This is a very special weekend at Hard Rock Live in Hollywood Florida. British legends Joe Cocker and http://slotoff.com/ (slotoff.com) Dave Mason are kicking off our autumn treating us to a ‘Feelin’ Alright’ kind of vibe with two sold out shows. Dave Mason may be best known as a member of the legendary band Traffic (with Steve Winwood, Jim Capaldi, and Chris Wood). Their hits with Mason included «Feelin’ Alright,» (which was also covered by Cocker) «Paper Sun,» and «Hole in My Shoe,» all reached the British charts.
Mason originally left the band in 1967 only to return in 1968 for a brief stint before finally leaving for good and branching out as a solo artist. As an artist and composer Mason has penned over 100 songs, received gold and platinum albums for «Alone Together,» «Dave Mason,» «Maripsosa De Oro,» and «Let If Flow,» which included the top 10 single «We Just Disagree.» As a musician he has played on some of the most influential albums in rock history. These performances include Paul McCartney’s ‘Listen To What The Man Said,’ The Rolling Stones’ ‘Beggars Banquet,’ Jimi Hendrix’s ‘Electric Ladyland,’ (Mason played acoustic guitar on «All Along the Watchtower») and George Harrison’s groundbreaking solo effort ‘All Things Must Pass.’ He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame with the band Traffic in 2004.
Joe Cocker’s gravely bluesy voice is unmistakable in the world of music. Performing at Woodstock in 1969 he stopped the crowd dead in their tracks with a cover version of The Beatles classic, «With A Little Help from My Friends.» To this day it remains as one of my favorite covers. His odd physical stage performances only added to the legend he would become. Waving arms, grimacing faces, air guitar playing, Joe Cocker live was an artist like no other.
He appeared quite maddening until he opened his mouth and his incredible vocals were unleashed. His skit with John Belushi on the television show Saturday Night Live performing ‘Feelin’ Alright,’ is one of the most memorable moments in the shows history. Belushi appeared as Cocker dueting with well, Cocker. His classic album, «Mad Dogs and Englishmen,» is considered his staple and most enduring release. Cocker became radio gold with his number 5 heartfelt song «You Are So Beautiful.» He hit pay dirt once again with his duet with Jennifer Warnes «Up Where We Belong,» from the movie ‘An Officer and a Gentleman.» The song hit the number 1 spot on the charts and led to other top hits, ‘You Can Leave Your Hat On,’ (from the film 9 ½ Weeks, 1986) and ‘When The Night Comes,’ in 1990.
Cocker was also awarded an OBE (Order of the British Empire) in the Queen’s 2007 Birthday Honours list for services to music. But tonight it’s South Florida’s night turn to welcome the Brits back to our shores. Dave Mason opened with show with an acoustic set featuring fellow guitarist Johnne Sambataro. I’m familiar with Mason’s hits but I’ve never been a big fan. His guitar work is among the best in the business and he certainly made the best of his ½ hour opening set.
His vocals were strong and clear and genuinely enchanted and entertained the Hard Rock audience. His set included such hits as «Fantasy,» «We Just Disagree,» and the Hendrix classic «All Along the Watchtower.» The question on the table is: who needs electric guitars when you have two virtuosos such as these two gentlemen playing 6 and 12 string acoustics? The inevitable answer is you don’t. Turn off the electricity; the voltage coming from their strings is enough to light the place on its own.
Joe Cocker from start to finish is the consummate performer. His voice this evening was pure Joe all the way. He is all the best rock and blues has to offer in one performer. Not only does he have the years, experience and hits to back it up but is stage presence is undeniably entertaining. His back up band (six musicians, two female backing vocalists) played as tight as a drum and was a show all on their own.
Joe dressed all in black took center stage behind a solitary mic, bathed in spotlights and never relinquished his stand. Gone was the wild physical flaying performance of the past though he did throw in some air guitar for good measure. He looked more like a proper British accountant rather than a rock star. My how times have changed. Seasoned vets like Cocker don’t rely or need a lot of fanfare and fancy staging. Their music performances speak for themselves and the sold out audience on this opening night was eating it up; hook, line and sinker.