TESLA Gives A Jolt To Orlando; Packing Two Back-To-Back Nights At House Of Blues

May 12, 2023, 3 weeks ago

Words and Photos by Joel Barrios

gallery hard rock tesla

After more than 35 years in the music landscape, and thousands of sold out shows under their belt, Sacramento rockers Tesla are a living statement of consistency in spades. While many of its contemporaries struggle on the oldies circuit, Tesla have managed to remain relevant and in high demand, perfecting their performances to a degree that not only young fans but old loyal ones enjoy from beginning to end. The dynamism, the energy, and the bond between them can be felt by everyone in the room, some sort of intangible element that forms over time and really brings this and any classic rock show to the top of my list of favorite shows to attend. And their second night in a row at Orlando's House of Blues this past weekend was no different. The previous night show was a sold-out affair, and Saturday’s event saw the venue almost at capacity.

Packing a different set-list from the previous night, the five “electrical man” went on stage with one single mission: rock out the hearts and souls of the clamoring fans in front of them, to the point of exhaustion. And that, they did, effortlessly. Guitarists Frank Hannon and Dave Rude showcased all their abundant talent; adding plenty of rock flair to a selection of songs that besides the usual hits, included not so commonly played cuts like “Shine Away” and “Pvt. Ledbetter”, taking the audience's reaction to even higher levels. The band was as tight as ever, with Steve’s drumming and Brian Wheat’s on-point basslines providing a pounding-machine like backbone, to complement Jeff’s voice, which honestly sounded like he did 20 years ago, with his unmistakably soulful and raspy register cutting through the band's heavy guitar-driven sound. I could close my eyes and feel transported back in time to my teenage years, when I was blasting The Great Radio Controversy from a cassette tape. It felt both magical and exhilarating.

The night continued – as the crowd’s excitement amplified – to the sound of those timeless anthems that molded the lives of the hundreds in attendance. From full hard rock n’ roll mode, with the rich harmonies of “Lazy Days, Crazy Nights,” to the soaring and heartfelt lines of “What You Give”, chanted by the audience in unison, to “Miles Away" from the highly underrated Into The Now album, which gave Hannon a chance to cut loose on guitar and the theremin, Tesla left no doubt whatsoever that the magic of writing great songs and memorable guitar riffs shines strong with them.

As expected when you are having a blast, the show felt too short, and by the time they started waving the whole venue started clamoring Tesla! Tesla! … We were all hungry for more. Happily obliging, they proceeded to close the evening with an electrifying rendition of “Signs”, and Hannon extended solo on his double-neck guitar was the stuff guitar player’s dreams are made of.

Tesla rocking songs still hit hard, their ballads still soar to high places, and the fans filling the place to the rafters sang along nonstop as they were treated to a great night out. Exuding a fun and confident vitality, and giving their followers an unforgettable dose of outstanding and energetic musicianship with every live show, Tesla are a true testimony of a band which have aged well like a fine wine and have only gotten better with time.

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