SHOW RECAP: Keller Williams @ Riveria Theater, Chicago, IL 3.5.05

Unfortunately, this was one of the only shows I’ve been to in the past year or so that has actually started on time. Of course, we ended up late due to the enormous line outside the Riveria Theater on a Saturday night. There weren’t any other real big jamband shows in the city, so I definitely had a feeling that Keller Williams was going to be a packed, out-of-control house. It was (in the good way).

Fast forward to me arriving at my seat.

I arrive mid-loop to some nice, spaced out trance that K-Dub regularly lets out of his bag. He lets it build and build, continually for another five minutes or so before he moves on. One step on the pedal, and he’s onto something else.

That’s what amazed me about Keller Williams. I’ve been listening to his shows for a couple months now. I’ve got his studio and live discs (which are excellent by the way), so I’ve been getting into Keller Williams much more steadily. He makes it look so damn easy. He’s just having a blast up on the stage, shuffling to the left of the rug to start a drum beat on his percussion pad, shuffling to the right side of the rug to start a bass line, all within the same four measures he originally planned on. All of a sudden, the entire room is filled with sound, and Keller starts rapping the lyrics to Sublime What I Got. It’s really an amazing process to follow…

Now, since I usually do not bring little notebooks with me, I do not have any idea what his setlist was for the night. He definitely played a lot of what I wanted to hear. He played Dogs. He encored with Rapper’s Delight. It was so much fun to watch him play, and I think watching him really struck a nerve in my musician-wannabe brain. I’ve got ideas on how I would implement a similar approach to my playing. Could I be a one-man drummer? That would be SICK! [edit: Sick: yes. Realistic: no.]

And really, as for the show, there’s no total point to me listing out the setlist. A Keller Williams show is something that needs to be seen; I’m glad that he’s going to be putting out a DVD soon showcasing his remarkable performances.