Rik Emmett at Daryl's House - photo by Stacey Rose
Rik Emmett at Daryl's House - photo by Stacey Rose

Rik Emmett and Dave Dunlop Daryl’s House Club, Pawling, NY June 10, 2017

Story and photos by Stacey Rose

To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected]

Check out more of Stacey’s writing at her Type 1 diabetes-focused blog I’ve Got My Own Type 1 Blog to Do.

This past Saturday, my boyfriend and I drove three hours to Daryl’s House Club in Pawling, NY (and met up with a couple friends as well) to see Rik Emmett of Triumph fame perform an acoustic set with Dave Dunlop, another Canadian musician and great guitarist in his own right.

If you aren’t familiar with the venue, the “Daryl” in the club name is Daryl Hall and the club is now where he films his wonderful music show, “Live From Daryl’s House.” Check that out if you’ve managed to not see it yet! I’ve been here twice before when my boyfriend’s band has played. One of the friends we met is in the band with him and it was fun to see them not have to think about their own show, on the other side of the stage this time, and just enjoy an iconic guitarist’s work! Daryl’s is one of my favorite places to see a show with its rustic setting, intimate seating, and the best sound I’ve yet to hear at a venue.


Now, I was raised in the era of AOR (album-oriented rock) and I was fortunate enough to see Triumph several times back in the day. My best friend growing up was a big Rik Emmett fan (read: had a serious crush on him,) so I saw them several times with her, but those shows were in huge arenas – not exactly the cozy setting we were on our way to, and as much as I love a full-blown rock show, I would rather see musicians in a small venue like this any day hands down. It didn’t hurt that I was standing mere feet away from the action onstage either. 

On the drive up, I was telling my boyfriend about seeing Triumph many times in my early teens and that one of their biggest songs, “Hold On,” from the 1979 (that date is still freaking me out by the way) album, Just a Game, was not played live for many years because the track was so complex and there were so many layers of guitar (nine, if memory serves – I’m sure someone can correct me on that if I’m off) that it made it difficult to play live and, in fact, the whole band has never played it live.

Rik finally decided one year, and please forgive me for not recalling which tour that was, to let the other guys take a mid-show break and just do the song acoustically by himself, which I loved. What a treat it was that the opening song Saturday night was that one! This was followed right up with “Petite Etude,” from Allied Forces, one of Rik’s (usually) acoustic instrumentals which he included on each album and were always something I looked forward to, so this was quite a welcome tune only the second song in!

Another of the Triumph album instrumentals we were fortunate enough to get was the gorgeous “Midsummer’s Daydream,” from the 1984 album, Thunder Seven. For an old Triumph fan like myself, this show was nothing short of brilliant. Rik played quite a few songs from the Triumph catalog, but for my ears, not having had the pleasure of attending one of these acoustic performances before, the stripped-do

wn versions of songs that were part of my life’s soundtrack were quite a thrill! The other Triumph songs showcased in acoustic version were “Ordinary Man” (my personal favorite Triumph song,) “Fight the Good Fight,” and the big radio hit, “Magic Power” as an encore all from Allied Forces. In addition, “Somebody’s Out There” from The Sport of Kings had a great story to go along with it in that this song was a last minute addition to the album from the label requesting a “hit” that Rik brought to the band and told them to “just play it as it is.” It turned out to be their biggest selling hit, so the kid knew what he was doing, clearly! “Lay it on the Line” and the bluesy, melancholy show closer “Suitcase Blues” from Just A Game rounded out the night beautifully.

I must admit that I was not familiar with the material on Rik’s new album, Resolution9 (Res9 as it is shorthanded to,) and Rik even jokingly referenced an old Simpsons episode with Randy Bachman where Homer only wants to hear “Taking Care of Business” yelling out, “No new crap!” The new “crap” here was pretty damn great though! Sometimes it’s nice to hear songs for the first time live. It was fun to hear the great work he’s been up to lately. There were only two guitarists on stage and the musicianship was impeccable on instrumentals “Red Hot” and “Three Clouds Across the Moon.” Rik and Dave even pulled out a song that Rush’s Alex Lifeson recorded with them called “Human Race.”

Those Canadians stick together, but seriously, how could you go wrong with the talent that must have been in the studio that day! Near the end of the show, the cheeky “Sweet Tooth” was a fun little romp full of double entendre. An interlude with a short version of the Cars’ “Just What I Needed” and the Joe Walsh’s “Rocky Mountain Way” (a tune Triumph originally covered on Rock & Roll Machine way back when) had the audience singing along and Rik swinging his guitar like a bat to the lyrics.

Although Rik was the big name draw for this show, it would be a crime to overlook Dave Dunlop, a monster talent on the guitar  himself. He and Rik played off each other so fluidly, both musically and personally – trading off being the comedian and straight man throughout. I do want to make mention of Dave’s song, “Monarch Girl,” a beautiful guitar and vocal piece that brought Dave to the forefront. With Rik’s reputation and history, you’d figure anyone would be intimidated up there next to him, but Dave was  so at ease and rightfully so, as he’s got the chops to back it up! I’d love to see more from him!

Rik’s virtuosity as a guitarist has not faltered at all over the years nor has his voice. In fact, in the Triumph songs, he altered some of the super high vocal parts for a slightly lower, but more interesting phrasing in the melody, slipping seamlessly in and out of a falsetto and flawlessly sung. Don’t forget, these were bare versions of full band songs, so you’d expect a different flavor in the arrangements going into it, and the effect was pretty lush. In addition, the poor guy was weathering through having shingles and clearly uncomfortable on a couple occasions. The show must go on though and what an absolutely fun musical evening it was!

To submit a review or story for consideration hit us at [email protected]

Check out more of Stacey’s writing at her Type 1 diabetes-focused blog I’ve Got My Own Type 1 Blog to Do.  

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