1 Proteus 4 years ago Since Duane's headlining set at the 7th Annual Guitar Geek Festival was also the tip-top highlight of the NAMM weekend for many who love Gretsch, it deserves its own topic, which links here from both the NAMM thread and the the main Guitar Geek thread. If you're a guitarist hanging around these pages, Duane Eddy – like Chet and George and Brian – truly needs no introduction. He's one of the first-name guys to us. And in the outer world, he's been called the first rock guitar hero. If you don't know about the hits that made him the top-selling instrumental rock artist EVER, the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame honor, you can look it up. Some layman listeners – even some guitarists – may tell you they don't know the name. But when they hear one of the songs, they know the sound. And if they haven't heard Duane's records, there's still his pervasive influence. The tone he developed and popularized, and his jewel-craft approach to the detail of a riff, has affected everyone who's played rock/pop guitar since – or listened to it. There are many players about whom we say "I know who it is as soon as I hear the tone." But about no one is that truer than about Duane Eddy. That fat focused twang is instantly recognizable – equal parts metal and wood – and to a certain extent, his recordings are as much "carriers" for the tone as melodic and rhythmic constructions. (Of course, they're both.) But for all we've heard the records, and carry a model of that sound in our sonic DNA, relatively few of us have heard Duane in a live setting. While his guest appearance on the 1986 Art of Noise version of "Peter Gunn" brought The Tone to a new generation – and he played some high profile gigs in the late 80s – Duane simply hasn't toured much in the last three decades. There have been too few opportunities to hear the mystery man – and exactly none to hear him up close in a setting like Geek Fest. So there was no way I was going to miss the opportunity. Geek Fest is famous for running late, with headliners in past years having started as late as 1:30 in the A of M. Deke made it a mission to run on time this year, with large-display digital clocks atop both speaker stacks facing the stage. He explained that he didn't want to be the one to tell Duane Eddy he'd have to start 90 minutes late. Duane was scheduled for midnight, and in fact all the other acts had played – and Deke had finished his raffle drawings – by 12:15. The packed room was in a great mood. They'd heard fine music all day, been dazzled by some players, rocked by others, and had just been taken back to the era of early 60s instrumental rock by George Tomsco and The 3 Balls of Fire. Everyone in the room was there for Duane. We were ready. . I wondered how The Tone would translate in a live setting, and how Duane would work with the band Deke had assembled. (Duane had told me earlier in the day that rehearsals had gone well and he couldn't be more pleased.) (I'd also asked if he was going to play LOUD. He said more like "full" than loud.) So I thought I knew about what to expect in tone – and I hoped the expectations would be exceeded. Duane and the band took the stage, Duane wearing what I knew to be a new Gretsch DSV, pretty much stock. It looked natural, it looked good. There were moments of anticipation as Deke made his introduction and the players made little testing and tuning noises (which sounded just like anyone else's). There was excited applause, which died down to exactly three seconds of silence. Then the unmistakable opening four measures of "Movin' and Groovin," sounding huge at concert volume, drums pounding and the DSV throaty and on the bare edge of warm grit through a pair of early 60s Fender Showmans. Then suddenly, four measures in, there it was - the TONE. It made for an electric moment of almost instant glee, with smiles of recognition everywhere. And it was bigger than I'd imagined – with the visceral impact of a sonic fist to the middle of the chest. It snarled and squirmed and ground by turns. Did Duane sound like the records? BETTER than the records. Bigger and more enveloping, commanding, authoritative. But hey – enough o' my yakkin'. Hear for yourself! (Do crank it, guys.) Duane LIVE Movin' and Groovin' Detour The Lonely One 40 Miles of Bad Road (video) The Stalker Band Introductions A word from Duane... Rebel Rouser (video) Cannonball Duane was quietly personable and talkative between songs, giving some background and history. He tends to concentrate on his playing – but from time to time looked around with a warm grin, clearly enjoying what he was hearing all around him. It looked like he was having fun. That comes back partly to the band. He was gratified that all the guys knew their parts cold and played them just hot enough, with equal respect and drive. He mentioned several times in conversation how pleased he was with their work and their performance – and Ron Dziubla's growling, shimmering saxophone was only the icing on the cake. The Band • Joe Tritschler - acoustic rhythm • Chris Sprague - drums • Pete Curry - keyboards • Deke Dickerson - bass • Ron Dziubla - sax The 11-song set was well-received – and it had little to do with nostalgia. The tone, and the material, sound as fresh and vital today as they did 50 years ago. Duane has more than stood the test of time – the music is timeless. I can't tell you how everyone there was affected, but to me the gig suggested headlines like "lovefest" and "triumph." Duane, it's great to have you back on stage – now we wants mo!