Remember Y & T? I asked a few of my friends who like or appreciated 80’s rock and metal and I was floored how many had never heard of them, especially when you consider many of the biggest acts to come out of the 80’s became popular by opening for Y & T, including Metallica and Mötley Crüe.
Well, it’s their loss. I remember it all and so do the many bands and performers you have heard of that say Y & T was a major influence on them, such as Lars Ulrich of Metallica, who stated in the 2009 film “Anvil!: The Story of Anvil” that he chose to become a musician after watching Yesterday & Today (Y & T) perform at a club in L.A. in 1980, saying: “That was the turning point for me wanting to play music…You could tell that they loved what they were doing.” And judging by their performance at the intimate Aladdin Theatre (capacity -620) in Portland, Oregon on Friday, March 16, 2018, they still do.
The band has gone through many lineup changes since the early 70’s, with the lone mainstay from their classic lineup being lead guitarist and singer Dave Meniketti. Sadly former Y & T rhythm guitarist Joey Alves died last year, original drummer Leonard Haze passed away in 2016 and bassist Phil Kennemore died in 2011. I thought about this as Y & T performed “Lonely Side of Town” from the Mean Streak album… “It’s a cold, cold city when you’re out there on your own.”
Backing up Meniketti in Y & T today is rhythm guitarist and backing vocalist John Nymann, bassist Aaron Leigh and drummer Mike Vanderhule. These guys made me think of the Netflex documentary ‘Hired Gun’… they are consummate side players who kill it show after show.
When you are the sole remaining member of a classic band, most of the attention will come your way and Meniketti didn’t disappoint. At age 64, experience matters and his underrated guitar solos rival the greats who have received most of the accolades from that period of music.
The setlist for Portland included opening with “Black Tiger” and METAL SHOP staples “Mean Streak,” “Lipstick & Leather,” and “Contagious.” Checking Setlist.fm, Y & T has mixed it up on this tour, taking requests from the audience that has left some favorite songs out, including “Don’t Stop Runnin'” which they had played only once this year before this show. The bummer was “Midnight In Tokyo” was left out for us.
My cohorts and me left the Y & T show impressed and a bit perplexed this band didn’t receive more widespread acclaim back in the day. It was a great performance by seasoned musicians and left us wanting more.
Y & T returns to their hometown San Francisco, California to play the historic Fillmore on March 24th, then a short break before returning to the road for dates in California and Nevada through the end of April.
Photos courtesy of Mike Koreski.
Count me as an 80’s metal fan that wasn’t overly excited about a Guns N’ Roses reunion tour when it was announced on April 1st of this year (it could have been a joke anyway, right?). Sure, we heard Axl and Slash were talking and supposedly had buried the hatchet, but I had images of a fat Axl and a reluctant Slash getting along just long enough for a major money haul.
The latter may still be true and if it wasn’t for my 17 year old son really wanting to see his new favorite band, I am not sure I would have gone. But after seeing the mostly original GnR lineup (Axl, Slash, Duff) perform in Seattle on Friday, August 12, 2016, I can say I came away impressed with the peformance and I am glad I went.
As expected, there was wait at the t-shirt line, but it went fairly fast compared to other shows we have attended this year. While waiting, we could hear ‘The Pink Slips’, an up and coming synth-pop/punk band, fronted by 18 year old GRAVE (aka, Grace McKagan; daughter of Guns N’ Roses bassist Duff McKagan) playing their opening set. As we made it to our seats, they were followed by one of my personal favorite non-80’s metal bands, Seattle’s own, Alice In Chains, who played a fantastic set, but started so early (7:20pm), most fans had not arrived yet, and as a result, their performance lacked some of the energy you would expect from an AIC show.
The stage was turned for the headliners and anticipation started to set in for real on a warm evening in the Emerald City (about 83 degrees at showtime) when the giant video display began showing various GnR logos as twilight set in.
The reunited Guns N’ Roses looked and sounded great… Axl was fit, Slash is one helluva guitar player and Duff pandered to the Seattle crowd by wearing a Seahawks shirt. They opened with ‘It’s So Easy’ and ‘Mr. Brownstone’, before performing ‘Chinese Democracy’ and then whipping the crowd into a frenzy with ‘Welcome to the Jungle’.
It was a great energetic opening and then the setlist got a little erratic with ‘Double Talkin’ Jive’, ‘Estranged’, ‘Live and Let Die’, and ‘Rocket Queen’. All great songs, but so slow after those first four. Okay I’m being a little picky 🙂 ‘You Could Be Mine’ got the crowd going again, followed by a cover of the Misfits ‘Attitude’. Then came ‘This I Love’, ‘Civil War (with “Voodoo Child” outro)’, Coma, and a long but killer guitar solo from Slash playing the ‘Love Theme from the Godfather’ before launching into ‘Sweet Child O’ Mine’.
The Guns N’ Roses catalog is loaded with some of my favorites of all time, but I was also reminded how many ballads they released. They performed ‘November Rain’ that included a piano intro and exit of Eric Clapton’s ‘Layla’ back to back with ‘Knockin’ on Heaven’s Door’.
They finished the main set with ‘Nightrain’, before returning for encores that included ‘Don’t Cry’ and ‘Paradise City’, complete with great fireworks show that could only be done at an outdoors arena.
The Guns N’ Roses North American ‘Not In This Lifetime’ tour ends August 22nd in San Diego, California after two nights at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles. METAL SHOP’s Ralph Cartel attended the 8/18 show, where he noted “the last time I saw the original Guns N’ Roses was back in 1988 when they opened up for the Rolling Stones at the Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles. I vaguely remember Axl Rose talking shit… saying that if some members of the band didn’t stop dancing with Mr. Brownstone, that the band would break up.”
Axl, Slash and Duff last played together with the original band on the ‘Use Your Illusion tour’ that ended in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on July 17, 1993. There was no public affection between the three of them at the Seattle show, in fact, there was not much banter at all. Axl is still aloof, but his voice is in fine shape and seeing these great musicians together one more time made for a great memory.