CONCERT REVIEW: Full Throttling with TESLA at Xcite Center, Parx Casino, PA (July 28th, 2023)

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Hailing from California, TESLA has always been one of the best American rock bands. American-made and American-strong is what it took as they sold out the Parx Casino.

Jeff Keith [vocals], Frank Hannon [guitar], Brian Wheat [bass], Dave Rude [guitar], and Steve Brown [drums]came out firing on all cylinders right from the start of their 90+ minute set with “Lady Luck” off The Great Radio Controversy then assaulted the crowd with “Modern Day Cowboy.”

Fans came out to hear TESLA take them down memory lane to a lost time but don’t think for one minute TESLA is a nostalgia act; their show incorporated a new song they recently released as a single, “Time to Rock,” with its classic rock vibe. It was created in the same spirit and energy as their 1982 debut release. Regardless of when the songs were created, they were all played with the same conviction in an unblemished performance. The set list consisted of 16 songs. Jeff told me the band decides the set list right before the show. They must play their 12 staple songs and four other songs they call “Pulling a rabbit out of their hat!” These four songs were “Lady Luck,” “We’re No Good Together,” “Call it What You Want,” and “Private Ledbetter,” which the band dedicated to all the veterans and military personnel.

Jeff told the crowd that’s a song they never want to mess up. The night would not be complete without “Love Song,” where Frank and Dave pull out their acoustic guitars. You could have heard a pin drop as they played the intro, as the audience was completely present and focused on the singularity of the moment. Other highlights included the bluesy “Miles Away,” the soulful “Lazy Days, Crazy Nights,” the rocking “Changes,” “Edison Medicine,” and “Heaven’s Trail.” The band seamlessly transitioned between these multi-styled songs smoothly without losing the audience’s attention or skipping a beat.

Frank and Dave playfully competed for the audience’s attention during the songs and joined forces shoulder-to-shoulder for duel leads and harmony runs. Having two of rock’s strongest guitarists are the icing on the cake that brought the songs to a new level. They have an undeniable chemistry and style of playing, which complement the songs and each other. All members seemed to have so much respect for each other and camaraderie as they were smiling, laughing, and standing next to each other, which surprisingly is not all that common with most bands. 

Jeff told me before the show, “TESLA is all live all the time; we don’t roll tape and don’t use machines. When you see TESLA live, we either sound good or are having an off night – we have to keep it real!” Tonight, at Xcite Center, they delivered on that mantra. He radiated showmanship while singing song after song, while his unmistakably soulful and raspy voice cut through the band’s heavy guitar-driven sound. He interacted with the audience by giving high fives, taking selfies, and smiling at all the cameras pointed in his direction. He is a musician who is comfortable in his own skin, a consummate performer with tremendous talent.

Brian was the muscleman giving the songs their bottom-end punch, along with new addition to the band, drummer Steve Brown who replaced Troy Luccketta. You have Brian to thank when you feel the beat kicking you in the ass. He brings energy to the big moments and understands the sensitive ones making the music sound and feel good. He also knows the balancing act of when to use it and when to entertain the audience.

The band was having such a good time playing; their vibe was infectious. The fans’ connection to their music was instantaneous; communicating through music is the key for TESLA. These are the moment you live for as a fan! It’s a testament to the strength of this veteran hard rock band’s love for their fans and the perfect set that made this a TESLA‘s devotee’s dream come true. This band will not go to their retirement playing songs off the old records; they love to write new music, and a new album is in the works.

Their 2023 Time to Rock Tour takes them across the US to September before doing a Las Vegas Residency in October; I promise you’ll leave the show grinning from ear to ear! Tickets can be purchased HERE.

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