Tesla – 06/24/2022 – Treasure Island Resort and Casino
So, I’m gonna do things a little differently here today. I’m going to write the first part of my review before I even go see Tesla tonight at Treasure Island Resort and Casino and the rest after the show. Call it a creative endeavor. I want to do this primarily because I’ve never seen Tesla live. It isn’t because I didn’t particularly like Tesla, I just don’t think I liked them enough. So then, why am I covering this show? I think I’m doing this more in hopes that they finally push me on one side of the fence and win me over or turn me off forever. The headbanger in me says that Tesla, by all means, does not fit into a metal category (even hair metal), but more solidly in a rock/folk-rock, or maybe a blues-rock category. I appreciate the history of singer Jeff Keith belting out songs in his big rig trying to get his shot and finally making it big. That’s a pretty cool story. Their first album “Mechanical Resonance” hit big with me, but received enough airplay that it almost turned me off from them forever. Enough to the point that future albums just didn’t hold that much interest for me. So, I didn’t follow them. It will be very interesting to see how my perspective changes over the course of the next few hours. Looking forward to the second half of this review.
(Cue time-lapse music)
Ok, I’m home. I’m hoarse, deaf and I simply can not believe how much fun I had! The house was packed, only a few seats left in the upper rows. For all intents and purposes, it was a full house. For being a guy that’s never owned a Tesla album, there was only one song I didn’t recognize (besides the two new songs they played). So, clearly, if you’re a guy like me who would typically have a “take ’em or leave ’em” approach to Tesla, you wouldn’t feel left out and just swaying back and forth, looking at your feet at the show.
First and foremost, if you want to see a guy in the middle of the best day ever, you need to look into drummer Steve Brown. You can just tell that he’s definitely a guy who’s doing exactly what he wants to do every day and is exactly where he wants to be in life. God love ya, Steve, you’ve helped me set a goal for how happy I want to be!
Let’s not forget about singer Jeff Keith and his very unique voice. He will never be duplicated. A lot of singers that put their voices through hell for a decade just sound different over time. While I’ve never seen Tesla live before, he hit every note of every song I knew note for note.
I’m not going to lie, knowing that these guys have been around for more than 35 years, I was watching and waiting for them to make a mistake (or a whole series of them). Not only is it apparent that they have LOTS of practice with their own songs (I’m sure they could play them in their sleep), but it clearly showed that their sound is just as important to this tour as it was 30 years ago. They hit every note, every beat and anything that wasn’t as it was recorded was an embellishment that actually made them sound even better.
If I could ask for one thing to be redone, it would be to have a more dynamic stage show. With the exception of Jeff Keith being all over the stage, everyone pretty much stayed in their assigned spaces. Bassist Brian Wheat only made an occasional appearance toward the front of the stage. I found Wheat’s lack of presence particularly surprising given how prolific his bass lines are in a majority of their songs.
The show opened with “Modern Day Cowboy” and continued with hit after hit including “What You Give”, “Hang Tough” and it wouldn’t be a Tesla show without “Love Song”. The most amazing part of the show was Frank Hannon playing a Theremin during “Edison’s Medicine” (yeah, you’re gonna have to look it up). Way way cool! They closed the show and encouraged the crowd to keep cheering and they might come back out for a song or two. Their encore started with a new song called “Time to Rock” and it is clear that they aren’t done rocking yet. This one song had plenty of crunch to it to make me reconsider my classification blast before I saw them live. They finally closed the show with “Signs” and I felt like this was the most complete show I’ve seen in a long long time. Thanks guys, you did it. You won me over.
Another huge thank you needs to go out to Treasure Island Resort and Casino. The Event Center facilities are top notch and the staff (all staff, security, tickets, cart and bus drivers, literally everyone) truly understands the hospitality industry and what it takes to stand out. Friendly and helpful, even when it was security keeping people from rushing the front row during their favorite song or keeping the aisles clear. Well done, TI. I won’t ever hesitate to come see a show in your venue.