Y&T (45th Anniversary Tour)

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Y&T - Picturedrome, Holmfirth (UK) - 10 November 2019

Following the disappointing turnout at The Birdwell Venue for Age Of Reflection twenty-four hours earlier, it was a welcome relief to see the Holmfirth Picturedrome packed to the rafters; testament to the endurance of the band that first emerged from the Bay Area of San Francisco way back in 1974.

Tonight was the last night of a two-month European tour celebrating the band's 45th anniversary. We were treated to a mammoth twenty-five song set; at least one track from every studio album, including several deep cut gems. If you look up the definition of Melodic Hard Rock, then you should see a picture of Y&T.

The atmosphere was electric as the group hit the stage and opened with 'Hurricane'. Dave Meniketti sounding better than ever, augmented by a perfect sound and mix. The harmonies and backing vocals, courtesy of guitarist John Nymann, bassist Aaron Leigh and drummer Mike Vanherhule (who, from a distance, bears a striking resemblance to ex-Toto singer Bobby Kimball) were superb for 'Lonely Side Of Town' and 'Don't Stop Running'.

The rarely played live 'Come In From The Rain' from the much underrated 'Ten' opus, was dedicated to their former soundman, Tom Size, who sadly passed away three years ago. The deeper cuts were interspersed between the classics like 'Black Tiger', 'Mean Streak' and 'Midnight In Tokyo'. Meniketti told the Holmfirth crowd that the Japanese fans sing the guitar parts to the latter, and encouraged us to do the same as it might appear on a future live recording; however, I don't think that the Northern twang will make any future releases!

On the strength of the backing vocals from the current band members 'Face Like An Angel' from 1985's 'Down For The Count' was added to the set, as was the excellent 'Anytime At All' (from the same album) at the bequest of Nymann.

Surprisingly, for a band that has been in existence for so long, there have not been that many past members. Sadly, other than Meniketti, the other original members (bassist Phil Kennemore, drummer Leonard Haze and rhythm guitarist Joey Alves) are no longer with us. Each evening the earliest songs 'Earthshaker' (1976) and 'Strip Down' (1978) are dedicated to these fondly remembered musicians. They are not the strongest numbers in the set; however, you can hear the distinct Y&T sound that developed over the years.

Meniketti introduced 'I Believe In You' as one of the band's favourites; it is without doubt, also one of the fans most-loved songs. Anyone who has ever read one of my reviews knows that I like to quote, "worth the admission price alone", and this was that moment. Not surprisingly the crowd gave Y&T, and in particular Meniketti, a rousing sixty second-plus ovation. Most bands would have finished their set on a number this good, but Y&T are not most bands. 'Hang 'Em High', 'Contagious' and 'Summertime Girls' kept up the momentum, whilst 'Rescue Me' took the proverbial roof off the Picturedrome. The main set was brought to a conclusion with 'I'm Going Home' from the last studio album 'Facemelter', which is unbelievably nine years old now!

The four musicians briefly left the stage and returned with 'Sail On By', from 1997's 'Endangered Species'. Meniketti then said he was asked why a certain song was omitted from their sets. He rebuked, "Have you ever been to a Y&T show? Then joked, "As it's getting near the festive season. Chestnuts roasting on an 'Open Fire'!" The crowd went delirious.

Meniketti then started to take requests from the audience. My shout for 'Surrender' was not heard from behind the mixing desk, but we did get part of 'Don't Wanna Lose You' and the tongue-in-cheek 'Barroom Boogie'. Had it not been for the looming 11.00pm curfew, I'm sure we would have had many more Y&T classics. Meniketti reassured the Holmfirth staff that they would be finished on time and there was no need to pull the plug. The lighting guy, with an obvious sense of humour, killed the lights at this stage to much hilarity. Fortunately, the lights were soon back on for the final song of the evening, and one of my all-time favourites, 'Forever' (I have broken many a string on my air guitar listening to this classic).

Hopefully, Y&T will return to theses shores in 2020 as they head towards their half century anniversary, where I won't be surprised if we don't get a three hour show.

Setlist: Hurricane / Lonely Side Of Town / Don't Stop Running / Black Tiger / Come In From The Rain / Mean Streak / Midnight In Tokyo / Face Like An Angel / Anytime At All
Earthshaker / Strip Down / I Want Your Money / I Believe In You / Hang 'em High / Twenty-first Century / Contagious / Summertime Girls / Rescue Me / I'm Going Home
Encore: Sail On By / Open Fire / Don't Wanna Lose You / Barroom Boogie / Forever

Review and photos by Mark Donnelly

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