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Y&T and the John Zito Band
at Vamp’d Las Vegas 4-3-15

A long, long, time ago on a distant planet called Earth in the year 1974, a band was formed - a band that would stand the test of time and push forward through obstacles, triumphs, lineup changes, and death. Much like the story of the hard rock group, Boston, they overcame, pressed on, and rocked the crowd over the years. Yesterday and Today!

Tonight, this band of survivors razes the stage at Vamp’d in Las Vegas to kick off their North American tour. First up is a local favorite, the John Zito Band - they bring the whiskey, rock n’ roll and heavy blues. Smoking a stogie, John Zito opens his first couple of tunes playing some slide guitar and leaning on the “wah” effect. Just he, his bassist, and drummer filled the room with soul and loads of fun. I was reminded of Izzy Stradlin of early GnR and his solo stuff as I soaked up soul pouring out of John’s music. If you find yourself in Vegas, the John Zito band is playing all the time. They are one of the hard-working bands here in town and will always bring the good times wherever they play.

Our headliner tonight is the crew that would not let the ship sink. Taking the stage with a force so strong it cannot be denied, they crush the crowd with “Hurricane,” then stomping on their stomp boxes, shredding on axes, thumping on bass, and pounding the living daylights out of the drums - Y&T shows the passion and wildness of their brand of Hard Rock.

Shortly into their set, singer/guitarist Dave Meniketti gives the introduction to “Mean Streak.” I set my camera to video as fast as possible in the dark - and about two bars into the song, I’m filming. This is my all time favorite by Y&T. I wore out my cassette on this song! The energy and rowdiness flowed throughout the room as the band played. It’s tough to keep the camera steady when you’re head banging, but I soldiered on. I could have sworn they would play this song last but I’m glad they didn’t; my camera died before the crescendo!

Song after song Y&T laid everything on the table: Blood, sweat, tears, laughter, and gratitude. The place was packed with diehard fans and some who hadn’t seen or heard them, but were there from word of mouth. Case in point, my friend Adrian came down just because I like Y&T. He said the first couple of songs were too “hair metal” for him, but as they played harder tunes, he enjoyed all the more.

As the night progressed, the boys didn’t let up; hitting hard with “25 Hours A Day,” “Dirty Girl,” and “Cold Day in Hell.” Then to bring it down a bit, they played the old favorite ballad “I Believe in You.”

"Y&T shows the passion and wildness of their brand of Hard Rock."

As they ended the song “All American Boy,” Dave introduced the next song, “Barroom Boogie” as John Nymann, the other guitarist, handed out a couple of beers to the fans.

The night was warm, the music was loud, and the band was playing the tunes that I thought I had forgotten but had all came rushing back to my memory. I found myself with my eyes closed swaying to the sounds like my older brother does. I knew right then that I had finally made it “over the hill.”

With Dave belting out the vocals, he and John slashing out the solos, Brad Lang killing on bass, and Mike Vanderhule drumming like a madman, they were the crowd pleasers to end all crowd pleasers. (If that makes any sense.)

For an encore they asked for requests. One guy shouted, “Knock You Out”! Dave replied with an, “OK, but it’s been a long time!” They kick out the jam for a good two minutes and after the solo, it just dive-bombed. Everyone, including the band, had a good laugh at it. Then someone yelled out, “Hang ‘Em High”! This was truly an anthem in the circle I was with in high school. They fired it up and took that song to new heights. This tune is about unity, strength in numbers, and surviving; something that Y&T has always stood for. It’s those beliefs that got me through some dark times.

If you have never heard this band, please go to their site, and purchase something timeless. I suggest “Mean Streak,” “Black Tiger,” and “In Rock We Trust,” then get all the other ones too.

While on your PC, check out John Zito. Special thanks to Leah Burlington for the photos with the band and my friend and I. Dave, John and Brad of Y&T for being gracious enough to stick around for a few more shots. And of course to Vamp’d and the stage crew for turning the volume up to 11!

Tim Duran, HMS

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