Jacksonville, Florida, friends and neighbors Don Barnes and Donnie Van Zant formed .38 Special in 1974. The band enjoyed great success in the early 1980s with a string of No.1 hits. Van Zant, the younger brother of the late Ronnie Van Zant of Lynyrd Skynyrd, retired in 2013 due to health issues. Barnes continues to lead the band and sing most of the vocals.
Don Barnes brings a genuine love of performing to the stage and it is contagious. He is the lone remaining original member of .38 Special and he keeps the music true and pure. The band members enjoy jamming with each other and engaging the fans. Barnes encouraged the enthusiastic crowd to sing along and many knew every word. A dance party broke out in front of the stage. It was a good night to reminisce about the wonderful memories associated with great music now three decades old.
The other current members of .38 Special are Danny Chauncey on guitar, Bobby Capps playing keyboards, Gary Moffatt on drums and Barry Dunaway laying down the bass. The sound was tight. Chauncey and Barnes traded guitar licks seamlessly. Moffatt wowed the fans with a stirring drum solo. Capps showed his versatility on keyboards and also played an inspiring solo. Dunaway was steady and solid with on bass guitar.
.38 Special covered all of its big hits including “Back Where You Belong,” “Wild Eyed Southern Boys,” “Teacher, Teacher,” “Second Chance,” “Like No Other Night,” “Fantasy Girl,” “If I’d Been the One” and the finale, “Caught Up In You.” The entire crowd was now standing and cheering. It demanded an encore.
The band promptly came back out and played “Chain Lightnin’ ” followed by “Hold On Loosely.” Now the fans were in a total frenzy. .38 Special closed this outstanding show with a cover of Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Travelin’ Band.”
Longtime .38 Special fan Chris Vazquez said the band has never sounded better: “They just keep improving with age.” Vazquez was able to visit with Don Barnes outside the band’s motorhome after the show and catch up on old stories. “He is so friendly and nice. Not at all like your typical rock star.”