Orlando, FL (May 5th, 2023)
It’s loud, it’s raucous, it’s absolutely packed and above all else it’s an insanely good time. Yes the House of Blues Orlando is sold out and rocking hard courtesy of Tesla. Since the early eighties when they burst on the scene with their first album Mechanical Resonance this quintet has been a force to reckon with. While the eighties were the height of the hair band era, Tesla flew the hard rock flag to set themselves apart from their contemporaries. In choosing this path, instead of falling by the wayside like those of that genre, they stayed true to what they do best and to this day they are rocking as hard as ever. It’s this staying power and of course their catalog that has brought everyone to the House Of Blues for the first of a two night stand.
With the capacity crowd singing along to the classic rock hits pumped through the house PA, the sense of excitement on everyone was palpable. After all a Friday night and one of the greatest rock acts to come out of the early eighties is a pretty heady combination. Finally, the moment arrived that everyone was waiting for, the house lights dimmed, and Tesla’s emblem was emblazoned on the video screens behind the drum kit. Finally, the band came out on stage. As the stage lights came up they launched into “Lady Luck” from their hit album The Great Radio Controversy. Seconds into the song it was obvious the band brought their A game. Between their recent residency in Las Vegas, and their time on the just docked Monsters Of Rock Cruise they were razor sharp and tight. Throughout the song the video screens behind the band was displaying roulette wheels, cards, dice and of course women. It suited the song to a tee.
Without a seconds hesitation, they launched into another fan favorite “Modern Day Cowboy” from their debut album Mechanical Resonance. Just like the first song, the guys sounded incredible. Dave Rude and Frank Hannon traded fierce solos and at one point they came together at center stage and were joined by bassist Brian Wheat. For any fan that was at the rail and had a cell phone handy it was a perfect rock moment to capture. When the song ended, Brian Wheat went half way up Steve Brown’s tiered drum riser. With the stage lights dimmed and a spot light on him he pounded out the incredibly recognizable bass line to “Hang Tough”. As with the preceding songs, this classic fan favorite was performed to perfection.
While Tesla has a well known career based on some of the best rock music to come out of the eighties, they haven’t stopped turning out great songs. “Time To Rock” their latest single was up next. In Tesla fashion they rocked it. Even if you weren’t familiar with their latest single it blended into their set seamlessly and everyone in the place was really into it. The other relatively new song that they played was “Miles Away” which came from the 2004 release Into The Now. The performance had all the underlying intensity of the recoded version with the added an added raw feeling to it.
For all the fans lucky enough to get a ticket to this sold out show, this night played out like a live greatest hits album. The setlist was chock full of their absolute best songs. If you wanted to hear their rocking songs “Heavens Trail”, “Edisons Medicine”, and “Call It What You Want” were served up. For fans that like their slower songs, you were in luck too as “Changes”, “What You Give” and “Song And Emotion” were brilliantly played as well.
In classic Tesla style they saved the best for last. The road crew set up two acoustic guitars on stage, then Dave Rude and Frank Hannon started in on the acoustic into to “Little Suzi”. When the electric part kicked in Hannon grabbed his trusty electric double neck guitar and he and the rest of the band played a rollicking version that everyone loved. They saved arguably their biggest hit song for last Jeff Keith came on stage wearing a hat and the band launched into “Signs”. At just the right point in the song Keith tossed off the hat to let his hair down, which of course the audience loved.
After forty plus years, Tesla hasn’t lost a step and sounds as good as they ever have. Their brand of hard rock music is timeless and tonight they showed everyone that while the recorded version is great, being part of their live show is just that much better. With their two night stand at the House Of Blues Orlando in the books successfully, you may not have had the chance to catch them this time around. So when they are in your area, grab a ticket and have a great time.
House Of Blues Orlando: