It’s hard to believe it was 30 years ago that Tesla exploded onto the scene with Mechanical Resonance. They stood out from the hair metal bands of the time by keeping their focus on their music and not on their image. The result was solid bluesy hard rock and work ethic that they honed from their favorite bands from the 70’s. They’re still going strong with some of their best music coming in the 2000’s. But, to celebrate the 30th anniversary, they’ve released Mechanical Resonance Live. Tesla recorded the songs during their tour opening for Def Leppard (see my review of their Cleveland show here).
Tesla has always been a great live band. And, this CD reinforces that. Jeff Keith‘s voice seems to get better with age (and the wear and tear of years on the road). They may tune down a little more than in the early days, but his voice still sounds fresh. The dual guitar attack of Frank Hannon and Dave Rude (who replaced original guitarist Tommy Skeoch years ago) are on fire. They recreated most of the solos to what you remember. But, they also added some licks to fill out their sound.
This CD shows how well these songs hold up with time. This CD doesn’t sound like a nostalgia act. They don’t sound like a band trying to recreate the glory from 30 years ago. They sound seasoned and primed. And, they rock hard. The obvious highlights are “Modern Day Cowboy” and “Little Suzi.” But, tracks like “EZ Come EZ Go,” “Rock Me To The Top,” and “Love Me” also stand out. The one new song, “Save That Goodness,” blends well with the live set. Phil Collen of Def Leppard wrote and produced it. It’s a fun catchy song that has bits of Def Leppard while still being Tesla…if that makes any sense.
There are a couple of things to keep in mind about the CD. It’s not a whole concert. They played a couple of the songs each show and picked the best ones. Also, they don’t keep the same track listing as the original Mechanical Resonance. They arranged it to better reflect what the concert setlist might look like.
The only complaint I have is the mix. Dave Rude‘s guitar is noticeably lost in some of the songs, including some of his solos. Meanwhile, the mix doesn’t seem to affect any of the other band members.
This is a nice way to celebrate their debut CD, and Tesla fans will enjoy it. It’s a great way to keep us entertained while they work on their next CD (with Phil Collen producing). Pick this one up and enjoy the visit back to 1986.