Chris Loomis

Tesla @ House of Blues – Anaheim 1/5/2012

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Tesla brought their Twisted Wires Acoustic Tour to the Anaheim House of Blues on Thursday night January 5. This show was originally scheduled for November 20, 2010 but had to be postponed due to illness. Original members Jeff Keith, Brian Wheat, Frank Hannon and Troy Luccketta alongside Dave Rude (who replaced original guitarist Tommy Skeoch in 2006) are celebrating the 1990 live release Five Man Acoustical Jam (which spawned the MTV unplugged era) and their latest release Twisted Wires and the Acoustic Sessions. Now when most people hear the term “acoustic show” the vision of a mellow and slow show come to mind . . . well think again as Tesla has the unique ability to turn an acoustic show into a rockin, foot stompin, fist pumping good time.

At about 9:20pm an announcement came over the PA stating that Tesla was about to take the stage, the curtain opened to a well-lit, stripped down stage with a large backdrop displaying the Tesla logo, a drumset and four stools. The diverse crowd (young kids to elder adults) in the ¾ filled venue greeted the band with enthusiasm and loud Tesla chants. The band appeared from sidestage, strapped on their instruments and went right into “Cumin’ Atcha Live” which ended with “Truckin” by The Greatful Dead (the same songs they opened the Five Man Acoustical Jam show/recording with) then followed with an killer acoustic version of “Hang Tough”. The entire band looked and sounded fantastic. Jeff Keith’s voice is as strong as it was in the band’s early days and Frank Hannon is quite the guitar player demonstrating throughout the show his acoustic, electric and slide guitar talents. Brian Wheat made certain the crowd knew he was in Anaheim as he wore an Anaheim Ducks NHL Jersey for the entire set and Jeff Keith was also showing some California Love by wearing a Kenny Stabler Oakland Raiders NFL jersey.

The band appeared to be really enjoying themselves onstage as well as interacting with each other and the crowd. Keith really adds some excitement to the acoustic set as at times he is quite active onstage, jumping off his stool and dancing around. Frank Hannon plugged in for a few songs which added an additional rock element to the show but the highlight was a 100% acoustic version of the hard-rockin classic “Modern Day Cowboy” which had only Rude, Keith and Hannon onstage with Keith singing along with the acoustic guitars. This “unplugged” version of the song sure got the crowd rockin and rollin and was a momentum builder for the last couple of songs which included “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)”, the smash hit “Love Song” and an encore of The Five Man Electrical Band cover “Signs”.

For an acoustic show this was 90 minutes of high energy rock n roll. Tesla have undoubtedly stood the test of time from the late 80’s and are a relevant and talented rock n roll band in the year 2012. I look forward to a full blown “plugged in” Tesla tour in the future. The Twisted Wires Acoustic Tour plays Sacramento, CA for two nights at the end of January and the tour continues across the US and ends in Scottsdale, AZ on March 31. Be sure to catch Tesla when they hit your town!

SetList:
Cumin’ Atcha Live / Truckin’
Hang Tough
The First Time
Thank You (Led Zeppelin cover)
A Lot to Lose
What a Shame
Second Street
Better Off Without You
Caught in a Dream
I Love You (Climax Blues Band cover)
Modern Day Cowboy
Paradise
Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)
Love Song
Encore:
Signs (Five Man Electrical Band cover)

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