Jul 17, 2018
“We’ve been crossing the border for years, and performed at places like Lockport and North Tonawanda, but I am pretty sure this is our first time in Batavia,” Rik Emmett said to the audience on Friday night. It was indeed his first performance at Batavia Downs, but many of the faces in the crowd were the same ones he has seen in Lockport and North Tonawanda, and in Buffalo and Rochester.
Emmett has become a perennial favorite in these parts, and as one of my friends told me after the show, “You can always count on him to put on a good show.”
The main reason is pretty simple: he has some great songs in his catalogue — songs that inspire, songs that make you feel good and some songs that just make you want to pump your fist in the air.
Friday’s set relied heavily on two albums, Triumph’s “Allied Forces,” and Emmet’s newest album “RES9.” Songs from those albums represented seven of the 12 songs Emmet performed.
Thematically, it was a heavy set of songs. The band, even with a substitute drummer, was driving hard on melodic hits like “Somebody’s Out There,” and even harder on the “Allied Forces” theme. The three cuts from “RES9” fit perfectly in the set, especially “End of the Line” which included an extended drum breakdown.
Emmett’s face was beaming all night long, and he quipped with the crowd about having issues with his in-ear monitors and turning 65 years old just a few days before the show.
Of the songs from “Allied Forces,” “Ordinary Man” was probably the best. The song is a classic, even though it did not get much radio play back in the day, and the version the band performed was filled with fantastic guitar work and interplay between Emmet and Dave Dunlop.
In spite of going up against a Lynyrd Skynyrd show at Darien Lake, the Rik Emmett show was well attended.
No one knows what the future brings for Emmett as he contemplates retirement. On Friday night he delivered another classic rock show, just like he always does.
By THOM JENNINGS, Batavia Daily News