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Metal/Prog Metal Concert Reviews

Y&T

Live in Schaumburg, IL, October 2007

Review by Greg Olma

Y&T have never gotten the credit they deserve. They got lumped into the hair metal genre because some record company executive needed to fit them in a category and that happened to be the popular type of rock at the time. They were and always will be just a good ol’ fashioned hard rock band; no gimmicks, just solid playing and songwriting. After not playing the Chicagoland area in many, many years, they finally returned in 2006 and roughly a year later, they came back for another (I believe) sold out show. I saw them both times and they managed to pack the place with many of us die-hard fans who have been waiting many years to finally see our heroes return.

The boys have quite an extensive catalogue to choose from so opener “Contagious” was a nice way to start. They did not play this cut last time around so it was great to see the band change things up. Right off the bat, you can tell that the years of playing live have not weathered them at all. This band was built for the stage with each song taking on a life of its own. Even Dave Meniketti’s voice (he was nursing a cold that night) still sounded great. He has a natural singing style that allowed the years to not affect it. They threw in an odd track next. “Hard Times” is off the often overlooked Ten album. It’s a great tune and was an unexpected addition to the set. Hit single “Don’t Stop Runnin’” was next but the following track “Dirty Girl” from Earthshaker got us older fans going. Many people view Earthshaker as Y&T’s crowning achievement (I like almost everything so I have a tough time agreeing) so the band gave us a rousing live version of that cut among others. More on that later. They came back to the Ten album for “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark.” Seeing those songs live made me pull out those CDs for some new spins. Title track “Mean Streak,” another great tune, seemed a bit lost stuck in the middle of the set. The song needs to either be an opener or an encore. Before going into “fan request time,” Y&T gave us a couple of track from In Rock We Trust; namely “I’ll Keep On Believin’” and “Masters And Slaves” along with “Winds Of Change.”

Now, most bands don’t possess the musical chops or the guts to take requests but that doesn’t stop Dave and the boys. The first request was “Game Playing Woman” from the Yesterday And Today record. They got through about half of it before it fell apart but that was OK. It still showed that they were willing to try and they put in a more than a valiant effort. Next tune “Knock You Out” they were able to pull off in its entirety but the last request “Life, Life, Life” got a little truncated after only the first verse and chorus. It was great to see a band have fun with this part of the show. They didn’t take themselves seriously and tried to give the die-hard fans the ability to see some of their favorites live.

After the request, the band went all the way back to the beginning again for “Beautiful Dreamer” off the first LP. It’s moments like that that give you just a sense of how many great tunes Y&T have to choose from. “Barroom Boogie” was played before they went into crowd favorite “Midnight In Tokyo.” Jeff Scott Soto just happened to be in town and joined the band on that track. Although his voice cracked once or twice, he did a good job considering there was no practice beforehand. The set closed with “Eyes Of A Stranger” and “Forever.”

Always willing to come back for more, the band returned and we got an additional four songs. I couldn’t believe it when they kept going and going. I thought we might get one or two tunes but they just kept playing more. They started with “Rescue You” and then went into “Hurricane.” “Summertime Girls” was next but it is a little pop metal for me but the crowd loved every second. To end the night, they finished with the Dave Meniketti showpiece “I Believe In You.” Since many people like Earthshaker so much, they band was willing to give the fans what they want by playing a good chunk of that record; mostly during the encore.

I’ve only really mentioned Dave Meniketti so far but the rest of the band are no mere sidemen. Phil Kennemore, the other original member, held down a solid beat along with newest member Mike Vanderhule (drums). John Nymann is the perfect foil for Dave and both of them play off each other. The whole band acts like a well oiled machine. If you have seen Y&T before, you know they are great live, but don’t be afraid to go see them again. I have seen them these last two years and the set lists have been radically different. If you have never seen them, you owe it to yourself to see this band.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2007 Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.
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