During the late 1960’s a band by the name of Traffic from Birmingham, England was introduced to the world. The band’s fusion of broad instrumentation, jazz, and rock captured audiences with a bundle of memorable tunes. The original lineup of Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, Chris Wood, and Dave Mason have not been together as a band in almost 43 years, but one day fans can dream of such a reunion. Meanwhile each member has gone onto respective solo careers over the past 4 decades. As Traffic, they were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2004. The music and memories of Traffic still live on and singer-songwriter Dave Mason recently announced a 30 plus date tour for 2014 spanning the next 4 months. The tour was designed as a retrospective of the exciting times and music of Traffic. With the tour kicking off a few weeks earlier, Dave Mason and his band came to The Paramount on Friday January 10th to give Long Islanders a slice of rock n roll history.
After a multimedia presentation of beautiful sight and sound, a large audience of classic rock enthusiastics welcomed Dave Mason and his 3-piece band to the stage with cheers and applause. The evening was highlighted by a collection of Traffic songs such as “Dear Mr. Fantasy”, “Medicated Goo”, “The Low Spark of High Heeled Boys”, “Rock ‘n’ Roll Stew”, and the classic “Feelin’ Alright”. Adding intrigue to the set of Traffic tunes was Mason’s storytelling of years gone by, painting pictures of the time period and feeling of the music. The audience was completely attentive between songs to Mason’s words and looking around there were many smiles among the audience as they reflected on history. The backing band of Alvino Bennett (drums), Alex Drizos (bass), Tony Patler (keyboards), and Johnne Sambataro (guitar) were smooth and cohesive as a unit, projecting a solid amplified sound. You could tell Mason has hand-picked a selection of capable musicians backing him with each song performed during the set.
As the set wore on there was more great Traffic tunes mixed in with some of Mason’s solo material. Switching from acoustic to electric guitar, it’s clear Mason’s guitar abilities have not diminished with age and his voice is still powerful and clear. When he played solo songs such as “Only You Know and I know” and “We Just Disagree” there was an overwhelming swell of applause showing that fans were not only here to listen Traffic tunes, but also to see a talented songwriter’s vast range of contributions to music.
Without an opening act, the evening had clear emphasis on the objective at hand which was to bring the world a collection of some of the most inventive tunes of the late 1960’s. Mason is a natural performer, with a charismatic personality, and keen sense of humor. For many this was much more than a nostalgic trip down memory lane, but more of an appreciative look at a band which played a large part in the progression of rock n roll music.