Dick Dale and the Del-Tones
Sapphire Supper Club, Orlando, FL • November 19, 2000
Carl F Gauze
On a drizzly Sunday night, Orlando’s goatee and clove cigarette crowd found its way to the Sapphire to see one of the Niebulung of Rock and Roll, Dick Dale. I stuck my head in for a while, and talk about your memories of Madelines and tea. Not many people play like Mr. Dale, picking out each individual note of glissandos on guitar that lesser lights (say, Eddie Van Halen or Sammy Hagar) would produce with a whammy bar or a quarter-inch callus on their driving finger. Dick hits each note, on time, on cue, and on key up and down that fret board. With one of the best drummers I’ve seen and a solid bass player, every rock and roll cliché from the autoerotic guitar solo to six-inch tongue wave comes over as new, crisp, and clean. And best of all, we’re in the realm of instrumentals, so song titles don’t mean all that much. We saw a strong group of new material, most of which remains untitled until the liner notes get written, interleaved with an equally impressive set of classics (•Fever,• •Misirlou,• •Lovey Dovey,• •Ghost Riders in the Sky•). We saw Dick remember that his meter was about to expire halfway through •Smoke on the Water,• and he sashayed out into the middle of Orange Avenue to stick a few quarters into the meter before Mayor Hood’s art patrol towed his •56 Buick to the Parramore impound lot. Thank god for the wireless pickup.
It’s so good to find a band that picks out notes with the precision of classical music, yet cranked loud enough to make the keys jiggle in your pocket when you stand just right. It was thrilling, for me anyway. There’s a new CD on the horizon, there’s a continued tour through some of the finer dives in the Southeast (visit http://www.dickdale.com for the gory details), and there’s still good old DD, looking more like a chiropractor in Daytona on Bike Week than the argyled Teen Idol/Bad Boy of the •50s Corman make-out flicks. He ain’t too old to rock and roll, and he doesn’t seem about to die. Fire up that Bic and hold it high.