ROCK NEVER STOPS
Sacramento's own Tesla headlined the Rock Never Stops Tour which made its final destination at Raley Field on last saturday night. In the middle of a record heat wave, the weather was hot to say the least, and even a little humid just before the sun went down over the ballpark wall. Sweat was dripping off the Kevin Dubrow's brow within a couple of minutes of being on stage. Quiet Riot and Dokken picked up the place of Skid Row and Jackyl when Skid Row decided to forego the rest of the tour and head back into the studio to finish their coming album. Quiet Riot wasn't any better than they were in the eighties, not expecting much, I wasn't disappointed. Dubrow's voice was exactly the same, just as he is still trying to ride on the coat tails of Randy Rhoads guitar prowess. Quiet Riot was formed by guitar god Randy Rhoads and Kevin Dubrow over a quarter of a century ago. They had their most successful period shortly after the death of Randy Rhoads with the release of their Metal Health album which gave respect to heavy metal as the first metal album to make it the number one album on Billboards top 100. I thought it still sounded better in my memories of old. Rudy Sarzo is still with them and in prime forum, with all the bass licks pounding out right on time. Music is old and outdated within a decade or less of the height of its popularity these days. Hell, what's new is already old on the other side of the country. Ask Iron Maiden what it's like to be the biggest band in the world for much of the eighties in contrast to playing the small venues like the Palace in L.A. and the Maritime Hall in San Francisco in the mid-nineties.
Dokken put on as strong performance than Quiet Riot did, the crowd was raucous as all hell getting out. Screaming all the words right on cue as Dokken was "Breaking the Chains" around us. Ripping guitar work always does it for me and I found myself quite enjoying the better part of Dokken's set. There was a moment of confusion as feedback from the microphone of some guy that was singing back up vocals from behind this stack of monitors for one of the songs and he just says, "Get that sh*# the fu~% out of here." and the guy just walked away from the mike with this it's not my fault I fu#*ed up your song look on his face. Vince Neil came on stage amidst the drunken screams for song requests as the fans of Motley Crue let themselves be known. The set was all Motley Crue songs and sure to please the crowd. The band was phenomenal and certainly did the memories justice. Unfortunately, Vince Neil has let the vocal chords go to pot, and no longer has the same sound. I can't explain what he's not doing, but I saw the Crue rock back in the day and those nights were just unreal, completely unforgettable. Vince opened the set with "Kick Start My Heart" and "Knock Em Dead." The crowd of about four thousand showed up to completely fill the area of Raley Field cordoned off for the concert. This crowd was a Tesla crowd more than any other band there today, local boys make good (music) story. To be sure, me fitting in to the same category, not being a long time local, but, a Tesla fan since I bought Mechanical Resonance for the first time in 1986, shortly after it hit the shelves everybody had it.
Here is a band that has endured and grown though the trials and tribulations of life. Forged lifelong friendships that define family, and learned from the inevitable repercussions of living in excess. Well grounded out, with families, and newly directed energies Tesla has re-emerged as a band unit to again share their musical inspirations with the world. Be on the lookout for a Rocktime Magazine interview with Tesla guitarist Frank Hannon for a complete update on what we can expect from Tesla as far as plans for the future. Tesla has been through some tough times and butted heads with some irrreconciable differences. That combined with the popularity of grunge and the Seattle music scene left the band with little choice but to dissolve. Much later, after much personal growth of band members miles away from the rolling stone life. A one-time reunion show was scheduled for Tesla to play the Sacramento ARCO Arena and to the band's surpise, the show sold out. Leaving Jeff Keith and company little choice but to tour relentlessly for the next seven months selling out most every venue on the tour. This reaffirmed their faith in themselves as a band with an audience and determined their future as a mainstay in rock and roll. They delivered stellar rock performances to devout fans all over the nation, see Rocktime Magazine review and photos of last year's Tesla /Ted Nugent show.The shows were all recorded and a compilation of live Tesla songs was released on the infamous day 9/11/2001. Needless to say, they probably sold about three of them before the attack and then the nation cried. The double live compilation is available to buy direct from the band at Teslatheband.com along with a fun, short, but informative history on Tesla.
