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Dick Dale, Wednesday 4


From our vantage point on the stairs, my boyfriend and I had the best spot to view Dick Dale's dramatic entrance from the back of The Reef. Ripping some punk-sounding guitar, strap sparkling, sparse hair pulled back into a slick ponytail, headband in place, Dale sauntered to the stage like the king he is. The woman standing next to me turned and said, "The last time I saw Dick Dale was 45 years ago in Huntington Beach, California. By the end of the show, the dust was so thick from the dancing you couldn't see the stage."

And he didn't disappoint; playing an incredibly diverse set, with old classics such as "Miserlou," made famous a second time around by the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, to "Esperanza," from his new album, showcasing his Latin guitar skills, Dale had something for everybody. I don't know what was the coolest part of the show-when he played the bass player's guitar with drumsticks, Or when he picked up a trumpet and played a soulful ragtime, finishing it off with some great Satchmo-style singing? Maybe it was when Dale strolled through the entire bar, upstairs and down, playing his guitar the whole time ...

Dale, a self-taught guitar player, invented his own style in the 1950s, playing a right-handed guitar upside down and backwards. He was crowned "King of Surf Guitar" back then and went on to enjoy a prolific career. Dale has had an undeniable impact on the face of modern rock and roll, among the first popular American musician to use the "exotic" scales he learned thanks to his Middle Eastern and Eastern European heritage. He influenced guitar greats from Eddie Van Halen to Jimi Hendrix and has recorded with the likes of Stevie Ray Vaughn. Dale developed the use of portable reverb effects, creating signature surf sound. He was even deemed the "Father of Heavy Metal" by Guitar Player Magazine for his creation of an amp powerful enough to blast the sound to his liking. He's also been dubbed "the hardest working man in show business" as evidenced by this tour, Boise being the first of 38 shows in 42 days. Playing to a sold-out crowd at the Reef, Dale delivered. But it wasn't just his guitar skills that kept the audience entranced; it was his storytelling and the obvious joy he takes in performing. He loves what he does and is shows, even sticking around to sign autographs. My conclusion of the night was Dick Dale is a living legend not to be missed.