When your resume is as star-spangled as Dave Mason’s, you are entitled to boast about it.
Backed by a three-piece band Friday night a crowd of about 400 at the VooDoo Lounge, Mason revisited a career that has included sessions and appearances with rock and roll royalty and produced several hits and classic rock songs.
The first half of the show was a tribute to Traffic, the British rock band Mason co-founded in 1969. He opened the two-hour show (plus intermission) with three from the “Traffic” album: “(Roamin’ Thru the Gloamin’ With) 40,000 Headmen,” then “You Can All Join In” and “Pearly Queen.”
Throughout the set, in a voice void of a British accent, Mason told stories and vignettes about the band and the West Midlands, the region of England from which it came. A native of Worcester, he even paid tribute to Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce, a hometown-made condiment.
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Behind him, a video screen broadcast images from his career, including album covers, concert posters and plenty of photos, including Mason with Keith Richards and Billy Gibbons and Traffic’s dilapidated “country estate,” which had no electricity or water and only an outhouse, which was later chopped up for firewood. He also paid tribute to the late Jim Capaldi, the drummer for Traffic and an early bandmate of Mason’s in his pre-Traffic group, the Hellions.
The band reworked several of the Traffic songs, none more than “Low Spark of High Heeled Boys,” giving it a darker, bluesier tone and giving Mason a chance to show off his considerable guitar skills. His band comprised three veteran session musicians: Tony Patler on keyboards, who sang lead on “Medicated Goo,” Alvino Bennett on drums and Johnne Sambataro on guitar. There was no bassist, oddly; Patler handled all the basslines.
The Traffic set ended with a true version of another classic, “Dear Mr. Fantasy.” After a 20-minute break, he opened the second set with two of his best-known solo songs, “Let It Go, Let It Flow,” then, on 12-string guitar, “We Just Disagree.” Mason will turn 69 in May, but his voice has remained remarkably strong. Both sounded much like they did when he recorded them nearly 40 years ago. The set hit a lull when he dropped in three songs from his latest album, “Future’s Past,” though all three showcased the band's musical prowess and Mason's strong, steady voice.
He ended with two of his better-known songs: “Only You Know and I Know,” a hit for Delaney and Bonnie, and then “Feelin’ Alright,” a hit for the late Joe Cocker, which prompted most of the crowed to get up and dance. He finished with “All Along the Watchtower,” reprising his role on the 12-string in Jimi Hendrix’s famous version, yet another prominent moment in a storied career.
(Roamin’ Thru the Gloamin’ With) Forty40,000 Headmen; You Can All Join In; Pearly Queen; Rock and Roll Stew; Low Spark of High Heeled Boys; Medicated Goo; Dear Mr. Fantasy; Let It Go, Let It Flow; We Just Disagree; Look at You Look at Me; World In Changes; How Do I Get To Heaven; Good To You; Only You Know and I Know; Feelin’ Alright; All Along the Watchtower.