Written by Jim Bille
Jun 15, 2007 at 08:00 PM
ImageDave Mason’s resume spans across a spectrum of musical collaboration with various artists that include Mama Cass, Jimi Hendrix, Delaney and Bonnie, Eric Clapton, George Harrison, Paul McCartney and most notably with the band Traffic. He came to Houston Friday night with a tight four-piece group and put on a show at the Meridian that you can now wish you had attended.

The Rock and Roll Hall of Famer’s show Friday night was highlighted with music from his Traffic days as well as his solo career. Traffic numbers included ‘40,000 Headmen’, ‘Feelin’Alright’ and the signature Traffic tune ‘Dear Mr. Fantasy’, which featured Mason’s long time side guitarist Johnne Sambataro taking control on lead guitar duties that knocked the excited crowd back a few steps. ‘World in Changes’ and ‘Look at You Look at Me’ from his debut solo album from 1970 Alone Together caused a musical time catapult that was surely felt by the majority of fans present.  A new offering from the Dave Mason library was a tune called ‘Running Through My Mind’, an out of the box rock and roll number that got the crowd jumpin’.

Mason and his band were playing custom RKS guitars which Dave himself had a hand in designing along with his partner and friend industrial designer Ravi Sawhney.  The hot rod looking instruments served the band and the crowd well as Dave and crew rolled out standards such as “We Just Disagree”, ‘Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave’, ‘All Along the Watchtower’ and ‘Only You Know and I Know’.

In 2004 Dave Mason, along with his former band mates from Traffic, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood and Steve Winwood were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Mason’s on-again off-again relationship with Traffic was finally nailed down when the band was called to the hall, squashing any doubts about which line up of this seminal rock group of the 60’s and 70’s was the legitimate, original and best version of the band.

The term ‘classic rock’ has become so cliche in its usage to round-up and pigeon hole every song released prior to 1985 that it has become practically meaningless. If one must categorize the music of Dave Mason, the term ‘timeless rock’ would be more appropriate.

Not sure when Dave Mason came to Houston last, but I do know that it’s been too long between shows. Memories of his past performances at the now defunct Rockefeller’s and an appearance at Party on the Plaza a number of years ago were all that the Houston fans had until Friday night.  But after his stellar performance at the Meridian and to quote one of Mason’s album titles ‘It’s Like You Never Left’, new memories were made.