You’re guaranteed a good time at a Keller show. Whether you have doubt, worry or sadness, you can forget it all for the three hours he plays. Keller has a charisma and magnetism that you don’t see in many performers from the jamband community. It’s just him up on stage and he’s honest. Williams does everything he can to make the show a positive and happy experience for everyone in the room and largely succeeds. There’s no primadonna shit with him.
Keller’s show includes everything and the kitchen sink. Original crowd favorites Kidney In A Cooler, Breathe, Freeker, Vacate, Cadillac, etc. were sprinkled throughout with generous helpings of crowd-pleasing covers like Phish’s Birds Of A Feather, Nirvana’s All Apologies done bluegrass style, a taste of Little Feat’s Fat Man In A Bathtub, The Dead’s New, New Minglewood Blues and on and on. He moves seamlessly from 6-string acoustic to 10-string acoustic to Hofner violin style bass (McCartney-esque, eh?) and engages the crowd as he plays along. Every song performed had contained his signature layered sound except his stripped down, acoustic piano take on the Garcia/Hunter classic Terrapin Station. Which I found particularly moving and seemed to be a personal ode to ole Jer’.
There is much risk/reward in playing solo on stage. If you fall on your ass and fail, it’s you and you alone failing. But if you’re sure of your talent, can keep the audience’s interest and can play an honest tune, then you and you alone succeed. That is what this man does and does well. He will always be able to play/sing for his supper and will always have an audience to appreciate his talent. On this night, Keller succeeded in spades and to the victor go the spoils.