May 2, 2017
As a music fan, there is nothing better than when a band from your youth can still deliver the goods and do it was as much passion, fire, and charisma as they had when they first started. California-based roots hard rockers Tesla are celebrating their 30th anniversary with a summer tour supporting Poison and Def Leppard and being first on a three band bill only allotted them about 40 minutes. Was this even enough time to get shit done?
Tesla took the stage to a loud roar from the crowd as the band kicked into “Into the Now.” Right out the gates, I was blown the fuck away. Tesla sounded absolutely amazing and what I loved so much about this choice of an opener is that Tesla was obviously not comfortable resting solely on their nostalgic laurels. Lead guitarist Dave Rude suddenly went into a very familiar guitar solo that brought a huge roar from the crowd as “Edison’s Medicine” filled the shed. Visuals projected on the screens behind the band really added to the experience took the song and the show in general to a whole new level.
Tesla is tuning down these days but this move has taken Tesla into a much heavier and even darker sound which works extremely well with their material. Lead singer Jeff Keith’s vocals are still strong, powerful, and full of character while the music has taken on this much heavier vibe that compliments the heaviness of the lyrics. For instance, hearing “Edison’s Medicine” like this was mind blowing and it’s amazing just how the vibe of that song drastically changed but in a very positive way. Aside from “Edison’s Medicine”, the highlight for me was “Love Song.” The acoustic intro was played by both Dave Rude and Frank Hannon. The chemistry between those two are undeniable and as their acoustic intro came to a close, the hairs on my arm stood at straight attention.
“Love Song” is one of those songs that no matter how many times I hear it, it gives me goosebumps like it’s the first time I ever heard this song. As the crowd sang along, “Love will find a way”, no truer words could be sung at this very moment. Tesla brought things to a close with a mind blowing “Modern Day Cowboy” which showcased what a fucking monster guitarist Frank Hannon. That guy is so sadly underrated but every Tesla fan knows that this guy deserves way more credit.
As Tesla left the stage, as corny as it sounds, I just felt so full of happiness as everyone got to their feet screaming for more. 45 minutes just didn’t seem like nearly enough time but Tesla managed to do in 45 minutes what most bands can’t even do in twice that amount of time. Tesla’s music was always music that exuded positivity, hope, and optimism. Somehow, Tesla had a way of making the days just that much better when they were soundtrack and to this day their music is a huge part of my life. Educational, emotional, raw, and real are the best words I can use to describe Tesla and 35 years later they are still delivering the goods, rocking houses, and bringing smiles to people’s faces.
Oh yeah, and Poison and Def Leppard played too.