Don Wishon is a local promoter in Dallas who specializes in classic artists in intimate settings. I’ve seen a few of his shows – he’s brought acts like Randy Jackson of ZEBRA, BLACK STAR RIDERS, WISHBONE ASH, and Pat Travers to the Dallas/Fort Worth area, and his shows are always great. On March 20, he brought the legendary Rik Emmett to town with his trio for an acoustic performance and it was an amazing evening.
The show was at Poor David’s Pub on South Lamar. That drive is never fun from Addison, especially on a rainy Friday, but we made it with plenty of time. Don greets all of his guests by name and likes to get to know them – it’s not just a show for him; it’s a group of friends getting together for some great music. Since Laura and I had snagged by dint of luck ticket numbers 1 and 2, we were seated front and center and close enough to the stage to prop my feet on the edge.
The opening act this evening was Charlie Farren (JOE PERRY PROJECT, FARRENHEIT). Charlie’s last visit to Dallas proper was in 1987, when his band FARRENHEIT was the opening act at the Texxas Jam. I’ve never personally been a huge fan, but Charlie is really good live. His fun attitude is infectious, and he really goes to extreme lengths to entertain the audience. He threw out a few stories and fun anecdotes over the course of his 45 minutes on stage, and blew threw a number of his hits with FARRENHEIT and as a solo artist. After the show, he made himself available for autographs and to talk to everyone, and stuck around until everyone had had a chance to talk to him and get pictures – he’s just a very genuine and humble guy, and that’s rare in today’s world. I will definitely go see Charlie perform any opportunity that I have in future.
After a short break, Rik Emmett, Dave Dunlop, and Steve Skingley took the stage to thunderous applause, and quickly launched into the TRIUMPH classic “Hold On”, followed by “Petite Etude” and “Lay It on the Line” – what an opening! They went through several more TRIUMPH classics as well as a few covers and some of Rik’s solo material, including the very excellent “Three Clouds Across the Moon” that was lengthened to close to twenty minutes.
The cover songs were well-chosen and rehearsed – Don Henley’s “Boys of Summer”, THE BEATLES’ “Norwegian Wood” (with bassist Steve Skingley on lead vocals), and “The Galaxy Song” from Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, which was an instant classic live and was a lot of fun to watch and hear them perform.
Dave Dunlop is an excellent guitarist – he’s been Rik’s right hand man for many years, and they feed off each other onstage very well and it felt very natural when they played together. Rik filled the 90+ minutes of their performance with great music, stories from the road, and a few jokes, and touched all of the bases with TRIUMPH – “Midsummer’s Daydream”, “Fight The Good Fight”, “Ordinary Man”, and “Magic Power” (as well as the aforementioned opening songs), and closed off the night with “Suitcase Blues”.
After the final note, the trio got a standing ovation for a solid 5 minutes – it was that good of a performance. When the performance ended we had the opportunity to meet Rik and get a couple of photos and some autographs. Even after a show like that, he was very patient and gracious and took plenty of time with each person at the Meet & Greet to talk and connect, and that was priceless.
This was my second time seeing Rik in the last year, and it will not be my last. Since TRIUMPH will likely never tour again, I can’t recommend enough that you catch one of his solo dates. You will not be disappointed.
LIVE REVIEW AND PHOTOS: FRANK ZABER