The magic power of music was definitely in the air at the Music Box Supper Club Friday night. Triumph’s Rik Emmett, along with his collaborator Dave Dunlop, put on a tremendous acoustic show filled with stories, jokes, and incredible guitar playing.
It was truly a master class as the professor (Rik teaches at Humber College in Ontario) put on a clinic for all of those in attendance. Mr. Dunlop has to be the valedictorian, as his playing is spot on and he often got to showcase his skills on several numbers.
Opening the show with the Triumph classic “Hold On,” Emmett displayed that he still has that great high tenor voice.
After a dueling Latin guitar piece and another Triumph classic “Lay It on the Line,” Emmett told the audience that he was going to play a new song because he has an album coming out in the fall. This reminded him of an episode of The Simpsons where Homer was seeing Bachman Turner Overdrive and the band said they were going to play a few new songs. Homer screamed, “No! Play ‘Takin’ Care of Business’!” Emmett told the crowd not to worry because his new album is a rock record with many special guests including Alex Lifeson of Rush, James LaBrie of Dream Theater and even Gil Moore and Mike Levine from Triumph make an appearance on one track.
With that, they went into a great new song called “Human Race,” which features Lifeson. Rik said that we had to remember this was an acoustic version of the song but the studio version is “more rockin’.”
Dave and Rik have great chemistry and one can tell that they’ve been playing together for a long time. Their Canadian-made Godin acoustic guitars have an impeccable tone and, of course, their playing was exquisite.
“Fight the Good Fight” ended the first set. Emmett said that they had to take a short intermission because men of his age (63) had to empty their bladder and encouraged the older men in the audience to do the same.
He and Dunlop returned to open the second set with what he called the “highest charting” Triumph song “Somebody’s Out There” from the 1986 album The Sport of Kings.
Both guitarists laid down some intricate guitar pieces and eventually launched into a great version of Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way.” They had the audience sing the first two verses of the song and when Emmett went into the solo he played a snippet of “Voodoo Child” which fit in perfectly.
The second set ended with “Magic Power.”
Rik said that instead of leaving the stage for an encore, they decided to stay on the stage and play one last song that was on the set list. He dedicated “Suitcase Blues” to his former band mates Mike and Gil.
Rik Emmett and Dave Dunlop put on a fantastic show in Cleveland and here’s to hoping that they make a return trip to the rock and roll capital soon.