“Hold on Loosely” and “Caught Up in You” were just two of 38 Special’s Southern rock anthems that brought the crowd to its feet Saturday night at the Key West Amphitheater.

The show marked the return of “big music” to the island.

After more than three decades together, 38 Special still plays its classics, such as “Rockin’ Into the Night” and “Fantasy Girl,” in over 100 cities a year. 

38 Special’s singer and guitarist Don Barnes has been a part of 38 Special for more than 30 years and still plays 100 cities a year. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly

“We never wanted to be one of those bands that had maybe gotten a little soft or complacent over the years,” said guitarist and vocalist Don Barnes. “We’re a team, and it’s always been kind of an unspoken rule that we don’t slack up, we stack up. We go out there every night to win.”

Completing the team is keyboardist/vocalist Bobby Capps, drummer Gary Moffatt, bassist Barry Dunaway and guitarist Jerry Riggs.  

Guitarist and vocalist Jerry Riggs is the newest member of 38 Special, and has enjoyed a long career with various bands since the early ’80s. LARRY BLACKBURN/Keys Weekly

“When those lights go down and we all walk up those steps to the stage and hear that crowd roar, it’s a real rush to the head,” Barnes said. “It feels like we’re getting ready to strap ourselves in and it just takes off from there.”

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Mandy Miles drops stuff, breaks things and falls down more than any adult should. She's married to a saintly — and handy — fisherman, and has been stringing words together in Key West since 1998.