Y&T Live at Vamp’d- Las Vegas- Friday, 14, March, 2014.
When it comes to classic hard rock, no band beats Y&T. Led by Dave Meniketti, one of rock’s most endearing and underrated frontmen, these guys have been going strong for four decades. Starting out in the Bay Area in the 1970s under the name Yesterday and Today (and having released two albums under that early moniker), the group gained moderate commercial success in the mid 1980s with hits like Summertime Girls, Don’t Stop Runnin’, and Mean Streak. Mainstream success has largely eluded the band, compared to many of their contemporaries, but that has not stopped them from pushing forward and continuing to make music. Their latest studio effort, Facemelter, was released in 2010. It would be the last to feature classic bassist Phil Kennemore, who passed away from cancer the following year.
Taylor with bassist Brad Lang
While more recent tours from the quartet have revolved around celebrating the anniversaries of some of their classic 80s albums, this is a “greatest hits” tour of sorts, celebrating the band’s four decades together. Dave Meniketti remains the band’s only enduring member from the “classic” period, with the latest incarnation including drummer Mike Vanderhule, guitarist John Nymann (who actually did some session work on older albums for the band), and bassist Brad Lang. The first release from this incarnation of the band was a live album, Live at the Mystic, released in 2012.
This was my third time seeing a Y&T show and I can safely say that the guys never fail to please. Vamp’d is jammed to the gills every time they play the venue, and rightfully so; they kick ass! The setlist is one of the best I have ever seen from the band, combining the band’s biggest hits with a number of oft-forgotten deep cuts as well, including songs from the Yesterday and Today period! You could tell the band was having a great time on stage, as was everyone in the audience – this was a packed house! Not a dull moment in the entire set. When these guys play a show, the audience is won over every time. Dave Meniketti, even all these years playing with the band, remains that rare man that beautifully combines the roles of lead guitarist and lead vocalist; how many men can you say that about?
If I have one minor complaint with the setlist it was a few omissions of songs. Since this is the 30th anniversary of the In Rock We Trust record, it was disappointing to miss out on one of the biggest hits and best songs from that album, Rock and Roll’s Gonna Save the World. Beautiful Dreamer from the Yesterday and Today period would also have been a nice inclusion. But these are minuscule flaws in an excellent show, and are barely worth mentioning.
Once again, Y&T has delivered, and then some. The quartet is still going strong, kicking ass all around the world. Hopefully we will be getting a new studio record from the group in the near future. In the meantime, if they visit your corner of the world, go and see them play. No fan of classic hard rock will be disappointed!
Photos of Taylor Carlson with bassist Brad Lang and guitarist John Nymann - ©2014 Taylor Carlson and ZRockR Magazine
Y&T photos © Y&T