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Non-Prog Concert Reviews

Rik Emmett

Live in Chicago, IL. February 2006

Review by Greg Olma

More pics from this concert are available in a gallery in our members area.

I am always amazed by the turnout that certain artists get. Rik Emmett is not a household name anymore but that did not stop the faithfuls from packing in the House of Blues on the coldest night of 2006. The House of Blues is also the perfect place for him to play. It's large enough to accommodate his fans yet intimate enough to hear the subtleties in his acoustic playing.

Rik and the band decided to start the night with the familiar "Fight The Good Fight." It's a great opening number and fans generally like to start things off with songs they know. Next up, Rik startrf off "Somebody's Out There" but finished with "Saved By Love". He forgot a few of the words to "Somebody's Out There" but he laughed it off and continued on. That's one of the great things about a Rik Emmett show. The fact that he could just shrug his shoulders and get a little chuckle from the mistake makes the shows more personable and unique. Sometimes a perfect show can come off as too sterile. I have never heard "Lay It On The Line" played the same way twice and this night's version was no different. It is always a great song live and I'm amazed that Rik can still hit those high notes.
Rik's solo career finally got some stage time. Sure, "Saved By Love" was part of the second song but "Sante Fe Horizon" was performed in its entirety. We only got a snippet of "Saved By Love." The crowd didn't seem to react much but the band played a spot-on version of this song. I've been to many concerts in my life so it's hard to really surprise me but Rik managed to do it at this show. He performed another 2 song medley but this time it was acoustic versions of "24 Hours A Day" and "Say Goodbye." I never thought I would get the see "24 Hours A day" performed live, albeit in a condensed version. He also added a little audience participation into "Say Goodbye."
Next up, the band played "Way Back Home" off the Good Faith CD. Rik told us his personal connection to the song. He wrote it so that his children, who were going off to college, could know that he was always there for them. By taking a moment and explaining the song to us, he turned the House of Blues into his living room and it felt like he was playing for us and not to us. For the following tune, everyone left the stage except Rik and second guitarist Dave Dunlop. Both of them, armed with acoustic guitars, performed a blistering rendition of "El Cuento del Gadjo." Even though the crowd seemed to want rock music, this song got the biggest ovation the whole evening. I'm glad to see that even some hardened rockers can enjoy great acoustic playing.

I never get tired of seeing "Ordinary Man" performed live. Rik and the boys played it a little different to the studio version but that doesn't matter. It's a great song and I hope it stays in the set for many more years. The band got to show off their musical muscles during the following tune called "Three Clouds Across The Moon" off the Swing Shift album. This performance showcased everyone in the band by extending the song to include little solo spots. Rik ended the set with the vintage "Hold On." The crowd made sure to show their approval by not letting him go before playing one more. An extended version of "Magic Power" closed out the evening. I don't think anyone left before the last note was played. Judging by that night's performance, the faithfuls couldn't be kept away, no matter how cold it got.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2006 Volume 2 at

You'll find concert pics of this artist in the Music Street Journal members area.
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