On October 20, 1977, the world lost legendary Lynyrd Skynyrd singer Ronnie Van Zant when the plane he was on crashed in Mississippi. While the rocker's music has lived on, fans would never again get to see him perform live on a stage, but during the Skynyrd's set at the 2018 iHeartRadio Music Festival, they got as close as they could to once again playing with Ronnie.
As the group played an epic 12-minute long version of their classic song, "Free Bird," silent video of Ronnie singing the track was shown on the giant screen behind them, synced up perfectly with his brother, Johnny Van Zant's singing. Skynyrd rocked the tune with Ronnie as if their late bandmate was standing onstage with them once again.
The entire performance centered around Ronnie. After Skynyrd finished "Sweet Home Alabama," Johnny said to the crowd, "In the words of my older brother Ronnie, 'What song do you want to hear, Vegas?'" The audience then started chanting "Free Bird."
Before the video of Ronnie singing, photos of the rocker were shown, as were images of flying birds. Then, a video of dozen candles disappearing one at a time played on the screen. Each had a name written under it and each represented one of the members of the group that have passed away over the years.
However, when the video of Ronnie was shown and the band played with it, the crowd was truly moved:
Ronnie's spirit was not only present at Vegas's T-Mobile Arena, it filled the huge venue.
If you missed any of this year's iHeartRadio Music Festival, you can see all of the best moments from the unforgettable weekend by tuning in to a two-night television special, exclusively on The CW, on October 7th and October 8th from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. ET/PT.
Photo Credit: Getty