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The Statesman

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The Statesman

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    Dave Mason Brings Down the House

    ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘ ‘?Rockand roll is an attitude, not an age…ya got that?’

    That was Dave Mason a few Fridaysago, smiling as he took a poke at an absurdly young man in preppie clothes inthe V.I.P. section of The Downtown, where a full house of thirty- andforty-somethings (and some of their kids) showed up to welcome a classic rockicon and his band of big dogs–and don’t call them backups, either.

    Mason, former member of the SpencerDavis Group, Traffic and Fleetwood Mac, and session man for rock legends likethe Stones, George Harrison and Paul McCartney, has toured frequently over thepast several years, obviously a man who feels his music more deeply now, after35 years in the industry, than before he’d experienced the turmoil andtriumph of his lengthy career. He’s never been better.

    Opening the show in fine voice with’?World in Changes,’ Mason rocked the crowd with classics, including’?Only You Know and I Know,’ ‘?Let it Go Let it Flow,’ ‘?Sadand Deep as You,’ and ‘?Look at You, Look at Me.’ Wearingwhat has become his no-apologies, Fred Durst-like uniform of black ski cap,black T-shirt and jeans, he was treated warmly and enthusiastically by thecrowd, which appeared to contain more men than ladies. So he’s not FredDurst, and he had no dish on Britney, but this crowd needed nothing more thanthe music.

    Sharing guitar duty this tour wasGodfrey Townsend, most recently the lead singer and guitarist for The JohnEntwistle Band prior to Entwistle’s untimely death last year.Townsend’s past associations include Jack Bruce, Todd Rundgren andcountless other blues/rock heavyweights.

    Bassist Rich Campbell, formerly ofThree Dog Night and sometime tour musician for artists Edgar Winter, Joe Cockerand Natalie Cole, put forth effortlessly rich sound from an instrument he seemsto have been born with. A creator of websites as well, Campbell maintainsMason’s, which is very well done.

    Drummer Frank Reina, the youngestand most unfamiliar member of the band, delivered a performance worthy of amuch older musician. While he didn’t seek any glory, he got the job done,with nary a stray beat.

    Mason brought down the house with’?We Just Disagree’ at the midpoint of his set. Adding to thenostalgia was the classic Feelin’ Alright, which was penned by Mason–notJoe Cocker, kids–in the late 60s. The most famous version is probablyCocker’s, but the song’s been recorded–recorded–by no fewer than 300 artists over the past 35years. ‘?All Along the Watchtower,’ the Dylan tune covered by JimiHendrix with Mason on guitar, brought up the noise before climaxing with theTraffic classic ‘?Dear Mr. Fantasy.’ Keyboardist Bill Mason (norelation), another seasoned pro who’s recorded with Eddie Money, addedhis flying fingers and towering presence to the group.

    Mason gave him ample solo time,which the big man used to fullest capacity.

    Sound quality was superb, and theplacement of closed-circuit TVs in the far reaches of the club assured a decentview of the show for all.

    Aside from the fact that timepushes us all from cutting edge to ‘?classic’, the onlydisappointment was that the show had to end. ‘?Gimme SomeLovin” by the Spencer Davis Group was the final encore.

    As far as The Downtown’sV.I.P. seating in front of the stage, it just seems that, if it’s aboutthe music, then it’s about letting the music move you. Real fansdon’t sit and watch. They rock! Give the pit back to the diehards andlet the sitters watch TV from a barstool.

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