On December 8th this year it will be thirty years to the day since gritty American hard rockers Tesla released their debut album, Mechanical Resonance. It’s all the rage these days for bands of that vintage to present tours based around signature albums, and a thirty year anniversary is as good as any to bust out tracks you haven’t played for years, so why the hell shouldn’t Tesla tour the hell once more out of one of their greatest albums?
Why not indeed. And, before you could shout ‘contractual obligation!’ someone had the great idea of recording the whole thing and getting it out into the market place so those of us that don’t live in the Midwest of the US and didn’t see the shows can join in the fun too! IT’S A WIN-WIN SITUATION!
So what you get here isn’t a full document of that night in (I think) Salt Lake City, but simply the tracks – in a different order, if that’s something that matters to you – from that fabled debut rendered in a (doubtless) hot, sweaty live environment. And, for what it is, it’s absolutely great. Tommy Skeoch’s long gone, of course, a victim of the rock n’roll shenanigans that the eighties stood so proudly for, but his replacement, the amusingly-named Dave Rude doesn’t put a footy wrong (the lead playing from him and Frank Hannon is exemplary throughout), whilst Jeff Keith, whose recorded voice sounded at times like Steven Tylers after a particularly good seeing to with some wire wool, sounds in almost-too-fine-to-be-true fettle on every track. In particular, he sings the bejeezus out of the Stonesy We’re No Good Together in what will surely be one of my highlights of the year. It’s that good.
Other than that, you know exactly what you’re getting here – rambunctious live versions of Tesla standards, delivered with the steely precision that only seasoned professionals can manage – so this is probably only something that’s going to be of interest to people who were fans in the first place, but I suspect there are still enough of those guys kicking around the traps to make this a worthwhile exercise for the record label, even if the one track tacked on to the end of this that’s new – Save That Goodness (co-written by Phil Collen!) – isn’t really fit to string the guitars of Getting’ Better of Comin’ Atcha Live…