It was another sold out performance at Landmark on Saturday, April 13, when the legendary Dave Mason performed. There were at least 150 disappointed folks on the waiting list who couldn’t even step into Landmark without a ticket – the house was packed.
Dave Mason, co-founder of the band Traffic with Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi and Chris Wood, has been making music since the last 1960s, and has played or recorded with a who’s who of music elite, including Eric Clapton, Jimi Hendrix, Delaney & Bonnie, Fleetwood Mac, and more. Let’s just say that it’s an extensive list.
There was a high level of excitement as the concert began. Mason’s backing group – percussionist Alvino Bennett and guitarist Jonathan McEuen – came out first to warm up the crowd. (It’s worth noting that McEuen is the son of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band founder, John McEuen). The two performed the Beatles’ “Act Naturally,” Mason’s “Every Woman,” and an extremely energetic version of Prince’s “Kiss.”
The audience went wild when Mason took the stage. The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee played primarily 12-string guitar for the whole performance, save one song where he used a 6-string. Mason played several songs from his iconic first solo album, Alone Together, much to the delight of the audience, who seemed to know every song. A special touch was the fact that Alone Together’s producer, Tommy LiPuma, was at Landmark that night and the two men were able to reunite after decades.
Mason sounds as good, or possibly better, than ever. His voice is in fine shape, and it’s a wonderful voice with a great range and the ability to convey a world of feeling. From beginning to end, this concert was a standout. Among the well thought-out selections were Traffic’s “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” “World in Changes,” “Let it Go Let it Flow,” and Delaney & Bonnie’s “Only You Know and I Know.” Of course, a Dave Mason show wouldn’t be complete without “Feelin’ Alright” and “Only You Know and I Know.” Mason threw in some newer songs as well, most notably the bluesy “Good 2 U,” and the country-flavored “Ain’t Your Legs Tired Baby (From Running Through My Mind).” I thought “40,000 Headmen” was particularly spectacular – the guitar work between Mason and McEuen was jaw dropping.
A word about McEuen – one of the most notable things about Landmark concerts is the extremely top notch talent of the backup musicians who have played on the stage. McEuen certainly falls into that category. His guitar work was simply stunning. He is a highly agile and tasteful guitarist who managed to make it look easy. He’s got vocal chops as well, which he demonstrated during the very beautiful “Sad and Deep as You,” on which he sang lead.
Mason had a great rapport with the audience. At one point, a woman shouted out a song request – “Show Me Some Affection,” and he snappily replied “later baby!” Later in the show he said that “the hair may be gone, the waistline may be gone, but the singing and songwriting are still there.” Yes, indeed.
A very special moment was Mason’s performance of the classic “We Just Disagree,” possibly one of the most beautiful songs of all time. Mason’s encore was Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower,” for which he’d played acoustic guitar on the Jimi Hendrix version over four decades ago. Hopefully Mason will return to Landmark again in the future… Here’s a tip – get tickets early!