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Dick Dale returned to San Diego for a holiday show at the Belly Up Tavern. The “King of Surf Guitar” seemed fit and healthy, engaging with the audience and showing some camaraderie with the rhythm section supporting him.

Dale’s performance felt much more inspired than his last show at the Solana Beach club. He stated that he had played there so many times that he felt at home. His self-deprecating humor and undeniable charm captured the crowd as much as his dynamic guitar playing.

The trio ripped through classics such as “Misrelou,” “Esperanza,” and “Ghost Riders in the Sky.” Dale played with technical violence, taking the crowd higher with each solo. He helped out behind the kit on “Surfing Drums,” which kept the whole floor jumping. The evening’s high point was a transcendent version of Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues” and a rollicking, stomping version of “Peppermint Man.”

Throughout the performance Dale combined humility with rock-star poses; mocking his own troubles with the panache of a man comfortable with himself and his legend.

  • Concert: Dick Dale
  • Date: December 21
  • Venue: Belly Up Tavern
  • Seats: Floor
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