Y&T: On With the Show (hereafter simply referred to as “On With the Show”) is narrated by Eddie Trunk. The film was funded by a Kickstarter campaign; and features interview with past and present members of Y&T, friends and family of band members, and other musicians; including (but not limited to) Don Dokken, Eric Martin, Michael Anthony, Steve “Lips” Kudlow, Robb Reiner, Max Norman, Chris Tsangarides, and Sammy Hagar.
Yesterday and Today started in the 1970s in the Bay Area; and the group rose to a strong local following in their heyday; with the band eventually shortening their name to Y&T and taking on the world; including Japan and Europe. The band’s popularity seemed to be on an endless rise; but despite their best efforts, the group never reached the same mainstream popularity as many of their peers. Why, despite the band’s great promise, do they remain frustratingly overlooked by so many? With plenty of archival footage and new interviews, the film takes a look at the band’s career.
It seems like in the last few years, a lot of rock artists have gotten documentaries. As a fan of these artists, this fan could be happier. Y&T was certainly a band befitting of this honor; as due to their nature of often being overlooked, it was high time to tell their story. A Kickstarter crowdfunding project was launched to raise money for the movie; but many fans were infuriated by the fact that the filmmaking process ended up taking far longer than expected. It’s taken well over four years; but On With the Show is finally here, and this fan is certainly impressed with the end result. Longtime followers of the band will love what they see and hear here; as the final product does the band justice.
Labor of love
The movie is certainly a labor of love; and you can tell the filmmakers adore the band, letting past and present members alike tell their story. As the movie took so long to complete due to the various complications and procedures involved in making a film; many classic members of the group have died since its completion, so seeing their extensive interview clips here is bittersweet. It’s especially impressive when you see the efforts the creators went to in order to secure rare archival footage and the volume of people covered here for interview spots. From Don Dokken to Sammy Hagar, it’s an impressive who’s who, to say the least.
At no point does this movie feel like a rush job. The fact the filmmakers got Eddie Trunk; a longtime supporter and lover of the band and a respected man in the music world in his own right; to narrate the movie and appear for some of the interview spots, is definitely a plus. After all, this is a man who was in many ways responsible for introducing me to the band (as I was born in 1984; I didn’t grow up with the group’s music the way many fans did).
The Bay Area
The subject matter explored in the movie covers many interesting aspects of the band’s rise as well. Their early genesis as a group in the Bay Area. Getting their earliest record deals. The addictions and bad habits of band members. The blessing and curse of the song “Summertime Girls.” Replacing band members. Struggling to stay afloat in changing musical times. The movie runs for over two hours and is packed with information. And it’s never boring, either. This is the movie fans have been waiting for.
The film gets released on DVD on November 26, with the Blu-ray release following on December 31. For my donation to the Kickstarter (way back in early 2015!) I was sent a 2DVD set; with the first disc featuring the documentary itself, and the second disc including extended interviews covering several topics/band members/etc. The menu designs on the discs is a bit bare-bones, but it gets the job done well enough. Picture quality understandably varies throughout as a result of the assorted quality of the archival footage; but the new interviews look solid.
The main disc with the doc as a series of deleted scenes while the second disc has the majority of the deleted/additional material; however whoever programmed the discs foolishly neglected to include a “Play All” button for the additional material on both discs. Given that it took over four years to complete the documentary; such an oversight is unacceptable, though I don’t think it’ll stop people from exploring and enjoying the footage (with the doc and deleted footage combined, that's nearly five hours of content!)
Check it out if you're a fan!
It’s pleasing to see On With the Show finally released, and it does the band justice and then some. If you’re at all a Y&T fan; be it a casual one who only knows a few tunes, a die-hard lover of the group who owns every album; or you’re just curious about a rock doc on one of the industry’s most underrated bands; you can’t go wrong here. Very highly recommended!
DISCLAIMER: All images in this review are the property of their respective holders, including the band and filmmakers. For promotional use only. All rights reserved.