It’s been almost 40 years since I saw Dave Mason at a small bar in Tempe, Arizona. Dave was one of the founding members of the 60s rock band Traffic. After leaving Traffic in the late 60s, Dave released the classic rock album, Alone Together in 1970. A friend challenged me to create a list 100 albums that I loved listening to over and over. The rule was that I must like over 50% of the album and it can’t be a greatest hits. I thought that it would be easy, but after 8 years. I only have about 70 albums on the list. Alone Together is one of the top 10 on this list. From the opening song, “Only You Know and I Know”, to “Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving”, “Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave”, “World in Changes” and finally “Look at You Look at Me”, the album is just an amazing collection of classic rock and roll songs. This tour is Dave’s salute to this great album and allows his fans to enjoy it live. The concert featured every song on the album and a mixture of Traffic hits and other Dave favorites. The band consists of Dave Mason on acoustic and electric guitar and lead vocal, with Alvino Bennett on drums, Johnne Sambataro on guitar and vocals and Tony Patler on keyboards and vocals.
The show started with “Only You Know and I Know”, one of my personal favorites. It is just one of those songs that from the first few cords, you know exactly who this is and what the song is. It is also an upbeat song that gets the audience going. Next they switched to the classic Traffic song, “Rock and Roll Stew” with Tony on the Hammond keyboard taking over lead vocals. Dave would switch between his Stratocaster and two acoustic guitars. Alvino was great on drums providing the underlying beat and you could not even tell they did not have a bass player. Johnne played rhythm guitar backing up Dave and at times jamming with him. Tony on keyboards was amazing and his soulful voice was perfectly matched for the Traffic hits. The main set ended with the Traffic hit, “Feelin’ Alright”. Dave told us that it was his “kiss” song, “Keep It Simple Stupid” and was a simple 2 guitar cord song. The song was immortalized by Dave’s friend Joe Cocker in 1976, when Joe performed it on Saturday Night Live when John Belushi joined Joe onstage doing his famous impersonation of Cocker’s stage movements.
After a short break, that came back for the encore. Dave told us the story about how he was friends with Jimi Hendrix and played with him on the album Electric Ladyland in September 1968 doing backing vocals on “Crosstown Traffic”. At the same time, they listened to Bob Dylan’s new song, “All Along The Watchtower”. Jimi decided to cover the song and Dave helped by playing his 12 string guitar for Jimi’s hit version. Dave played his version of the song as a tribute to his friends, Bob and Jimi. During the song, they displayed photos of both Jimi playing and Dave and Jimi playing together.
The concert was held at the Talking Stick Resort Showroom which was a perfect venue for Dave’s music. It a small, intimate venue that has fantastic acoustics. Even sitting back at the bar behind the audience, I could see perfectly and the band’s voices were amazing clear.
Review and photos by Fred Kuhlman
Promoter: Danny Zelisko Present
Venue: Talking Stick Resort Showroom
Photos © Fred Kuhlman 2017
Only You Know and I Know (Alone Together)
Rock and Roll Stew (Traffic cover)
Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving (Alone Together)
Waitin’ on You (Alone Together)
We Just Disagree (Let It Flow)
Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave (Alone Together)
The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys (Traffic cover)
World in Changes (Alone Together)
Sad and Deep as You (Alone Together)
Just a Song (Alone Together)
Look at You Look at Me (Alone Together)
Dear Mr. Fantasy (Traffic cover)
Feelin’ Alright (Traffic cover)
All Along The Watchtower (Bob Dylan cover)