Roadies: The All Night Bus Ride -Lynyrd Skynyrd and Phil (Review)


Roadies “The All Night Bus Ride” fosters a bit of rock and roll history via Phil’s long tale of getting started in the business.  This episode seems to put the “curse” in the back seat until the end.  Phil’s origin story is the center piece here and it is a fun, but sad, look at the meteoric rise of his band; Lynyrd Skynyrd. The one that got Phil into the business.

This could well be the best episode of Roadies so far. There is a parallel here between two bands. Staten House Band is being sabotaged by Preston (Brian Benben) via Double D, aka Reg. Phil tells about how he was introduced to the business via Cuban cigars and Lynyrd Skynyrd.  It is, essentially, the tale of two bands (Get it?) where one is being destroyed by a power play and the other wiped out by fate at the height of their popularity.

(It should be pointed out that there is still a Lynyrd Skynyrd band, but only one of the original band members is attached. Ronnie Van Zant and two other band members died. The group disbanded for a time but reformed later on with Ronnie’s younger brother filling in.)

Of the two stories, it is Phil’s that entertains the most.  Apparently, according to Zap2it, a good portion of the tale is true. The band had a reputation for being rowdy and “ready for a fight.” They also did get big very quickly.  It was their epic rise that ultimately got Van Zant and the rest killed.

Using a Convair CV-300 that was passed over, according to “rock legend,” by Aerosmith the group were flying to venues.  The plane crashed after running out of fuel and the rest, as they say, is history.

Back to that long bus ride: The crew are worried about how many will be going on the European leg of the tour. Reg is looking at the financials yet again. Phil is still telling his story and Shelli gets a call from Sean; his father has died.

Shelli has to leave the tour.

Shelli leaving the tour, temporarily.

Dead Sex is still a a passion for all the crew. David Spade is featured yet again as the protagonist in this “show within a show.” Reg, who has become addicted to the program like everyone else, He  realizes,  while watching the latest episode, that  he is a pawn. 

This is something that Spade’s character learns in Dead Sex. Reg works out that all the cuts he made,  and people he fired,  was really a waste of time. The budget was an impossibility. No matter how many corners were cut Reg would never be able to meet his target.

Double D realizes that he was sent in to break up the band and allow Tom to move over to a solo career. Preston has been using him to destroy Staten House Band.

Meanwhile, Milo and Kelly Ann clear the air and Donna reveals that Halsey is trying to steal the entire crew away.  Bill and Shelli are still a “thing” but this family death may result in a cooling down period.

Ron White kills it in this episode. There could well be an Emmy with his name on it for this show alone.  Other notables in this episode were Nathan Sutton; who played Ronnie Van Zant and Connor Weil as the Young Phil both knocked it out of the park.

Roadies has now taken a bit of a dark turn.  Preston wanting to break the band up and using poor old Double D to do it is pretty despicable.  It seems that no one in the band, not even Tom, is aware of Preston’s plan. At this rate the European tour that everyone was so worried about may never happen at all.

This was a brilliant meld of fact and fiction. Allowing the fictional character of Phil to do a “You Were There” recreation of Van Zant and his band’s meteoric rise to fame. It was a loving homage to a group of artists who loved a scrap and who produced classics that still move to this day.

Were Lynyrd Skynyrd really so “rough and ready?”  They must have been. It can be no coincidence that Rob Zombie chose Freebird to end The Devil’s Rejects. The three violent characters who die shooting at the close of the film do so to that epic anthem.  Of course the main reason is clearly the matching of three deaths but in essence what other band fit so well.  Echoing the mythos of the main characters in the film.

Roadies airs Sundays on Showtime.


Author: Mike's Film Talk

Former Actor, Former Writer, Former Journalist, USAF Veteran, Former Member Nevada Film Critics Society

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