Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

December 8, 2008

Dave Mason

Mahaiwe, Great Barrington
by Eric Sutter

The British born Rock 'n Roll Hall of Famer Dave Mason rocked the Mahaiwe Theater with a mix of 60s Classic Rock, 70s solo material and new songs from his latest CD, "26 Letters~12 Notes." Mason, who came into prominence in the 60s with Steve Winwood from Traffic, went on to jam with many well known rockers including Clapton and Hendrix. He lit the fuse with the opening track from his new CD with "Good 2 U" firing off stinging lead guitar and a gutsy soulful vocal delivery. He easily slipped into his sensitive side and performed the familiar 70s songcraft of "Let It Go, Let It Flow" and "We Just Disagree" on strummed acoustic. His band sparked a strong pulse of blues tinged rhythm with the Traffic songs "Fourty Thousand Headmen" and a rockin' "Dear Mr. Fantasy," which featured the hot licks of John Sambataro's lead guitar.

Mason was an image of renewed vitality, even as he wiped the sweat from his bald head Louis Armstrong-style as he launched into "Ain't Your Legs Tired Baby?" More new blues followed with the true grit of "Let Me Go" and "One Day." The well-known opening riff of Bob Dylan's "All Along the Watchtower" brought the dancing baby boomers down front as the funky rhythm section of Gerald Johnson on bass and Alvino Bennett on drums picked up on the action. The new ballad "How Do I Get to Heaven?" featured acoustic guitar interplay and singing between Mason and Sombataro. They closed with the 70s shout of joy, "Only You Know and I Know" which was a full band workout with a fluid electric guitar solo courtesy of Mason and smart keyboard work by Bill Mason. After a standing ovation, they kicked into the rock anthem written by Dave Mason, "Feelin' Alright" with an electrifying interaction of dual guitars between Mason and Sombataro... I'd give Mason the sweaty edge.