Review by Ritchie Birnie for MPM
Those three letters in Y&T bring back so many memories. I can still remember vividly the first time I heard them…in a friends house in 1980 and he put on Earthshaker and I was blown away.
A few years later I got to see them live on the Black Tiger tour in the Glasgow Apollo and they lived up to every expectation I had and from those days till now Y&T are still one of the best live bands on the circuit.
This recording comes from 1990 just before the band decided to split. The energy, love and pain are all present in this recording and it is a magical piece of history from the archives.
The album opens with “Mean Streak” and this is classic Y&T with the title track from album number five but for me it was album three as I could not get a hold of those two early LPs so for me this was still very fresh and totally 80s. It is a track that shows the quality of a band on fire.
It is followed up closely by that chugging riff and intro guitar brilliance that is “Hurricane” and that is what a Y&T show is all about. It comes fast, furious and it will rock your ass off. Dave Meniketti is sheer perfection on both guitar and vocals. I am in full nostalgia mode and I am loving it.
We slot into “Don’t Stop Runnin’” and this was Y&T trying the MTV formula but it is great to hear this one as it is a bit of a deep cut these days. From there to late 70s with “Struck Down” and with just that opening chugging guitar you could hear where Y&T were going but also that they were as heavy as hell when they wanted to be but all the power and grit is right there and this is a song that 90% of rock bands out there now wish they had written.
This may be an unpopular thought but Y&T’s “Winds of Change” kicks Scorpions butt. This is one hell of a powerful number. “Black Tiger” hits home in a big way as it was the tour I first saw them and that opening is just iconic and this rendition is a beast.
We blast into another giant in “Midnight in Tokyo” and as I revisit these songs again it amazes you just how many incredible songs this band has and as it did at the time, you wonder how the hell they were not massive. From the classic 80s songs we jump back to “Beautiful Dreamer” and the second song they ever wrote and although it has a different vibe this is a mainstay of the live sets to this day so shows it strength in the show.
“Hard Times” seems very poignant as this was a farewell show and the thanks to the crowd on it feels very heartfelt as is the live version here. The slow build up with Dave ripping it up and as we fire into the main part of the song I think of all the times I have sung this with the band and all the hard times I was going through.
To follow hard times you need to get the “Ill Cry” parts out of the way and Dave’s blues guitar intro on this is sublime. A song to slow the night down but not to let up with the intensity as it is beautiful.
Now to a track from that first album I heard and “I Believe in You” is just one of 10 tracks that are all flawless and I am sitting here singing my heart out, sheer perfection. We go from that slow fuse touchpaper to a full on rocker on “Squeeze” and another deep cut but perfectly placed to start hyping a crowd for the finale flurry of songs.
With three songs it is time to get into the big guns and Y&T shone with ballads and fast paced monsters and they do not come better than “Forever”. That staccato barrage from the fretboard and drum kit is adrenalin building just like the chorus.
For the last two songs we go down the bonus route and what a pair we get in “Earthshaker” and “Rescue Me”, two songs written in the 70s and both still sounding super relevant and fantastic to my ears. As much as “Earthshaker” is great for me “Rescue Me” is just one of the best rock songs ever written. I know every guitar flick, every lyric, every heart wrenching note and to this day it has to be one of my most frequently played songs over four decades.
It was great to hear the crowd sing along at the start and I can imagine them all losing their shit as the song flicks over into the full on rocker.
This was the only track to finish out on and it rounds out this album perfectly. I loved this album so much I ordered the vinyl and I cannot wait to crank that up and it goes straight into my live top 10 albums of all time.
Y&T never got the plaudits and fame the likes of Bon Jovi or Def Leppard but they hands down had better songs, better live shows and are still at the top of their game today. A must for Y&T fans, a must for live albums lovers and a must for any would be rocker worth a damn.