The old Ferrero Rocher TV ads used to have the line “Why, Ambassador, you spoil us” – and this could certainly apply to the mighty Y&T playing at our little Tivoli venue in Buckley.
The ‘Tiv’ as it’s colloquially known pulled off a real coup in getting one of America’s finest rock bands to play there and the size and enthusiasm of the crowd that packed in to what is hardly the biggest of venues definitely justified their efforts.
Y&T are something of an enigma. They are, and always have been, the musical equals of the top American hard-rocking bands such as Kiss, Bon Jovi, Motley Crue, et al – many, including myself, would say better – yet for some unknown reason they never hit paydirt in quite the same way.
That’s not to say they’ve not had a great career; ten studio albums, four live sets and a number of compilations shows otherwise – plus they’ve played Donington for Chrissakes – yet they’ve remained stubbornly below the radar of mega-stardom.
They do, however, have a dedicated core following and they were out in force tonight – expecting, and getting, over two hours of non-stop in-your-face rock of the finest quality.
The evening got underway with a spirited and well received set from Staffordshire rockers Lawless, who, as is often the case with support bands, succeeded despite an underwhelming sound system – and a big high-five to them for that.
No such troubles for Y&T however – a top-notch system ensured every note, every power-chord, every lyric was crystal clear as they launched into the full-on sonic assault of set-opener ‘Hurricane’ to immediate crowd acclaim.
Dave Meniketti, with his battered old Gibson Les-Paul, is not only a natural frontman but also a fabulous rock guitarist, a fact demonstrated throughout with searing riffs and astounding soloing that, at one point, had the crowd chanting “one Meniketti, there’s only one Meniketti…”
The rest of the band too are great players – second guitarist John Nymann would walk into any rock band and show them how it’s done, bass player Brad Lang was all tight bass-runs and showmanship and drummer Mike Vanderhule is a top, top sticksman replete with frequent stick twirls and cymbal crossovers.
With no new album to promote, the band mined the treasure trove that is their back-catalogue and it was patently obvious they had a great time doing it – interacting frequently with the crowd, smiling a lot and even going off-piste from the setlist to play a couple of requests from the crowd.
Highlights came thick and fast – the pounding ‘Black Tiger’, the dual guitar attack of ‘Dirty Girl’, the rifferama of ‘Take You To The Limit’, the anthemic ‘Contagious’, the unforgettable riff of ‘Mean Streak’ and, of course, Meniketti’s jaw-dropping, incendiary guitar solo on ‘I Believe In You’.
The whole shebang was a privilege to witness if I’m honest – seeing one of the best rock bands on the planet up-close and personal was a real treat and it’s some time since I witnessed a crowd quite like the Tiv’s, embracing a band so warmly.
Ambassador, you really did spoil us…
Review by Alan Jones
Photos by David Randall
Setlist: Hurricane, L A Rocks, How Long, Black Tiger, Rhythm Or Not, Mean Streak, Lonely Side Of Town, Dirty Girl, Midnight In Tokyo, Take You To The Limit, Cold Day In Hell, I Believe In You, Eyes Of A Stranger, Contagious, I Want Your Money, Summertime Girls, Lipstick And Leather, Rescue Me, I’m Coming Home
Encore: Wind Of Change, Don’t Wanna Lose, Forever
Alan sequences “The Eclectic Mix” on Get Ready to ROCK! Radio, third Sunday of the month at 17:00. Expect some Y&T or Dave Meniketti.
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Power Plays w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
BLOCK BUSTER Losing Gravity (Frontiers)
WATCH ME BREATHE Don’t Think I Haven’t Thought About It (The Label Group/INGrooves)
FIRES OF FREYA Take A Bow (indie)
BLACK STAR RIDERS Underneath The Afterglow (Nuclear Blast)
STOMPIN’ HEAT Shiny Curly Red Hair (indie)
Featured Albums w/c 16 September (Mon-Fri)
09:00-12:00 THE DEFIANTS Zokusho (Frontiers)
12:00-13:00 CORELEONI II (AFM Records)
14:00-16:00 TONY McLOUGHLIN True Native (Fuego)
Albums That Time Forgot (Mon-Fri)
BAD COMPANY Company Of Strangers (1995)
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