Dave Mason brings Traffic jam to Kauai

Rock and roll hall of famer Dave Mason is coming to Kauai next Friday for an evening of rock music time travel.

Kicking off the set with an ode to his early days, Mason will play high notes from the first two albums released by Traffic, the psychedelic English rock group he co-founded in with Steve Winwood when they were teenagers. He’ll then move into the classic records that launched his solo career before finishing with songs from his 2014 album, “Future’s Past.”

“It’s a little musical travelogue all the way back to the days of Traffic and all the way up to the present time,” the 69-year-old Englishman-turned-California resident said.

The show is set for 7 p.m. June 12 at Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center.

Mason has penned dozens of hits, and his legendary guitar work has graced the tracks of the rock and roll elite including Eric Clapton, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones and Fleetwood Mac. That’s Mason playing 12-string acoustic guitar on Jimi Hendrix’s famous rendition of “All Along the Watchtower.”

As a member of Traffic, Mason wrote the group’s “Feelin’ Alright,” which became an international rock anthem 1968. Though he helped launch the band, he stayed with it only intermittently before relocating to the U.S. to jumpstart his solo act.

“I actually do one Traffic song from the time after I left, it’s a blues version of ‘The Low Spark of High-Heeled Boys,’” Mason said, explaining the set he plans to bring to Kauai. “And there are some other songs I’ve tweaked around with a little bit. They’re still recognizable, but I’ve given them a bit of my own touch. From the response we’ve had, people are really liking it.”

Mason plays about 115 shows a year, but he said it’s been 20-something years since he last played a show on Kauai. The upcoming Kauai show is part of a four-island tour, with sets planned on Maui, Big Island and Oahu.

“Playing live is live,” Mason said. “That’s the great part of it. You’re there in the moment. It’s not being in cyber world, it’s live and it’s right there and it’s real.”

In addition to hits and deep album cuts from Traffic’s 1967 “Mr. Fantasy” and 1968 “Traffic” albums, as well as Mason’s solo material, the show will include a visual presentation featuring rare vintage concert posters and photographs of Mason performing through the years. Mason said he’ll also tell tales from the road.

“I’m just very happy to be coming back over there doing these shows and I hope people will come and turn out for this so we can come back again,” he said. “Musically, you will not be disappointed.”

Tickets to “Dave Mason’s Traffic Jam” on June 12 at Kauai Community College’s Performing Arts Center are $45 for general admission and $65 for gold circle seating. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.


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