San Francisco Bay Area rockers Y&T rode into the Catalyst Club on a massive wave that started off a few weeks ago in Hawaii. After dropping in frontside on the tropics of Oahu, they went westward and ollied into a double breaker in Japan, then cut back for the coast of California. Riding the onshore all the way inland to Tracy, CA, their sellout show there propelled them backside westward to the sunny shores Santa Cruz. Time to chill. Ah… But not for too long! This is the start to their 45th anniversary of their inception. Back in 1974 they formed as a four-piece band in Oakland, CA and have been rocking stages ever since. Despite losing now 3 of their original members, lead singer/guitarist Dave Meniketti has kept the torch burning strong. Adding members John Nymann (guitar), Mike Vanderhule (drums), and Aaron Leigh (bass) they are travelling the world starting it off in the US.
The classic rock band Y&T dazzles fans every night they play. Talking to fans and reading social media postings, they all know Y&T is not a band that “phones it in”. Y&T plays 2 to 2-1/2 hour shows every night, with only a momentary break. On Saturday night Meniketti never left the stage when the others ducked out for a minute or two. Of course, he’d slow it down to talk to the audience, relaying a joke or a story, the crowd hanging on every word. It’s great to hear stories from heroes of yours. And after 45 years of touring and making music, he has a lot of them to tell!
Meniketti mentioned that the night, and perhaps the tour, would be a little different from those before. He told us all that they would be playing songs from every studio album, including those that didn’t get a lot of “air-time”. A musical retrospective of sorts. And with that he continued on with their 23 song set with the rarely heard “Come in from the Rain” off the album ‘Ten’. A few others like that were “Face Like an Angel”, “Earthshaker”, and “21st Century”. As with most Y&T shows, and what band doesn’t, they played the hits. The songs that made them and keep them famous in places like Japan are “Black Tiger” and “Midnight in Tokyo”. Those that keep them famous elsewhere may be songs like “Summertime Girl” and “Hang ‘Em High”. However, the one that really hit everyone on Saturday night was their 1981 7-minute power-ballad “I Believe in You”. Meniketti and the boys probably stretched it out to 10 minutes, and could have gone another 10 because the crowd was grooving to and loving that song like it was their own. They’ve probably played that song over 500 times since it debuted on the ‘Earthshaker’ album, yet it never sounded finer than that night. And even though the crowd was already standing, they still gave the guys a “Standing O” with an extended round of heartfelt love.
As the band took a moment near the end of the set to “refresh themselves”, Dave asked the audience almost rhetorically “What should we play now?” He listened to a few in the front, though, and took the suggestion of “Dirty Girl” to start off their last 30 minutes. Still sounding tight and voice in great shape, Dave set off on one of the crowd’s favorite tunes. Not many turned away at the late hour of 11 p.m. so there were plenty of fists pumping in the air and singing to spur the band on. They finished with enough firepower to melt everyone’s face off with “Open Fire” and the classic “Forever”. The last tune is probably their first song I ever heard, and still resonates with fans far and wide. Another power-ballad, “Forever” lulls the audience in with Meniketti’s bluesy riffs, then much like a Black Tiger, it strikes with it’s energy, attacking you with the heavy rock n’ roll teeth and claws it was hiding just below the forest floor. It gets me every time!
Y&T heads out on it’s nationwide tour in week or so starting in Las Vegas, then across the south towards Florida where it with embark on the week-long rock and roll cruise, aptly named “Monsters of Rock Cruise”. They’ll be making their way around the US, returning to California in April. If you have a chance to catch them in your area, don’t miss these hard rock heavies! They are sure to blow you away.
Lonely Side of Town
Don’t Stop Runnin’
Come in From the Rain
Midnight in Tokyo
Face Like an Angel
I Want Your Money
I Believe in You
Hang ’em High
I’ll Cry for You
I’m Coming Home
Sail on By
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