Dave Mason certainly has staying power. As one of the two surviving members of Traffic (of course Steve Winwood is the other), Dave Mason at age 67 can crank out serious rock & roll and croon soft classics as well as anyone in the business. His pipes are in great shape as he hit all the high notes faithfully and growled out most of his AOR crowd-pleasers that had us singing along. His bandmates are top notch and a slightly different line up from when I saw Dave a few years ago.
It was the week of ice and snow in Atlanta and many roads were still dangerous. I was hoping that there would be enough brave drivers to fill the theater for Dave. As I drove down Euclid Avenue I was relieved to see a line of concertgoers nearly reaching Austin Avenue, waiting for the doors to open at 7:00 PM.
I was happy there was no opening act. Just Dave was fine with me. The band came on stage at 8:15 and played two sets spanning two-plus hours with a very short intermission. Dave and his mates were in a good mood and engaged in some banter with the crowd, as well as giving background stories for many songs. At one point a slightly inebriated woman climbed on stage to dance with Dave and was politely escorted off.
Even though Dave Mason was with Traffic for only two albums, his first set was Traffic-heavy. He introduced a radically different version of Low Spark of High Heeled Boys even though he had left Traffic long before that release. But that’s OK. He’s Dave Mason – Hall of Fame inductee and founding member of the band. The second set was mostly Dave, including two new songs from an upcoming release, one being an unfinished work from Jim Capaldi (RIP 2005). The encore was All Along the Watchtower, one of Dave’s great covers. Dave actually played acoustic 12-string on the Hendrix cover of Dylan’s masterpiece found on Electric Ladyland.
Check out his new release and ordering info at davemasonmusic.com
Here’s the setlist from the Variety Playhouse :
Set 1 – 40,000 Headmen, You Can All Join In, Pearly Queen, Who Knows What Tomorrow May Bring, Heaven is in Your Mind, Rock and Roll Stew, Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, Medicated Goo, Dear Mr. Fantasy
Set 2 – We Just Disagree, Just a Song, World in Changes, How Do I Get to Heaven (new), Good 2 U (new), Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave, Let It Go Let It Flow, Feelin’ Alright
Encore – All Along the Watchtower
All things considered, a great night for classic rock lovers in an intimate venue. Until the next concert, it’s time for my boot heels to be wanderin’.