Rik Emmett | 05.27.07

live_emmettOne great thing about seeing seasoned musicians like Emmett is their ability to entertain in spite of the situation.

 

 

 

 

Rib America Festival, St. Louis

Rik Emmett came out swinging and hit the soggy, sauce-laden crowd right between the eyes with "Lay It on the Line." He did not disappoint the rib-eating masses, playing a number of Triumph radio hits, including "Magic Power," "Hold On," and "Ordinary Man." His voice is still very much intact and his guitar playing is better than ever, lending itself to some slightly new arrangements on most of the tunes. I especially thought it was cool when he took a short segment of "Fight the Good Fight" and guiltily poked fun at the disco roots of its inception.

While making sure he played to the Triumph fans in the audience, he also included a few selections from his blues project, the Raw Quartet. It's a far cry from the huge stage productions and pyrotechnics of Triumph shows, but the music stands on its own. I have always touted Emmett as being one of the best front men in rock history. His singing is amazing in range and lyrical content, his guitar playing fluent and flawless, and he's an astute businessman and bandleader, having kept his looks and dignity in the process.

One great thing about seeing seasoned musicians like him is their ability to entertain in spite of the situation. The live sound engineer must have been a drummer, because the drums were mixed great and were right up front, and the bass and vocals were set to that, which was fine. But the rhythm guitar was underneath the bass and Emmett's lead guitar was at or slightly beneath. Even though he was plagued with the technical difficulties of a bad mix and raindrops falling on his head, Emmett was able to work thru it all with humor and a smile on his face. Which, come to think of it, is really the message of his lyrics: believe in yourself and strive to succeed no matter what. It's a credo that has guided my life since I fist saw Triumph in '81 and, a message that the world needs to hear again and again. | Derek Lauer

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