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Y&T/Keel, 02 Academy London, 7 November 2009

Ron Keel, photo by Andy Nathan

Andy Nathan writes:

An opportunity to see Ron Keel for the first time in the UK since his eponymous band supported Dio in 1986. Looking like a seventies porn star, and coming on stage at the early hour of 6.45pm with just a guitar and effects pedal, the odds were against him, but he was a revelation!

His vocals on 'Paralysed' seemed a bit over the top for the acoustic format, but in a thoroughly enjoyable set he took the crowd through a brief history of his career, from Steeler (Serenade) to Keel (their cover of Because the Night and Tears of Fire, an archetypal eighties power ballad!) to his more country rock days and a cover of Shooting Star.

Despite the fact the floor was barely starting to fill up, he managed to get a couple of singalongs going. He also reminded us that Keel had just reformed and previewed a song from their forthcoming album. They were not everyone’s cup of tea back in the day but on this evidence he is a great showman and their return is one to look forward to in 2010!

Y&T, photo by Mark Taylor

Mark Taylor writes:

It's great to go to a gig on a Saturday night with no work in the morning, but it can be a hindrance sometimes when the venue later turns into a nightclub, meaning it's an early curfew, so with headliners Y&T coming on stage at 7.45pm meant that some fans missed the beginning of the show unaware of the early start whilst sipping their pints around the corner in the nearest boozer or being stuck on the London Underground network with it's notorious engineering weekend works.

Every time I've seen the San Jose rockers they have always delivered a show with panache and tonight was no exception giving the fans a full two hour set comprising tracks mainly drawn from the 80's,the height of their popularity.

'Don't Wanna Lose' a single from 'Black Tiger' was the first surprise of the night as I've never seen the band perform this number on previous visits.

The band kept their cool during 'Mean Streak' when the PA broke down and all you could hear was the sound blasting through the band's own on stage monitors.  At first I thought this was part of the act as it broke down right on cue at the beginning of the first chorus, and the audience happily sang along.  The band didn't flinch one bit and carried on like true professionals not missing a beat, whilst raising smiles and giving puzzled looks at each other.

Y&T, photo by Mark Taylor

With the PA quickly restored the band were firing on all cylinders, new boys rhythm guitarist John Nymann and drummer Mike Vanderhule playing like they have been in the band since day one.  Frontman Dave Meniketti has a rich voice and his guitar playing reaches new heights every time I see him perform.

Y&T, photo by Mark Taylor

'I Believe In You' has to be one of the greatest power ballads of all time and gets great applause.  It's at this time that a pretty young blonde next to me keeps on screeching out for 'Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark' a track from the slick 1990 release 'Ten', considering that the band had already performed this number earlier on in the set, I can only assume that she was one of the unfortunates who had arrived late courtesy of London Underground, but screech on she did for the rest of the set.

Ron Keel made a return, sitting down on the drum riser with Meniketti and Nymann as they lauched into the big MTV hit 'Summertime Girls'. Bassist Phil Kennemore took on vocal duties for a joyful 'Squeeze'.

This was the last night of the tour and the roadies came out to air guitar to 'Hell Or High Water'.  One of the roadies made me laugh having ''Wine & Tea'' (Y&T geddit?) scribbled on his back.

Y&T, photo by Mark Taylor

This was yet another excellent performance from the band who surely must deserve a place on the classic rock stage at next year's Download Festival.  They promise to return soon, and are a making a new album too. I never tire of watching Y&T, I could watch them yesterday & today.

Set list: Open Fire / Don't Wanna Lose / Hang 'Em High /Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark / Mean Streak / Dirty Girl / Surrender / Hurricane / I Believe In You / Eyes Of A Stranger / Midnight In Tokyo / Contagious / Summertime Girls / I'll Cry For You / Black Tiger / Squeeze / Hell Or High Water / Forever....Encores...Barroom Boogie / Rescue Me

Reviews by Andy Nathan and Mark Taylor

Photos by Mark Taylor

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