Edition: 60
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Melkweg (Amsterdam - Netherlands)
European tour 2007

Not even H.G. Wells himself wrote how the sheer force of music enables people to travel back in time. Exhibit A: Y&T. Ever since the late seventies/early eighties, composer/guitarist/singer Dave Meniketti and his band have, in various line-ups, rocked The Netherlands. They played the biggest festivals, earned accolades from major music mags (when that still counted for something) and even got airplay with their energetic brand of old fashioned heavy rock. When, around the millennium year, the band started venturing abroad again, our little country has not been left out of the tour schedule.
On the summerly evening of May 18th, Y&T are appearing at the Melkweg club in Amsterdam, apparently even drawing people from abroad to witness this gig (and no doubt other ones of the Y&T 2007 European tour). Support act SQY, a melodic heavy rock band from the south of The Netherlands, are firing up the crowd tonight and doing a fine job of it too. Although I’m not familiar with their material, the four guys create a party atmosphere fitting the weekend euphoria that’s obviously in da house. One glance at the audience tells me that the 35-years-and-over crowd has shown up in force (people wearing Journey-shirts being a good indication for the demographics here). Still, noteworthy is a surprisingly large number of younger people who have come out to see an old school heavy rock band.
From the moment Phil Kennemore (bass), John Nymann (guitar), Mike Vanderhule (drums) and Dave Meniketti enter the stage to kick off with Hungry for rock, we’re back in a time when 007 was still outwitting the Russians, mail meant a letter with a stamp on it and rock wasn’t sissy boy crap from Manchester. The obvious amount of fun that the four guys are having is at least tripled by the audience: smiles and cheers all around when the band pulls classics like Dirty girl, Rescue me and Mean streak (ah, that main riff, mean as it was back in ‘83!) out of the bag. Impressive is Vanderhule’s powerdrumming, somewhat akin to Vinnie Appice’s: one bass drum, killer snare, loads of groove.
A surprise on the setlist is the ballad This time (played live for the first time in some 20 years) from In rock we trust, with Dave taking his vocals to the next level. Counterpointing the drama of this song is [/i]Barroom boogie[/i], that perennial tale of what happened the night before the morning after. In between, people in the crowd are asking for particular songs to be played, notably Lipstick and leather and Lonely side of town. Dave, being the true entertainer that he is, obliges with a short version of each: about 30 seconds, main riff and chorus. The band are getting back to business with Midnight in Tokyo (sheer brilliance), Hard times, Masters and slaves, Squeeze (with Phil singing and the audience filling in the screams) and the spicy Eyes of a stranger. And let’s not forget the classic to outclassic all classics, Hurricane. If that one doesn’t shake your little piece of earth, I don’t know what will.
The sound is good most of the time, although I’d have preferred Kennemore’s bass toned down a bit and the two guitars more up front in the mix. But that’s just nit-picking. Tonight’s version of I believe in you alone is goosebumps-worthy, with Dave Meniketti pouring his heart and soul into every note. Try playing encores after that!
With a truckload of songs from their back catalogue (of which Earthshaker, Black tiger and Mean streak have recently been reissued as fine remasters with liner notes and a bonus track), Y&T manage to stretch the gig well past the two-hour mark. And the performance level remains impressive throughout - hats off to all four of them. If Y&T play in your area next time, be sure to catch them - the stage dynamics of this highly entertaining band are hard to beat.


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