The band was psyched to be in front of the hometown crowd which must have sold out the venue with walk-up ticket sales. Tesla walked on the stage and a barrage of cat calls, whistles, and greetings yelled from friends, family, and fans came drowning each other out. They opened with "Cumin' Atcha Live" a balls out rocker with intricate lead on top of lead guitars interlacing the scorching guitarwork of Tommy Skeoch and Frank Hannon. This song really makes me tick, it is Tesla's way of saying, "Hello, stick around, it gets even better than this." Then a surprise Black Sabbath cover of "War Pigs" that soared with emotion and certainly is a message of the times. Back to another song from their double platinum debut album Mechanical Resonance, "Gettin' Better" and then the ever classic "The Way It Is" from Five Man Acoustical Jam. Which didn't sell as well as their other albums, but holds more water than the rest for me. This album was a live recording of one show where Tesla had decided to do all acoustic versions of their old songs and some other favorites form other bands that they identify with.
The shows must have been phenomenal as the truest test of a band's merit is to see how they sound with acoustic intruments. Mind you, these perfomances and the ensuing Tesla album became the formula for MTV's show Unplugged. "Song and Emotion" was next, this song was written in the wake of Steve Clarke's death in 1989 is the epitome of music to me as real feelings hail in all the world's best songs. Death is always a big motivator for outpourings of emotion. A re-mix of a 60's classic became Tesla'a most popular song and soared them to the top of the charts, and is always a real treat live as they pleased all present with their trademark version of "Signs." The set list was shaping up quite nicely as they went right back into their roots of electric wailing guitars laid out after a melodic intro that makes "Little Suzie" one of their best songs and a Tesla concert must play. Tesla songs are songs of hope and determination, songs that relish the American dream in all of its pursuits, you just gotta love them. "Mama's Fool" was next, followed by "What You Give," a selfless tune that surely embodies the message of Tesla. This song is from their third album Psychotic Supper, also a double platinum selling album.
The Tesla set was a great mix of their best songs from all of their musical periods, including the next song which was the rarest and most special treat of them all. Frank Hannon, guitar genius, has written a song that rivals the blues masters Willie Dixon and Robert Johnson. If they were alive today, I'm sure they would have been taking notes on saturday night. Frank ripped through some amazing blues riffs that I truly believed to be a cover song of some old traditonal blues song like "Travelling Riverside Blues" or something from that era. A little poking around waiting for Frank to come out into the meet and greet area and I was pleasantly surprised to find the answers to some of my questions. I ran into one of Frank's friends from the area and he actually new the name of the song I'm talking about. I'll qoute, since I cannot confirm the accuracy until I do an interview with Frank. Jess, Frank's friend said the song is titled "Summer's Day" and that it is a song written for his daughter Summer. This was the juicy tidbit I was searching for and filled in the blanks in my setlist. Frank was solo on the stage as the band was taking a break while Frank poured out his soul on a single acoustic guitar from stage right. He followed this amazing blues song with the Tesla fan's mandatory "Love Song" to make it all perfect. The show was not over as Jeff Keith and the rest of the band returned to the stage plugged in and as loud as could be they whipped out "Modern Day Cowboy" for a closer. The band encored with a new song titled "Heaven" which will likely be on a coming Tesla album. Thanks for reading and we'll see ya at the shows.
COUNTING CROWS DEF LEPPARD CHER THE OTHER ONES AEROSMITH TOM PETTY & THE HEARTBREAKERS PAUL McCARTNEY SANTANA SHERYL CROW TESLA JAY-Z AND 311 OZZFEST 2000 OZZFEST 2001 OZZFEST 2002 DAVID BOWIE AND MOBY AT AREA2 THE WHO JACKSON
PAPA ROACH, P.O.D.,CYPRESS HILL, & ROB ZOMBIE MORNING SPRING RAIN FESTIVAL JUNE 2002 THE ALLMAN BROTHERS BAND MIDNIGHT OIL MT. AIRE 2002 BIG HEAD TODD CROSBY, STILLS, NASH AND YOUNG BUSH AND DEFAULT INCUBUS BLUES TRAVELER LINKIN PARK IN
BRYAN ADAMS AT THE FILLMORE LINKIN PARK & P.O.D. CROSBY, STILLS, AND NASH STRING CHEESE INCIDENT
FUEL & SALIVA AEROSMITH 2002 STEVIE NICKS THE
AEROSMITH 2001 BLINK 182 THE STRINGCHEESE INCIDENT OZZFEST 2001 BAD COMPANY LINKIN PARK OZZFEST 2000 MARILYN
MEGADETH TED NUGENT
NEW YEAR'S EVE 2000-2001
THIRD EYE BLINDSUMMER
YES THE FURTHUR FESTIVAL 2000 THE B.B. KING
THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT JOE WALSH
CROSBY, STILLS, NASH, AND YOUNGREUNION TOUR 2000 NYE
WITH THE STRING CHEESE INCIDENT
MILLENIUM TOUR 2000
ZZ TOP & LYNYRD SKYNYRD TOM PETTY
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