Y&T (Live)

at Rockland, Sala, Sweden, Saturday September 6, 2008

Prior to 2003, when Y&T visited Sweden Rock Festival for the first time, the band had never, since its original 1974 inception, visited Sweden. However, the reception turned out greater than expected, and Y&T can be seen as trying to make up for lost time since then; the two gigs at Rockland in Sala in 2008 marks the band’s fourth visit to Sweden in the last five years. The last time Y&T visited, the venue turned out a great success, with a sold out crowd. Thus, the visit this time around, was upped to two nights, which is a slight brave move considering Y&T are touring on old merits still – the last offering consisting of new original material was released eleven years ago.

L Still, it’s mainly the old classics that draw people to a band like Y&T. And that’s mostly what the crowd is served too, something which is expected of course. However, the choice of songs performed is at times not as expected; unlike most other veteran acts this band varies itself and gives a fairly spontaneous impression. They are also quite generous, with a playing time of what turns out to be three hours on this Saturday night.

Taking to the stage with “Hurricane”, only one of several songs off 1981’s Earthshaker, a release that has often been argued as their best, it is evident from the start that the band is clearly enjoying themselves, and the audience are too.

L Being a Saturday night, and the first of the two gigs, the venue is jam packed, with many in attendance not exactly sober to boot. This, of course, further magnifies the chants of “Y…and…T!” and the memorable melodic stance off much of the group’s material seems tailor made for the live environment. Main man Dave Meniketti often seems to delve into his own world as he pulls out the very Bluesy guitar solos of his, while his band mates use this time making faces at each other, when they’re not singing along to the harmonies along with Meniketti where needed.

L The majority of songs performed are pulled from the band’s first three releases under the shortened Y&T moniker; Earthshaker, Black Tiger and Meanstreak, but a total of five songs of the group’s final (until resurrected, that is) Ten release being played over the course of two nights comes as a bit of a surprise – even though it was a stronger album than it’s two previous counterparts, it’s not widely considered to represent the classic era of the band either.

L The band also sneak in mid-90’s material with the likes of “Fly Away” and “Pretty Prison” of the 1995 Musically Incorrect release, where the former starts off slow and evolves into a Jimi Hendrix-influenced piece, and the latter including a spot where drummer Mike Vanderhule can stretch out his chops. Speaking of which; second guitarist John Nymann gets to perform an extended solo during the lead in to the band’s biggest hit “Summertime Girls”, and Meniketti’s ever long time band partner, bassist Phil Kennemore delivers his lead vocal as always during “Squeeze”.

L Meniketti points out that crowd’s usually aren’t as receptive to the group’s latter material probably because they haven’t heard it. Although this is likely one reason, these songs are also more laid back and not as immediate as the classic Hard Rock that the band is renowned for. Naturally, the likes of “Rescue Me”, “I Believe In You” and “Midnight In Tokyo” are made of the craft that offers a spark and a response in people, and forever what Y&T are loved for, and generates a successful, sweaty gig for the band and audience alike to this day.

L As the band returns to the stage for a second encore, much of the crowd can be forgiven for having left already. After all, music was being played at the bar and Y&T had played for over two and a half hours already. Those who had stayed however, got treated to “Open Fire” and the rather obscure Contagious tune “Eyes Of A Stranger”. Conclusion; Y&T is still “Hungry For Rock”, indeed.

Click here to read the review of the second show.


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