Recently I made my back up to New York City, someplace I haven’t been in nearly four years. I was at a club called City Winery, a sit-down type of specialty wine joint. So what the hell was a savage like me doing there? Good question. As it turns out Y&T were playing in what I could only describe as NOT a place for a raucous, rockin’ show like the one this band puts on. But, it was a chance to see my friend Joe for the first time in years and show him what was missing from his life…Y&T live. Due to many traffic and train snafus I actually wound up being late and missed first song “Open Fire” but hey, we still had 20 more, so no harm done.
As someone who only became indoctrinated into the Y&T experience in Dallas just over a year ago I found myself once again smiling big at the sound…that SOUND.
Dave Meniketti’s voice was in fine form and the guitar work of him and fellow axe man John Nymann washed over everyone as the band tore through “Black Tiger”, “Dirty Girl”, and “Mean Streak”. Mike Vanderhule (drums) and Brad Lang (bass) anchored the rhythm and kept things tight, tight, and tight while also singing back-up. The whole band does, thus adding to the richness of their live sound.
Two amazing highlights were “Midnight in Tokyo” but this time Dave started it out by himself before the guys kicked into it. I thought that was really cool, and something you don’t see every day. The second thing was a white-hot version of “I Believe in You”. Catch this one live and tell me that Dave Meniketti’s name shouldn’t be mentioned on lists as one of the single greatest soloists of all time.
“Rock and Roll’s Gonna Save the World’ was kickass, but nothing had me singing and screaming along louder than “Don’t Stop Runnin’” my absolute favorite from the guys. The riff and chorus are designed for maximum rockage which I did to the best of my ability. Remember this was my fifth show in seven days so I can’t go as hard as I used to!
“I Want Your Money” is always killer too, and lyrically it’s very much on target. After “All American Boy” we were treated by request to “Lonely Side of Town” another one I can never get enough of, followed by “Contagious” the title track from one of the best records in their catalog. If you don’t own this one already, get yer ass over to iTunes or something and buy it NOW! The regular set closed with “I’m Coming Home” from 2010’s Facemelter, another jewel in the musical crown of Y&T. There are just some magical moments when four guys are all locked in and this song is like that from start to finish. It’s definitely a standout, both in the studio and live.
Of course my night wouldn’t be complete without “Summertime Girls” which kicked off the three-song encore. The harmonies on that tune, man…I don’t even have an adjective to describe them. Younger bands out there should be required to study the live performances of this song and be tested on it! To finally wrap up two hours of riff rock “Hell or High Water” and “Forever” (with that stellar guitar intro) 100% drove the point home that Y&T are the standard by which all other live bands should be measured. If your band doesn’t bring it like these guys every single night, then run on back to rehearsal, boy. During the set I FINALLY got to meet staff photographer Anya in person, and my friend from Virginia, Tara who not only introduced me to Jill Meniketti, the band manager and Dave’s lovely wife, but Mike, John, Brad, and Dave himself after the performance.
Nice, friendly guys, they truly enjoyed talking and taking pictures with everyone after their set, Fanboy me included! What started as a head-scratcher of a gig due to its location wound up being one of the more blazing shows I’ve been to in a long time. Sit-down place,my ass. Everybody was up and moving by the time it was over! Y&T…they do it right. And as I said last year, I cannot stress enough the big, gaping hole that will be left in your life if you fail to catch Y&T on tour, friends. Don’t say I didn’t warn you!
LIVE WORDS: THE MAESTRO
LIVE PHOTOS: ANYA SVIRSKAYA