, 59, and her 72-year-old husband, Jim, made the more than three-hour trip to Bangor from Rochester, N.H., after hearing about the concerts from their friends Joe and Diane Deprey of Wallagrass.
“They ought to have an AARP table,” Candace Phillips said while surveying the crowd, which unlike some others in the series was heavily attended by the 40-and-over crowd.
Marcus and Susan LoGuidice of Milford said that both acts were part of the soundtrack of their teenage and young adult years.
They remain fans to this day, they said while walking to the waterfront, where they were going to meet up with their son Timmy Ouellette, 22, who just graduated from the nursing program at Husson University and is juggling three jobs. The concert tickets were a graduation present.
Alan and Lisa Condon of Smyrna brought two of their grown sons and their 11-year-old grandson Cody. While walking along Main Street to the concert venue, Lisa Condon said they would have brought even more with them had their van not broken down.
“This is something we like to do as a family,” she said, adding that family has traveled as far as Vermont to take in a good show. “We listen to pretty much everything,” she said, including Skynyrd and ZZ Top.
Thursday’s show marked the second Waterfront Concert Series show for the Aroostook County family, who caught the Tim McGraw concert last year. The family plans to be back in Bangor for the Reba McEntire, Toby Keith and Melissa Etheridge shows later this summer.
Despite the large crowd, few problems were reported. Bangor Deputy Police Chief Peter Arno said one intoxicated person was arrested before 7 p.m. after he kept returning despite being asked to leave.
“The biggest thing we’re going to deal with tonight is alcohol,” Arno said. “We’re trying to take care of those issues before they become problems.”
Perhaps the biggest concern leading up to the concert was the rain. After it rained for most of the day, the drizzle let up shortly before 5 p.m., when the gates opened.