Rik Emmett and Dave Dunlop bring their acoustic renditions of classic Triumph songs, as well as entertaining stories to The Birchmere.

Rik Emmett rose to fame in the 1970s and 1980s as a singer, guitarist, and founding member of the Canadian rock trio Triumph.  The original band spent 13 years touring, performing, and recording nine studio albums together.

Rick Emmett has most recently paired up with Dave Dunlop, who said that he has been playing with Emmett for over 22 years.  Emmett said the pair took off from playing together over the holidays, and they didn’t even have a chance to practice before their gig tonight.  Even with that noted, the boys sounded phenomenal. 

Opening the show,  Emmett and Dunlop wasted no time strumming into the meat of Triumph’s song history.  “Hold On,” “Petite Etude,” and “Lay It On The Line” all energized the fans from the get-go. The craftsmanship and camaraderie that Emmett and Dunlop shared onstage is a testament that these musicians are really enjoying playing for their fans. 

From the very start of the show, it was apparent that the evening was going to be a two-way conversation bonding the two with the crowd through the music.  Emmett loved carrying on conversations with the audience, getting everybody involved in the dialogue, which included a lot of laughter.  Each song had a history, each song had a story, each song was written and performed with composition and purpose. This was the type of band that Triumph was, and this is the legacy that Emmett is carrying on by continuing to share the music with his partner.

“Libre Animado” was an instrumental that featured Dunlop doing some serious shredding.  Emmett mentioned that just seeing and listening to Dunlop’s chops on this song was worth the price of admission itself, and he was spot on.  The song was filled with influence from both players, including some classical, jazz, and rock licks and chord progressions that melted the minds of the listeners.  Emmett has always been known within the musician’s world of guitarists for having a very well-trained style of playing spanning many different styles.

Emmett shared many stories of influences and friends over the years, including Alex Lifeson, who played on the recording of their next song, “Human Race.”  Dunlop expressed that although Alex couldn’t make the trip to Alexandria, he did send along his pick which he was going to use for the song.  Paul McCartney’s version of “When I’m Sixty-Four” was re-written as a humorous parody to fit Emmett’s current aging process, as he’d just turned 64.  The first set concluded with “Fight The Good Fight” from the 1981 release Allied Forces.

Triumph’s highest charting song “Somebody’s Out There” started off the second set.  The duo changed gears a little bit, and Emmett said the next part of the show has became known as “Dave’s Sing-A-Long.”  They lead the fans through a fun crowd-participation portion of the show with hit covers “Takin Care of Business,” “Free Fallin,” and “Rocky Mountain Way.”

Even with single-digit temperatures outside, the hall was full of rock-and-roll heat.  Just because the jams aren’t coming from high-volumed electric guitars, doesn’t mean the music can’t rock.  This duo of guitar players bled each other’s musical blood and weren’t afraid of making their songs clever and vulnerable in the way they presented their acoustic compositions. 

Finishing the night with “Midsummer’s Daydream,” “Magic Power,” and “Suitcase Blues,” Emmett and Dunlop wrapped up a very enjoyable evening.  Emmett didn’t remember ever playing at The Birchmere before,  so anytime these Canadian boys want to make their way back to the D.C. area, there are plenty of folks who would love to hear them again.

Rik Emmett
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Dave Dunlop
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The Birchmere
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Event Date: 04-JAN-2018