TUPELO- Tupelo resident Mel Faggard was not please when he arrived at the BancorpSouth Arena Friday night to see Lynyrd Skynyrd just to find out the the concert wasn’t happening.
“I rolled in honking my custom Dixie horn expecting to be greeted by drunk good ole boys waving Feddy flags,” remembers Faggard, “but instead I was met with silence.”
The Skynyrd show, originally scheduled for March 20, has been postponed until October 16 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Faggard did not get the memo.
“I ain’t got Facebook, so I didn’t know nothing about the Crayola virus.”
Faggard says that he is not just upset about the concert, but is more upset about its significance.
“Everyone calls me ‘Free Bird’. It’s my nickname. It’s because I yell ‘Free Bird’ at everything. Concerts, movies, plays, ball games, weddings, funerals. Heck, I yell it every Sunday at church. It’s kind of my thing. It gets a laugh almost about a quarter of the time. But if you can believe it, I’ve never yelled it at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.”
This would not have been Faggard’s first Skynyrd show.
“I’ve seen Skynyrd a few times. But every time I’ve always been too hoarse to yell ‘Free Bird!’ because I was yelling it at something else the night before,” Faggard laments. “One time I tried to see how long I could hold one out while I was waiting for the Crosstown train. The next night was the Skynyrd show, and my throat hurt so bad I couldn’t speak a word. I coulda kicked my own butt. It’s been my lifelong dream to yell ‘Free Bird’ at an actual Lynyrd Skynyrd show.”
Faggard had been taking measures to ensure his voice was ready for the concert.
“I’ve been social-isolating so that I’m not tempted to speak to anyone, much less yell “Free Bird!” I even missed the birth of my child last month because I knew I wouldn’t be able to resist. It’s that important to me,” says a tearful Faggard, “but now I’ve lost my chance.”
Faggard is now keeping vigil in the BancorpSouth Arena parking lot, lit cigarette in mouth, playing air guitar as “Free Bird” blasts from his truck’s cracked factory speakers.