One of the best hard rock bands of the ’80s, this MetalTalk writer was immediately hooked when the late, great Tommy Vance first played Y&T on The Friday Rock Show. Whilst they were superb on record, it was onstage that they shone the brightest and having caught them opening for AC/DC at Wembley, at Monsters Of Rock in 1984 (without a doubt THE line-up), and several other times, it is not an understatement to say they were phenomenal.
Y&T – Yesterday and Today Live (Metal Blade Records)
Release Date: Out Now
Words: Paul Monkhouse
Dug out from the archives, this recording sees the band at the height of their powers, the set a tour de force by the San Francisco Metalheads that oozed class and power.
Led by frontman and guitarist Dave Meniketti, the quartet were prime purveyors of arena rock that outstripped the Hair Metal era that saw them at the peak of their popularity and had a grit that gave them an authenticity much loved by many, including a young Lars Ulrich.
Whilst the self-titled Yesterday and Today debut of 1976 and sophomore Struck Down two years later were solid albums, it was 1981’s Earthshaker that really kicked down the doors and saw the outfit trim down their moniker to the less unwieldy Y&T.
From that moment, they hit a really sweet spot. The following Black Tiger, Mean Streak and In Rock We Trust releases were a run of four storming slabs of Metal. Whilst the flashier Van Halen became global megastars, things never really took off in the way they should have for Y&T, despite their material being arguably much more consistent that Eddie and Co were able to produce.
Yesterday And Today Live is a great starter for those new to the band and a glorious reminder of just how good they were to the many who have lost touch with them over the intervening years. Mean Streak and Hurricane are breathlessly propulsive hard rockers to open with. The rocket-fuelled riffs and Meniketti’s distinctive voice are instantly addictive.
The almost pop melodies and backing vocals of Don’t Stop Runnin’ and a slow-burning Struck Down that taps into Aerosmith and Led Zeppelin’s light and shade show there was depth here, and the big bluesy Winds Of Change was like Whitesnake but with bigger balls.
Still playing a lot of these numbers today during their marathon two-and-a-half-hour sets speaks volumes about the quality of the writing and the seemingly boundless energy displayed.
Classic fan favourite Black Tiger is still as ferocious as ever, and Squeeze, featuring late bass player Phil Kennemore on vocals, is a feral rock ‘n’ roller that wastes not a single note.
From the Thunder-like Hard Times and stately instrumental I’ll Cry, it’s a roller coaster of emotions, the classic ballad I Believe in You, and the wrecking ball of closer Rescue Me seal the deal.
Y&T were hugely popular but should have been globally massive, and here you can hear why.
For more details, visit https://www.metalblade.com/yandt/.
With the passing of Kennemore, Haze, and Alves, it‘s Meniketti who carries on the legacy that is Y&T. Y&T continues to tour the world, featuring the dynamic original frontman Dave Meniketti (lead guitar/lead vocals), John Nymann (guitar/vocals), Aaron Leigh (bass/vocals), and Mike Vanderhule (drums/vocals).