A few thoughts on Dave Mason at the Dakota Jazz Club on Friday, his first of two nights there:
- He proved his bona fides as a Rock and Roll Hall of Famer (as a member of Traffic). He also proved his skills as a humorist, with a dry, sometimes caustic style as well as a flair for vaudevillian humor. Example: “I was married to a girl from up here, Alberta Lea.” “How long?” shouted a fan. Mason: “Too long.” Rim-shot. Caustic example: “If they put one more rap artist in the Hall of Fame, I’m going to return my statue. Let’s put the C back in rap. I have some T-shirts made up for that. I’ll send you one.” Ouch.
- He’s an accomplished guitarist but he didn’t switch from acoustic to electric until 55 minutes into a 90-minute set. He killed it on “All Along the Watchtower.” Johnne Sambataro played lead guitar most of the night.
- Mason, 67, talked about growing up in Worcester, England, but he has no hint of a British accent when he speaks. None.
- He’s an assertive vocalist, with a nice balance between a sweet voice and a growl. But, as a vocalist, he’s no Steve Winwood, the featured singer in Traffic.
- Mason told the story of how Bob Dylan praised Mason’s song “Every Woman,” calling it one a great song. So Mason sang it in Dylan’s home state in his best Bob Dylan voice.
- He talked about how Geraldo Rivera said recently that Mason’s “We Just Disagree” should be the new U.S. national anthem. Mason said he agreed and then sang it.
- He did some of the key songs associated with him, including “Feelin’ Alright,” “Dear Mr. Fantasy” and “Let It Go, Let It Flow.” I was hoping for “Only You Know and I Know.”
- With his sleepy eyes, shaved head and goatee, he looks like the old pro wrestler Mad Dog Vachon.
- Dave Mason and his trio will perform again at the Dakota at 8 p.m. Saturday.