The guys in Y&T must have thought they'd made a mistake in their gig schedule. Surely, the UK at the back end of September is pretty wet and miserable as Autumn closes in, but no, Newcastle was basking in the sort of sunshine that you'd expect in the Bahamas ... certainly not in the woolly wilds of Northern England. With temperatures soaring outside, Y&T were set to raise temperatures inside too.
A short opening set by recently reformed UK Melodic Rockers Stampede, featuring the step-father/son combo of Reuben and Laurence Archer, set the night in motion. Although one time UFO six stringer Laurence Archer displayed flashes of inspiration, showing why Phil Mogg snapped him up to fill the huge shoes left by both Michael Schenker and Paul Chapman, the material lacked the consistency to take the band to the next level. The classic "Days Of Wine And Roses" and "Send Me Down An Angel" from their new album did shine through, and set closer "Moving On" with its "Lights Out" style feel did show what the band were capable of delivering. Maybe on another evening they would have made more of an impact.
Y&T on the other hand are seasoned pros who perform to a consistently high standard every night and deliver every time, and this was no exception in Newcastle. Right from the opening notes of "On With The Show", Y&T were on fire ... and for two and quarter hours Dave Meniketti and co. barely paused for breath.
With a set list jam packed full of great songs, powerful vocals, and absolute killer guitar solos, they have a back catalog that many a band would covet. Whether it's the kick ass Rockers ("Open Fire", "Meanstreak"), the classy ballads ("I Believe in You", where Meniketti was simply stunning), the brooding epics ("Winds Of Change") to the gold plated classics ("Rescue Me", "Forever"), or the Pop-encrusted nuggets ("Summertime Girls") ... the pacing of the set was perfect.
Although Y&T covered pretty much all of the crowd favorites that you'd expect and demand to see at a Y&T show, they didn't neglect their hard core fans as a vibrant "Midnight In Tokyo" rubbed shoulders with "Eyes Of A Stranger "and "Don't Stop Runnin'", while the excellent new album Facemelter wasn't ignored either with "I'm Coming Home", dedicated to the people of Newcastle.
Dave Meniketti is the star of the show with a voice that has lost none of its punch or dynamics, and a guitar style that owes as much to a fine grasp of melody as it does to explosive fretwork, a combination that is rare to find in a lead singer/lead guitarist. The loss of band mate Phil Kennemore earlier this year was clearly a blow to Y&T, but Brad Lang is certainly a fine replacement and with John Nymann (guitars) and Mike Vanderhule (drums) the band is in very capable hands.
Y&T as always put on a great performance for the money and it's easy to see why the fans come back year after year in large numbers. Regular touring has not blunted their enthusiasm and there are few bands out there that can match their full force Rock 'n' Roll show, pretty much making this a must see event when they come to your town. With Meniketti hinting at a new album next year, things are looking good for Y&T and their fans.
For more on Y&T visit: www.meniketti.com