Reviewed by Paul Quinton
Tyketto have followed up their ‘Strength in Numbers’ 25th anniversary tour with a live album, to be released on Frontiers on November 8th, and launched the new record with two shows in the UK, this one in Nuneaton, and the following night at the Corporation in Sheffield. The shows took a slightly unusual form, each ticket holder being given an advance copy of the album, the band played a 90-minute show, then time was set aside for a meet and greet, with the band being able to spend a lot of time chatting, signing CDs and all the other things that happen on these occasions. There were also some of the band’s early demos played over the PA during the Meet and Greet, and I have to say some of these sounded a little too good to be left on the shelf. A little tweaking to bring them up to date and they’d be well worth hearing.
As for the live segment of the show, it wasn’t just a straight run through of the album as on the tour itself, the band mixed the ‘Strength in Numbers’ tracks with both some older favourites and some of their excellent newer songs. After an intro tape that included wolves howling, thunder claps and a suitably menacing voice over, the band entered and began the set with ‘Inherit the Wind’, as on the tour itself, but followed this with the ‘Strength in Numbers’ title track. There was already a terrific atmosphere in the hall, helped by a packed house, and a house PA at full stretch, and the band seemed to feed off that, Michael Clayton was so pumped up he’d dislodged part of his kit by midway through the first song, and later even the onstage sound seemed to be feeling the strain when part of became unsteady and threatened to topple onto the drummer during the set.
Even then the intensity seemed to increase as the set went on, ‘Catch my Fall’ in particular turned things up a few notches, although despite the already high intensity of the gig, the band were clearly enjoying themselves as much as the crowd, as when during Greg Smith’s brief bass part in ‘Ain’t That Love’, we were even treated to the spectacle of Danny Vaughn doing a spot of Dad dancing, and in a comparatively looser ‘Why Do You Cry’, he did his best to get the crowd snapping their fingers rather than clapping.
However, if the first two thirds of the set were at a pretty high level, the remainder was something special, including some of the bands most popular and iconic songs and a couple of others that helped take the show up to an even higher place. A thunderous version of ‘Faithless’ can only be described as ‘epic’, causing Michael Clayton’s face to face encounter with part of the PA, ‘Rescue Me’ was an emotional highlight, and a fast and furious ‘Kick Like a Mule’ was probably the fastest the band have ever played in their entire career. ‘Standing Alone’, meanwhile is surely one of the greatest yet lesser known power ballads ever, immaculately sung by Mr Vaughn, whose vocals really do improve with age, and ‘Wings’ would have been a perfect end to a superb set, had Vaughn not announced that they were not going to bother with the traditional encore as everyone knew what song they were going to play anyway, and so the band turned everything up to 11 and completely finished the crowd off with a magnificent ‘Forever Young’, which ended a set that was as good as it gets.
Tyketto are one of that group of bands I’ve been lucky enough to see a few times, and they’re also one of the even smaller group that I’ve never seen play a bad show, and even by their standards, this was a little special. They’re back in the UK next summer where they’ve just been confirmed for the Stonedead Festival, and it’s quite possible they’ll play some other shows around that appearance. If you get the chance, do yourself a favour and see them, shows like this are why a lot of people got into live rock music in the first place, because this was just outstanding.