On Saturday August 25th, Dave Mason and Steve Cropper performed at the Baltimore Soundstage. Opening the night, the Dave Mason Band, sans Dave Mason and Steve Cropper came on stage to warm up the crowd. As one of them said, they really needed to warm us up since they had the AC cranked down to 65. It was cool, but not bad. Once the stage lights came on and the band started to play, that changed quickly!
Dave Mason’s band, played for about 30 minutes to warm up the audience. The resume of the Dave Mason band is impressive.
Guitar/Vocalist John Sambataro performed with the likes of Peter Frampton, Andy and Barry Gibb, David Coverdale/Jimmy Page and Eric Clapton.
Keyboard/Vocalist Tony Palter has performed with the likes of George Michael, Michael McDonald, Patti Labelle and Chaka Khan. Tony at one time became the music director for Chaka Khan.
Drummer Alvino Bennett as a great resume as well. Performing for Kenny Loggins, Sheena Easton, Little Richard, Chaka Khan and Stevie Wonder. He performed with Tony Palter with Chaka Khan.
The newest member of the band is exceptional vocalist Gretchen Rhodes. She has been a part of the Mick Fleetwood band for the past twelve years and has shared the stage with artists such as Steven Tyler, Kenny Chesney, George Clinton, and now with the Dave Mason band.
Then there are no other than Dave Mason and Steve Cropper. The resume between Dave and Steve is a bit mind blowing. Dave Mason was a co-founder of Traffic, was friend with and performed with Jimi Hendrix, was a member of Fleetwood Mac in the 1990’s and has had a long solo career. His biggest solo hit is “We Just Disagree” that made it to #12 in the Billboard Hot 100.
Last part of the band for this tour was Steve Cropper. Steve was the guitarist for the Stax Records house band and has performed with and co-wrote music with the likes of Booker T. & the M.G.’s, Sam & Dave, and Otis Redding. He later was a member of the Blues Brothers band. Rolling Stone has ranked him 39th of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time.
Dave Mason and Steve Cropper played with the band for close to two hours. A few songs during the evening either Dave or Steve would leave the stage to give the other a time to shine on their own.
This was a very good show. I admit I had heard about Steve Cropper, but I did not realize the impact he has had on music. He told some very interesting stories behind writing and playing some of the songs he is best known for. Dave Mason on the other hand I know very well. I have always loved the song “We Just Disagree”. Dave surprised me on the show. With this song being his biggest solo song, you would expect the song to be played during the encore, but it was song number three for them for the night. Since Dave shared the stage with Steve, they both performed some of the songs they are best known for early in the show, which gave them a chance to relax and enjoy playing a good mix of songs.
Gretchen Rhodes sang vocals on many of the songs and was great. She has great vocals and had a calm relaxing persona that helped set the tone for the evening.
Some of the songs they performed were “Green Onions” (Booker T & the M. G’s), “Dear Mr. Fantasy” (Traffic), “Sitting on the Dock of the Bay” (Otis Redding), and “Soul Man” (Sam & Dave).
One of the best parts of the show, Dave, Steve, and Gretchen did something that you do not see often anymore. At the end of the show, they mentioned they will come out and sign autographs. When I heard this, I was surprised and not sure if I heard what I thought I heard. When the show was over I stood around to see if a long line was going to form for the meet and greet after the show, but to my surprise, less than a quarter of the audience stayed. I sure did and saying hi to them and getting their autographs was a perfect end to a fun night of music.
Overall for the night I give the night a solid A. The few small dings on the night. When the show started the AC was on full blast and comfortable. But then it felt like the AC was turned off and it was at times a bit uncomfortable with the temp. I had someone there for the show ask me if I thought it was getting hot in there and it sure was. The other thing. The Baltimore Soundstage is a nice venue, walking in, there is not any sort of wow factor, you walk into a room of blackness. Walls, ceilings, tables and chairs are all black. I was also disappointed at the selection of food and drink. For a place that size, having three bars they could have a better selection of draft beer and drinks. Would I come to a show here again, certainly would.
Photos by Jeff Talbert