The Egg was rockin’ on its foundation on Saturday night, as the double-bill of classic rock icons Leon Russell and Dave Mason blazed through two separate sets of songs that helped define the music of 1960s and well beyond.
Russell took the stage first, launching his 75-minute, high-energy set with “Jumping Jack Flash” and tearing through a repertoire of tunes popularized by the Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan and even the Temptations. From behind his keyboard, he also tipped his hat to one of his first employers with Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Great Balls Of Fire,” accompanied by rousing audience participation from the sold-out crowd.
With powerhouse bassist Jackie Wessel and drummer Brandon Holder holding a lock on the pulsating rhythm, Russell and guitarist Chris Simmons cut loose with keyboard flourishes, melodic interludes and searing guitar lines. It was a marvelous mix of honky-tonk-meets-rock ‘n’ roll by way of the blues and country music, and Russell’s rambling, raspy voice reminded the full-house that he is indeed an elder statesman of the rock pantheon.
Traffic co-founder Dave Mason’s show started in a casual manner with melodic pop songs like his late-1970’s hit single “We Just Disagree” and “Can’t Stop Worrying, Can’t Stop Loving.” But he soon turned up the heat, igniting tunes full of screaming electric-guitars and pounding beats.
The entire evening’s repertoire touched on the various shades of Mason’s illustrious, diverse musical career, which was forged through collaborations with Cass Elliott, Delaney & Bonnie, Jimi Hendrix, the Rolling Stones, Fleetwood Mac and, of course, his Traffic band-mate Steve Winwood.
Joining Dave Mason on stage were expressive bassist Gerald Johnson, guitarist Johnne Sambataro, keyboardist Anthony Patler and drummer Alvino Bennett.
Review and photographs by Andrzej Pilarczyk
In The Daily Gazette, David Singer wrote, “Leon Russell and Dave Mason – two legendary guys six degrees separated from pretty much any classic rock hit you can think of – sold-out the Egg’s Hart Theater Saturday night. While Russell opened the show and Mason played the stronger set, you couldn’t tell who the audience came to see, nor did it matter.”
NOTE: If you’re hoping to hear some more from Dave Mason, he’s scheduled to return to the area for a show at the Bearsville Theater in Woodstock on Saturday, June 5.