by Craig Newman
Guest Writer –
April 20, 2012 at the Canyon Club, Agoura Hills, CA.
San Francisco area based hard rock band Y&T rocked Southern California Friday night at the Canyon Club. Dave Meniketti the founder Vocalist and guitarist told the crowd that Black Tiger was released 30 years ago and this the anniversary tour and played songs from that album including, “Hell or High Water,” the ballad “I Believe in You” and “Black Tiger.” Also other fans favorites such as the anthem opening song – “Open Fire,” “Mean Streak,” “Midnight in Tokyo” and “Summer Time Girls.” Also the first new studio album in over 13 years, Face Melter was released during 2010 and Y&T played three songs from that including the first single and video, “I’m Coming Home.”
The show was high energy from beginning to end of the show. The crowd from my generation and younger also were fist pumping singing to the classic songs. The current lineup is: John Nyman- Guitars, Mike Vanderhule- Drums, and Brad Lang- Bass. There was good interaction from the band with audience particularly in venue where both can interact and not separated by barriers as at an arena and stadium setting. Y&T have headlined and opened for other artist such as: DIO, Whitesnake, Motley Crue, Aerosmith, and many more. They blend energy, love ballads, blues and jazz sounds with hard rock ‘n roll. This band has influenced musicians of great rock bands as well as up and coming rock bands for futuregenerations.
Look for Y&T on the MOR (Monsters of Rock) Cruise in 2013.
by Ron and Don Higgins
August 3, 2011 at Riverbend Music Center, Cincinnati, Ohio
Night Ranger’s 30th Anniversary tour rocked through Cincinnati, Ohio recently, opening up for rock and roll heavyweights Foreigner and Journey. Unlike the other bands, Night Ranger still features their original lead singers, bassist Jack Blades and drummer Kelly Keagy, and therefore sound exactly like fans remember from their glory days of the 1980s. Founding member, guitarist Brad Gillis, is still with the band as well and doesn’t appear to have aged a bit, either in appearance or musicianship. He’s as sharp as ever and, if anything, laying down even heavier, rocking licks. Rounding out the band is guitarist Joel Hoekstra, who also plays lead guitar in the Broadway hit “Rock of Ages” and recently toured with TSO, and keyboardist Eric Levy.
The night started out with a quick meet-and-greet with the band. Unfortunately, the meeting was very short since it was held before the show and the band had to hit the stage in 20 minutes. However, it was long enough to spend a few minutes chatting with the guys, thanking Brad for the phone interview conducted the day before (transcription coming soon!) and getting the band to autograph the cover of their awesome debut album Dawn Patrol.
Once the meet-and-greet was over, there was just enough time to head back to the front office, grab a photo pass and head right back down to the front of the stage to take some pictures of their killer set. Interestingly, they kicked off their set with “Lay It On Me” from their new album Somewhere in California. It was a bold choice given its relative obscurity but given that it’s one of the best songs on the album (and the heaviest) it was a great choice. People sometimes forget that Night Ranger, although known for some monster ballads, was formed by Ozzy Osbourne’s ex-guitarist. To read a review of this incredible album (rated 9.25 out of 10 by Hardrock Haven), just click here: http://hardrockhaven.net/online/2011/night-ranger-somewhere-in-california/.
After introducing the crowd to their impressive new music, they switched to familiar territory with their hit ballad “Sing Me Away” from their first album. The crowd joined in on the familiar chorus as they prepared themselves for a long evening of singing along to the soundtrack of their lives. Surprisingly, their third song wasn’t even one of their own songs! It may seem strange for such a well established band to play a cover song when playing such a short set but given that the song was “High Enough”, the massive hit by Jack’s other “supergroup” band Damn Yankees, it’s really not too surprising. This song made it all the way to #3 on Billboard’s Hot 100 back in 1990 so the crowd was certainly familiar with it. More group singing ensued. Playing the vocal part of Tommy Shaw was Kelly and filling the shoes of the Motor City Madman was Brad, who is certainly a capable fill-in for The Nuge.
At the midpoint of their set, they played one of their biggest hits “When You Close Your Eyes” from their platinum selling Midnight Madness. This was followed up by their first big video hit “Don’t Tell Me You Love Me”, which enjoyed heavy rotation on MTV during its early years. Even today it’s hard to hear this song without picturing Jack standing on railroad tracks!
Finally, they played the song everyone was waiting for, their biggest hit “Sister Christian.” This song continues to show up on compilation disks, frequently mislabeled as a “Power Ballad,” and is definitely a fan favorite. Kelly walked out from behind his drum kit with sticks in hand and began leading the crowd as if he were a symphony orchestra conductor. Fortunately, his voice was in fine shape and their rendition of this iconic song didn’t disappoint. Sometimes his voice can be a little shaky due to overuse from singing night after night but on this night he sounded perfect. At this point, the crowd was in a state of rock and roll bliss and fully ready to welcome the night’s next to acts. However, Night Ranger weren’t quite finished yet. A stage hand brought out a large American flag and, joining in the patriotic spirit, both Brad and Joel played red, white and blue guitars as they finished up their set with their popular rocker, “(You Can Still) Rock in America.”
Overall, they put on a high energy show, they looked great, they played great, and they sounded great. Just as important, they appeared to really be having fun on stage. This is a band that is celebrating their 30th anniversary and yet they played with the swagger and vigor of guys half their age. They’ve been around the proverbial block and are clearly happy with the current state of their careers in 2011. They could spend all of their time looking backwards but instead seem to be more interested with enjoying the present and moving into the future with their best new material in years.
The only downside to their show was the short set list. With three bands, the opening act is always going to have a limited set but as well as they were playing it would’ve been nice to hear them play more. Only getting to hear them tear through seven awesome songs merely whets the appetite to see them play a full show. If you get a chance to see them on this current tour with legendary acts like Foreigner and Journey, run, don’t walk to your nearest ticket agent. After all, you can see these three amazing bands for as cheap as $30, which is an incredible deal. On this particular summer night, it was nice to see that three classic bands could still pull in nearly 20,000 fans and prove that you CAN still rock in America!