Mack's own personal passion for music is clearly evident when just hours later he is performing at a pre-festival gig at downtown bar Bobwundaye joined by stalwarts of the Taipei music scene, many of whom have themselves been brought together through Daniel's musical legacy.
The Daniel Pearl World Music Day, now in its tenth year, has grown to become the inspiration for over 6,000 concerts in more than 100 countries to commemorate the journalist who was murdered by al-Qaida militants in Pakistan in 2002.
For Mack and other friends of Daniel who were reunited in Taipei on Thursday against a backdrop of beers, blues, gypsy jazz and Stevie Ray Vaughan, to name but a few influences, fond memories abound of a man who was much loved by those who knew him and respected as a musician who united many others.
An accomplished and noted journalist for the Wall Street Journal, Daniel died while on assignment to Pakistan where he was investigating suspected links between "shoe bomber" Richard Reid and al-Qaida. He was subsequently abducted by the organization and brutally murdered at the hands of his captors on February 1, 2002, just four months after the terror attacks of 9/11.
A keen fiddle and mandolin player, Daniel was always enthusiastic to seek out fellow musicians, both at home and on assignments overseas. "Daniel had amazing chops. He could get up on stage with any group of musicians and in five minutes, he'd be right in the pocket," Mack said of his friend, whom he met through playing in bands together.
In tribute to his life, Daniel's friends and family founded the Daniel Pearl foundation with the explicit mission to "promote tolerance and understanding through journalism, music and dialogue."
The annual Daniel Pearl World Music Day uses the universal language of music to promote harmony for humanity, which also serves as the official motto for the event.
This years event in Taipei will take place on September 11, the tenth anniversary of the al-Qaida attacks on New York and Washington, at Taipei's Huashan Grassland, where close to twenty bands will take to the stage in celebration of a man whose musical legacy is growing stronger year by year.
"This event signifies the catalytic power of music to unite people, whether it be musicians playing out together or an audience sharing an experience. I'm sure Daniel's up there smiling," Mack said.
Sean Scanlan, founder of the Taipei concert, wished to emphasize the spirit of open-mindedness and tolerance at the heart of the event. "The event is purposefully not simply a rock or hip-hop concert. We want to make it as diverse and inclusive as possible, so for example this year we have a local country band, a band all the way from France, you might even get a night market band!" he said.
Scanlan said the ultimate purpose of the free festival is to bring people together and further cross-cultural understanding. He said of Daniel, "When he was traveling around the world, he would purposefully seek out other musicians. He wouldn't go to places to judge people: he was a dude just enjoying the music. We want to bring musicians together as musicians and let everybody share in that feeling."
Todd Mack, who himself will be coordinating the end of festival jam in which any musician is welcome to participate, said of this year's event, "This hands down is the biggest most diverse lineup yet and just the kind of thing that Daniel himself would be at, on or off the stage."
Beginning at 1pm, the day's program will begin with a minute's silence followed by over nine hours of performances across two stages.
In a statement to be read out on Sunday, Daniel's parents said in dedication to the artists taking part, "Your music will resonate today in sharp defiance of the forces that took our son's life and will reinforce our unshaken conviction that, at the end of the day, music will triumph and humanity will prevail."