Friday night Dave Mason made the journey to Penn’s Peak in Jim Thorpe, PA for a night of memories and Rock n' Roll on his “Endangered Species” tour. Situated on a mountaintop in northeastern PA, Penn’s Peak is a unique music venue located away from the hustle and bustle of urban and suburban life. The venue is well known for its fantastic sightlines and wonderful acoustics; Penn’s Peak provides the setting for a truly memorable evening of music.
The near-capacity crowd had started to filter in when the opening act took the stage. Hailing from nearby Scranton, PA, blues musician Clarence Spady delighted those in attendance with a set of originals and covers, including “If My Life Was a Book” from his most recent album Surrender and the ubiquitous Robert Johnson classic “Sweet Home Chicago”. Spady finished his solo set and was sent off with raucous applause, having earned more than a handful of new fans.
Dave Mason and his star-studded ensemble took the stage for an unforgettable evening of classic hits from Traffic and Mason's landmark 1970 debut album, Alone Together. His band was a quartet of remarkable talent: the dexterous Johnne Sambataro on guitar and vocals, the rhythmic genius Marty Fera on drums, Bill Mason's masterful keyboard playing and vocal contributions, and Ray Cardwell's robust bass and vocal performances.
The evening's energy ignited as the band opened with the first track from Alone Together, "Only You Know and I Know." A song crafted by Mason during his tenure with Delaney & Bonnie, its performance laid the perfect groundwork for the night ahead. Following this, the audience was treated to a triumvirate of songs pulled directly from Traffic's celebrated discography. Included in this lineup was the iconic "Rock and Roll Stew" from Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, as well as "Pearly Queen" and "Forty Thousand Headmen" – both originating from Mason's inaugural experience with Traffic on their self-titled album.
The journey continued through the rich landscape of Mason's solo work, with inspired renditions of "World in Changes," "Every Woman," and the poignant "We Just Disagree." In a moment of raw intimacy, Mason shared captivating stories of his time with Delaney & Bonnie and the tour with Blind Faith. This narrative set the stage for the powerful performance of Blind Faith's iconic "Can't Find My Way Home," much to the audience's delight. This unforgettable night was a testament to the enduring power of Mason's music and his undeniable influence on the rock genre.
The title track from Low Spark of High Heeled Boys kicked off the more jam-centric portion of the evening, allowing the band to explore the complex arrangement and giving a great vehicle for each of the musicians to showcase their talents. Mason then reminisced about the importance of having an actual album back in the day, the work going into developing the album, the cover, and content provided, and then joked about the additional uses the albums themselves had in helping give a surface for the “cleaning” process, before jumping into the Alone Together classic “You Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave”. “Road Dogs” represented the lone contemporary track of the evening, written in 2021, a rock track dedicated to a musician’s life on the road. The set wrapped up with an energetic Traffic/Dylan pairing of “Dear. Mr. Fantasy” > “All Along the Watchtower”.
Mason closed out the night with what is likely the most well-known, and certainly most widely covered, song he’s ever written in “Feelin’ Alright”. The sing-along encore brought the crowd to their feet and sent everyone out with smiles on their faces and music in their hearts. Be sure to catch Dave Mason as he continues his “Endangered Species” tour.
'Only You Know and I Know, Rock and Roll Stew, Pearly Queen, Forty Thousand Headmen, World in Changes, Every Woman, We Just Disagree, Look at You Look at Me, Can’t Find My Way Home, Low Spark of High Heeled Boys, You Shouldn’t Have Took More Than You Gave, Road Dogs, Dear Mr Fantasy > All Along the Watchtower
E: Feelin’ Alright
JUL 24 MON Orpheum Theater @ 8:00pm Madison, WI
JUL 25 TUE Pantages Theatre @ 7:00pm Minneapolis, MN
JUL 27 THU City Auditorium @ 7:30pm Eureka Springs, AR
JUL 31 MON Boulder Theater @ 8:00pm Boulder, CO
AUG 2 WED Gothic Theatre @ 8:00pm Englewood, CO
SEP 9 SAT Rialto Theater @ 7:30pm Tacoma, WA
SEP 10 SUN Bing Crosby House @ 8:00pm Spokane, WA
SEP 14 THU Montalvo Arts Center @ 7:30pm Saratoga, CA
SEP 15 FRI Montalvo Arts Center @ 7:30pm Saratoga, CA
SEP 16 SAT Harrah's Lake Tahoe @ 7:30pm Stateline, NV
SEP 17 SUN Uptown Theatre Napa @ 7:30pm Napa, CA
SEP 19 TUE The Center For the Arts @ 7:30pm Grass Valley, CA
SEP 20 WED Golden State Theatre @ 8:00pm Monterey, CA
SEP 22 FRI Poway Center for the Performing Arts @ 7:30pm Poway, CA
SEP 23 SAT Solvang Festival Theater @ 7:00pm Solvang, CA
SEP 25 MON Coach House Concert Hall @ 8:00pm San Juan Capistrano, CA
SEP 28 THU Fremont Theater @ 8:00pm San Luis Obispo, CA, United States