I typically cringe when someone says a band is “underrated”. In most cases it really just means the person saying it really likes a band that didn’t become Bon Jovi. I really like Black N Blue. For someone like me their first three records are a must for your collection. But I have no problem understanding why they never became as big as Ratt or Motley Crue. So when someone starts to explain to me how underrated they are my body starts to seize as the motor cortex struggles to control my left frontal lobes frustration (yeah, I looked that up).
But Y & T always seemed underrated to me. My first exposure was MTV playing the “Don’t Stop Running” video. The song aroused me just short of a happy ending and to this day I think that is one of the best songs of that era. Plus it’s off the great album In Rock We Trust. Why they never reached that next level of even Dokken success is beyond me. I’ve actually come up with theories on the topic. From the ridiculous (Dave wasn’t blond) to the more likely (A&M sucked). So whether it was because they had a fairly silly robot for a mascot or that their logo was too similar to the logo of their record company, Y&T never broke as big as I feel they should have. And I’m kinda an expert.
It’s because of that I feel lucky that I got to see them on a Tuesday night in Minnesota 30 years after their music video gave me an erection (I was 13 so there’s a pretty good chance I had an erection anyway but lets give Dave the credit.) And it would be my first time seeing them. And a packed house to boot.
For the longest time, Y&T centered around Dave Meniketti and Phil Kennemore. Sadly in 2011 Phil passed of lung cancer. So while a little disappointed I wouldn’t see him tonight I am glad Dave is keeping the band and the music going as this lineup has been together since 2010. I was still quite excited to see one of my favorite singers and one of the best guitar players from the 80’s for the first time. Don’t let me down Dave.
First let me say how good Dave looked. Of course, the eyes show the years but aside from that I saw a man who was vibrant and stilled enjoyed playing rock ‘n’ roll and engaging the crowd. And aside from the two people in front of me who took so many selfies Kim Kardashian told em’ to give it a rest, the crowd was incredible. Loud all night long. I honestly haven’t seen this type of crowd for a band at this venue. I don’t mean that as a shot at other crowds but as a compliment to this one. This was an educated Y&T audience who knew every song. Good thing as Dave dug deep leaving out hits like “Don’t Be Afraid Of The Dark” and “Rock & Roll’s Gonna Save The World” for songs like “Dirty Girl” and “Hurricane”. They even dusted off “Cold Day In Hell” from the much maligned Musically Incorrect album.
I gotta be honest. When I heard Y&T were playing Pickle Park on a Tuesday I expected a pretty empty room. That cost me. We only showed up an hour and a half before show time and weren’t able to get a table to set up on. So while I had to shoulder a camera bag all night at least it kept me up front for one of the best straight up rock shows I’ve seen in some time. We may all be older but the rock keeps us young. Dave and the band were tighter than George Costanza calculating a tip. Between songs Dave spoke to audience with a looseness that comes with experience and age. He joked about needing stage lighting to avoid making mistakes but for my money none were made this night. The rock is strong in this one. Two and a half hours strong. He also felt a need to point out that Y&T isn’t partaking in the all too common trend of piping in backing tracks. So while he jokes about mistakes he’s clearly aware how good they sound. Keep going Dave. Rock needs you.
I’d be remiss not to mention that the promoter for this show was John Weidemann. He is responsible for so many great rock shows from bands in and coming to the Twin Cities. Every city needs a Johnny Rock to keep the spirit alive. And Pickle Park is quickly becoming my favorite venue for bands of the Y&T ilk as they have Red Dragon Cartel, Girlschool, and Lynch Mob coming this summer. I may be busy.
Y&T Pickle Park, Fridley, MN.
May, 12th. 2015
Midnight In Tokyo
Cold Day In Hell
Eyes Of A Stranger
All American Boy
I Want Your Money
Don’t Stop Running
I’m Coming Home