BY THOMAS S. ORWAT, JR.
Niagara Falls, NY- The multiplatinum selling band Tesla played to an enthusiastic sold-out crowd on a beautiful spring evening on Saturday. The band is currently on their “Time to Rock” tour, aptly named after their most recently released single.
The Sacramento, California based band begin in 1981, originally under the name City Kidd, but then changed to the name Tesla shortly before their breakthrough debut 1986 record, ‘Mechanical Resonance.’ Since then, Tesla has sold over 14 million records in the USA alone and have built a reputation as a great LIVE band.
Tesla currently consists of original classic line-up members Jeff Keith-vocals, Brian Wheat-bass, Frank Hannon-guitar with Dave Rude-guitar (joined in 2006, replacing Tommy Skeoch) with touring drummer Steve Brown (replaced Troy Luccketta in 2019).
The last time that Tesla performed in the Western New York area was a headlining show on April 13, 2019 at the Rapids Theatre in Niagara Falls, NY. Prior to that, they performed shorter sets opening for Def Leppard in both 2016 and 2015 at Darien Lake PAC.
On this evening, Tesla played a high energy 90-minute, 16-song set consisting of almost all of their hits with a few lesser-known songs, such as “Pvt. Ledbetter” and “Love Me” added in to appease the diehards. They had a great stage presence and a cool stage production with big LED screen flashing corresponding images to the songs.
The show kicked show off right on time at 8pm with the track “Lady Luck” from their multi-platinum selling record “The Great Radio Controversy.”
The band was firing on all cylinders, and unlike many bands touring these days, there was no questioning the authenticity of their live performance. It was 100% real, no enhancements, no tapes of background vocals rolling, no faking. Tesla had the audience up on their feet during the entire show.
Vocalist Jeff Keith, who at the age of 65 performs and looks like he is still in his 30’s, is a true rockstar, in the mold of Steven Tyler of Aerosmith. His powerful, passionate and unique vocals must be heard live to be truly appreciated. Keith brought the classic tracks “Modern Day Cowboy,” “Hang Tough,” and “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)” to another level.
While many bands from the 80’s have giving up on recording new music, Tesla most recent single “Time to Rock” is one of the best songs of their career and was played with great intensity on this evening.
The dynamic guitar duo of Frank Hannon and Dave Rude dazzled the audience through the evening. Both guitarists are incredibly talented and vastly underrated. Their dueling guitar work during the track “What You Give” was absolutely breathtaking. Frank Hannon’s precise use of the theremin (an electronic musical instrument controlled without physical contact by the performer) on “Edison’s Medicine (Man Out of Time)” was impressive.
Bassist Brian Wheat was spot on all evening, his bass is a prominent feature in the sound mix along his background vocals. Touring drummer Steve Brown is an incredibly talented drummer and probably likely to be named an official member of the band soon.
Some of the many highlights of the evening included the massive, epic fan favorite single “Love Song.” The guitar playing from Hannon and Rude was spectacular and Keith’s vocals were goosebump worthy. Also, the encore “Signs” had the audience singing back every word.
In summary, this was an incredible show from a band that many feel is one of the most underrated in their genre. Tesla has so many classic songs performed by extremely talented musicians. If you get the chance to see them, get off the couch and go!!! You won’t be sorry. Tesla is one of the best bands on the planet!
For more on Tesla, please visit www.teslatheband.com
TESLA – setlist 04/15/2023
Modern Day Cowboy
Time to Rock
Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)
Lazy Days, Crazy Nights
Call It What You Want
What You Give
Edison’s Medicine (Man Out of Time)
One of the best Live bands out there, have seen them multiple times and they seem to get better with age! Great review, Sir!