Y & T – Live at The Mystic

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Review by Paul H Birch

Celebrating the 30th anniversary of Y&T’s breakthrough Earth Shaker album, this double-live CD recorded over two nights at The Mystic Theatre in California in November 2011 rocks like a monster pretty much from start to finish.

‘Prelude’ sets the scene for ‘On With the Show’ to blast off with a galloping bass line and naggingly urgent guitars like some long lost Iron Maiden track, slowing the pace down only for ‘Black Tiger’ to prowl with menace, persistently crashing cymbals and Dave Meniketti giving Sammy Hagar a run for his money in the vocal stakes. Sleazy strip-joint guitar riffs take over for aptly named songs like ‘Dirty Girl’ and ‘Girl Crazy’, whereas guitar-chugging verses, schizoid riffs and rugged vocal harmony choruses are the name of the game with tracks such as ‘Mean Streak’ and ‘Blind Patriot’.  ‘I’m Coming Home’ is the heavy metal version of ‘Tie a Yellow Ribbon’ and ‘Hungry for Rock’ has UFO smeared all over it. With rare exception, guitarists John Nymann and Meniketti wail out fluidly, duelling and weaving their way through the rock. But as much as these guys like to play, for those unfamiliar with the songs, listening might become a chore. By the second CD they’re just into their stride. ‘Hurricane’ is Deep Purple’s ‘Stormbringer’ with an attitude problem; ‘I Believe in You’ is ten minutes of Bic-waving power balladry that doesn’t go on a moment too long, and ‘Forever’ ends the show at as fast and frantic a pace as this whole thing began.

Y&T originally formed in the early 70s where the previous decade’s live circuit improvisational soloing had become a way of life, but being young back then they also developed the new hard rock sound that American bands like Montrose and early Starz were offering. While never reaching mega-stardom, over four million records sales is still good business and their years of road experience hasn’t daunted their enthusiasm because there are several tracks on this collection taken from new studio set Facemelter on this that hold their own against their fans’ classics.

If you’re a Y&T fan then you’ll already have this; if you want to hear some good solid classic hard rock try and give more than a couple of tracks a listen. 22 songs is a lot to take in. It’s raw, loud, sometimes brutal but never lacking conviction. Even if you ended up not liking Live at The Mystic, that’s something you couldn’t deny.

7 out of 10

Track Listing CD1:

  1. Prelude
  2. On With the Show
  3. Y&TLiveBlack Tiger
  4. Dirty Girl
  5. Mean Streak
  6. Girl Crazy
  7. Shine On
  8. Blind Patriot
  9. Winds of Change
  10. Straight Thru the Heart
  11. Gonna Go Blind
  12. Surrender
  13. I’m Coming Home

Track Listing CD2:

  1. Hungry for Rock
  2. Don’t Wanna Lose
  3. Don’t Bring Me Down
  4. Hurricane
  5. I Believe in You
  6. Eyes of a Stranger
  7. Rescue Me
  8. Squeeze
  9. Forever