January 9, 2012 Posted by tesla in News, Tour, Twisted wires

REVIEW: Jan. 6, 2012 Celebrity Theatre | Phoenix, AZ

Reporter Ted Hansen of Mesa Classic Rock Music Examiner reviews Twisted Wires Acoustic Tour.

When a band chooses a concert venue, it is a little like Goldilocks and the Three Bears. Some places are too big, some places are too small and some places are just right. For TESLA’s current Twisted Wires Acoustic Tour, which came to Phoenix on Friday, January 6, 2012, choosing the Celebrity Theatre was just right. With the Celebrity’s rotating stage and its farthest seat being only twenty five rows back, the intimacy of the crowd combined well with TESLA’s “unplugged” version of their ninety minute long playlist.

It’s easy to think of an acoustic set list as laid back and mellow. But this is TESLA. Although you might hear the occasional power ballad, such as “Love Song,” the band hit the stage running with its opening number “Comin’ Atcha Live” which blended into the Grateful Dead’s “Truckin” just like TESLA performed to open their ground breaking Five Man Acoustical Jam album over twenty years ago. With TESLA’s current tour continuing to celebrate the twentieth anniversary of that album’s release, the evening was a combination of that album and TESLA’s latest acoustic release Twisted Wires and The Acoustic Sessions. The latter album offered two new releases, “2nd Street” and “Better Off Without You,” both of which were solid songs to add to the TESLA repertoire.

Musically, TESLA was in fine form. Lead singer Jeff Keith, dressed in jeans and his football jersey with the number one on it, had the crowd and certainly the women, up and dancing throughout the night. Guitarist Frank Hannon got to continually show his skills, be it a jazzy intro to “What A Shame,” or even a chance to “replug” on occasion. Bassist Brian Wheat and drummer Troy Luccketta formed a solid rhythm section and guitarist Dave Rude took over nicely for former TESLA guitarist Tommy Skeoch.

Like all good concerts, this one kept building momentum and it was a testament to the material and to the band that they could remain seated as the audience remained standing. Only Hannon, Rude and Keith were on stage for “Modern Day Cowboy,” and yet the audience frenzied response and sing along was as if they were hearing a full blown electrical version, not the stripped down, but solid, acoustic interpretation. There was no sitting down once the band launched into “Heaven’s Trail," and the regular set ending “Love Song” saw the band at its most animated, with Keith walking around the stage, shaking hands with those in the front row.

The encore was the highly anticipated “Signs” the Five Man Electrical Band cover song that catapulted TESLA into their acoustical fame. Despite TESLA having played that song live thousands of times, it still seemed fresh. Although the song is an acoustic stand out, there was plenty of electricity in the air.

Like Goldilocks, TESLA fans are faced with a dilemma. Should they go see them when they play hard? Should they see them when they play soft? Fortunately, either way is probably just right.

Set List:

Comin’ Atcha Live/Truckin’
Into The Now
Hang Tough
First Time
Thank You
A Lot To Lose
What A Shame
2nd Street
Better Off Without You
Caught Up In a Dream
I Love You
Modern Day Cowboy
Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)
Love Song

Encore: Signs
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