Review: Dave Mason Stirs the Rock n’ Roll Stew


Dave Mason
Honokaa People’s Theatre
February 7, 2018

Classic rock legend Dave Mason kicked off the first night of his 2018 tour with a stellar performance at the Honokaa People’s Theatre. Many of Mason’s loyal fans couldn’t stay seated, and stood up to dance throughout his 90-minute set. Some spilled out to the aisles before ushers directed them back to their seats. The clever ones found an open exit door, and danced in the alley way that separates the theatre from the Italian restaurant next door.

The tour’s titled “The Very Best of Dave Mason,” and with good reason. The seventy-one year-old English singer-songwriter’s career first found fame fifty years ago with the psychedelic rock group Traffic, and his set had a fair share of tunes when he was in and out of the band, or as Mason phrased it, “A.D.,” After Dave.

Special treatment was given to “The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys,” and it sounded bluesy rather than the original dark dreamy jazz-laced version from 1971. The real crowd favorite though was “Feelin’ Alright?,” and Mason explained the not-so-happy origins of the song.

“Everybody thinks it’s about feelin’ alright,” said Mason, “but the song is really about not feeling too good, myself. — who’s to say that the creator is the best interpreter.” Mason went on to reveal that since it was a such a simple two-chord composition, about 50 or 60 versions exist, but his real gratitude went out to the late Joe Cocker who did such a kick-ass version. “It sounds as good now as it did then, and that was 50 years ago!”

Reminiscing about his teenage years, Mason held up his Sunburst Fender Strat and praised it like a fine work of art. “It’s probably one of the great designs of all times,” said Mason. “It was designed in the ’50’s by a radio repairman, and in 2000 years it’ll still look the same. When I was 15, this was all I wanted. Girls, meh. I found out later that once you get a Fender Stratocaster and learn how to play it… Yes, it’s all true, but now I’m at an age when all I want is my Fender.” Mason then played the 1960 surf instrumental “Apache,” a tune he played with his first band when he was 16.

Mason got the entire crowd on their feet for a raucous encore that featured Big Joe Turner’s classic “Shake, Rattle and Roll.” He later met fans in the lobby to sign merch, or as Dave phrased it before he left the stage, “Shake babies, and kiss hands.”

Mason’s picks up powerhouse singer Gretchen Rhodes when the tour arrives on Maui. Sometime in May, Mason will be doing a new tour with legendary guitarist Steve Cropper. Read our recent interview with Dave Mason here.

Dave Mason’s band: Johnne Sambataro (guitar), Tony Patler (keyboards), and Alvino Bennett (drums)

Set List: World In Changes | 40,000 Headmen | Sad And Deep As You | We Just Disagree | Look at You Look at Me | Apache | Can’t Find My Way Home | Rock and Roll Stew | Only You Know And I Know | The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys | Feelin’ Alright?

Encore: Shake, Rattle and Roll | All Along The Watchtower

For more info on Dave Mason’s 2018 tour schedule, please visit:


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