Listen to Keller Williams on Rhapsody...

Words by: Martin Halo :: Images by: Rod Snyder

Keller Williams :: 03.02.07 :: The Nokia Theatre :: New York, New York

Keller Williams :: 03.02 :: New York
The aroma of hippie decadence descended upon New York's Times Square as Keller Williams set up shop at the Nokia Theatre. Emerging into the spotlight to a soul jazz beat, guitar in hand, barefoot on an ornate rug, the Virginia-born virtuoso playfully warmed the audience with rhythmic slapping techniques, major-scale phrasing and ringing harmonics. Williams' relaxed clothing perfectly complimented the casual demeanor of the jubilant capacity crowd, where dumbstruck teenagers stared in hypnotic, psychedelic fascination.

Williams launched into "People Watchin'" and got a significant audience response out of the line, "I'm a lucky man and I can say that I have friends in many places." He effortlessly moved from the microphone to the looping board. Above all, what is most overwhelming is Williams' ability to multitrack in a live setting. His layering of drums, bass, guitar, trumpet bursts and vocals resonated with tonal clarity, a true one-man band.

Keller Williams :: 03.02 :: New York
"Rainy Day" was next, offering raindrops falling on the video monitor that hung behind Keller. The monitor also gave the audience a closer glimpse at what was unfolding on stage. A cover of "Shakedown Street" followed and the air was filled with pungent spiritual intoxication as Williams sang, "Tell me this town ain't got no heart? I can hear it beat out loud." The first set concluded with a tease of Van Morrison's "Moondance" and a cover of The Talking Heads' "Burning Down the House."

The second set showcased tracks from Williams' latest album, Dream, which featured guest appearances by Bela Fleck, Victor Wooten, Charlie Hunter, Jeff Sipe, Steve Kimock, The String Cheese Incident, and Bob Weir.

Keller Williams :: 03.02 :: New York
"It was a surreal experience just from the standpoint of being that guy dancing on the back of the lawn at Dead shows to recording music with Bob Weir," says Williams. "I was stuck in that culture for a couple years," he explained. "It was from the Grateful Dead that I then discovered jazz and bluegrass music."

Over the course of the three-hour show, we were wowed by a calypso jam on marimbas, a Pet Sounds-inspired Theremin break, Bourbon Street horn rags and a "Novelty Song" focused around his Paul McCartney style bass. Keller is refreshingly charismatic in his humor and candor. He effortlessly spans that gap between live music junkies and technical music geeks with his unique craft.

Concertgoers range from high school students venturing into the big city to sweet coal miner's daughters who stand side-by-side with working week professionals. The New York crowd pulsated in perfect rhythm to Keller's bluegrass rendition of Tom Petty's "Mary Jane's Last Dance" that included a "Breakdown" tease which made the venue explode with the line, "I don't know what I've been told, you never slow down, you never grow old." After a 75-minute second set, Williams quickly reappeared for a "Celebrate Your Youth" encore before the midnight curfew.

JamBase | New York
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[Published on: 3/27/07]

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turok101 starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/27/2007 04:10PM
Show -8 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
The Glick Tue 3/27/2007 06:13PM
+3 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

The Glick

this guy is fantastic.

BGsteveBG starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/27/2007 07:11PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


wish i was there! keller never shows chicago love

knibbs Tue 3/27/2007 07:18PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


KW loves Chi-Town, but you're right he hasn't been here in a minute. He'll be in Champaign in a couple of weeks BG, at the super fantastic Canopy Club, and Summer Camp is coming up, so...Nice review Martin.

dmbhead420 starstarstarstar Tue 3/27/2007 07:48PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Keller is amazing.....see him whenever you can. I was just blown away in buffalo again by him in febuary. I am going to see him at a couple festivals this year, hope you all can to!

GratefulHokie starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/27/2007 08:17PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Was at this show...incredible...Got Keller?

spaceface7 starstarstarstarstar Tue 3/27/2007 10:50PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Midnight curfew??? I thought this was the city that never sleeps?!?! Hell yeah,dmbhead, buffalo was tons of fun with that "what I got" cover with keller, a dejembe, and the whole place singing along....SICK!
Is this a cool venue?? I'm wondering cuz I'm going to be there for the first time when the Umphreys rolls through town.

paul14 starstar Wed 3/28/2007 08:31AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This was one of the best Keller Shows i have ever been to. Make sure to get down to Nokia Theatre if you can, the place is sick (cheap tix, brand new, lots of GA room, lax security). Such a great setlist- an oldschool buthole surfers cover, dogs, shakedown..Anyone tape this show? I cant find it anywhere.

chasetc20 Wed 3/28/2007 08:38AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

keller was amazing traveld from the ky to see him play it was a stella show

rockera starstarstar Wed 3/28/2007 09:20AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

Hey at least Keller will come to Chicago. I don't think Keller will ever drop by Minneapolis. Bribing him emeralds and diamonds won't bring him here. Maybe a brownie would work.

ajerk starstarstarstarstar Wed 3/28/2007 09:41AM
Show -7 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!
VAteonanacatl starstarstarstarstar Wed 3/28/2007 09:56AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


well written article, see you at the good k dub

check of the creek

cocheese starstarstarstar Wed 3/28/2007 10:03AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


This article has gotten me even more pumped for Wanee in two weeks. It will be my first live experience with Keller and one that I'm sure won't leave me dissapointed, but only wanting more!

weirman029 starstarstarstar Wed 3/28/2007 11:04AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


i was gonna go, but ratdog was touring so you know how that goes... looks liek a killer show though..

blue1971 Wed 3/28/2007 01:00PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Ajerk gets lame points for advertising for his band in the comment section.

Marcsmall Wed 3/28/2007 01:05PM
+2 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


"You can smell it from a mile away because that shit be funky,"

spaceface7 Wed 3/28/2007 10:19PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

"Worka like ya don't need the money
Love her like ya never been hurt
Dance like...nobody is WATCHIN!"
Words to live by right there.

pokycheese starstarstarstar Thu 3/29/2007 11:38AM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


K-Whop is the ultimate dance party funkmaster. He always makes me want more of those sweet hot jams. Long live K-Dub. Rumor of him 2b added @ NW string summit....stay tuned

velvetmorel starstarstarstarstar Fri 3/30/2007 07:05AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

This show was off the hook! This is probably the best Keller show I've ever seen. He rocked the venue!

fahtphish441 starstarstarstarstar Sun 4/1/2007 06:56PM
+1 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

does neone have a setlist for the nokia show??? it would be highly appreciated....

phishr82 starstarstarstarstar Mon 4/2/2007 09:01AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


this might be the first thread i've ever read on here where people arent bitching...yet....but you cant bitch about k-dub, he's some sorta living legend, nobody's even close to keller as far as style, talent, and humor all rolled into one

torn&treyed Mon 4/2/2007 09:14AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

this show was pretty sick as keller shows go. I have seen better. the guy forgot about that other people's eyes cover, but hole surfers? and that cantaloupe thing was cool.
The mccartney bass has got to go it just sucks and has not a modicum of the punch and brightness the fender did.

nfenne Fri 4/6/2007 08:21AM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Joshl92482: Couldn't agree with you more about the Hofner! I miss that custom Jazz bass he had. That thing sounded sweeet!

kellerbuzz starstarstarstar Thu 4/26/2007 03:43PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!

my dogs favorite song is "best feeling" mine is "dogs" we can't agree on anything.

Carini83 starstarstarstarstar Fri 4/27/2007 02:49PM
0 Votes Thumbs down! Thumbs up!


Oh damn, I can't wait for 10KLF 07' with Keller and Bob