Clearfield County Fair
Wednesday August 2, 2023
Review/Photos: Joseph Suto
Tesla has always been mislabeled. Formed smack dab in the middle of the 1980’s, the band was always lumped in with the so-called hair bands of the era. While their music roots seem to have come to age in the 70’s, the only resemblance to other bands from that era was their long hair and the fact they toured with many of the bands that they were unjustly associated with. They didn’t dress up in fancy costumes nor did they try to become a flavor of the month. The one thing that has always stood out about Tesla is their love of the guitar. Whether it be the fiery assault one hears on “Edison’s Medicine” or the softer acoustic side demonstrated on Top-10 smash “Love Song”.
Wednesday night the band graced the stage at the Clearfield County Fair Grandstand and showed that they can still bring it live. An evening with Tesla, got underway with the blistering one-two punch of “Lady Luck” quickly followed by “Modern Day Cowboy”. The onslaught did not stop or let up as the band carried on with “Hang Tough”, new song “Time To Rock” before kicking into overdrive with “Heaven’s Trail” (No Way Out). What a way to begin a 100-minute set that was heavy on the first two albums.
Today the core of the lineup still features vocalist Jeff Keith, bassist Brian Wheat and guitarist Frank Hannon. Joining them were guitarist Dave Rude who has been around now since 2006 as well as recent addition drummer Steve Brown. Keith is sounding as strong as he ever has vocally. Hannon is one of those guitarists that have always flown under the radar. Tesla has always been a two-guitar band but Hannon deserves some credit for being one of the underrated guitarists of his era. He never gets his just due even after all these years with Tesla never releasing a sub-par album like some of their contemporaries.
The band let the music do the talking as they whipped out such fan favorites as “Changes” and a rare play of “We’re No Good Together”. They saved their big songs for last closing out the main set with the stellar “Little Suzi”. Back for a quick encore of the song that is cemented as their highest charting song the classic cover of Five Man Electric Band’s “Signs”.
Tesla has had a productive and long career despite being inactive from 1996 til the reunion in October 2000. You never hear anything in a negative manner when it comes to this band. They have always given it their all and the tremendous catalog of music they have is proof of how they have persevered through the years. Wednesday evening the band played on like a well-oiled machine with no signs of slowing down in the foreseeable future.
Modern Day Cowboy
Time to Rock
Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)
We’re No Good Together
Lazy Days, Crazy Nights
Call It What You Want
What You Give
Edison’s Medicine (Man Out of Time)
For more on Tesla check out www.teslatheband.com