California hard rockers, Tesla, named after the famous inventor, Nikola Tesla, has reinvented itself over the years. Their risky move in the 90’s to strip down their electric guitars and play acoustically transformed the music business and inspired a generation of rockers ‘unplugging.’ Their current tour is in support of their latest album, “Twisted Wires and the Acoustic Sessions,” released in 2011 with some acoustic remakes of their earlier songs and a few brand new songs like “Second Street” and “Better Without You.”
HOUSE OF BLUES
Tesla played a very packed House of Blues Saturday, January 7, 2012.
With over 25 years of playing their ‘blues metal’ has built a very strong fan-base with a very diverse following; metalheads, hippies and blue-collar types, kids in their 20’s and older fans of 30’s and 40’s. Opening band, Built By Stereo, warmed up the crowd. Tesla played for about an hour and twenty minutes. They had a strong start and a stronger finish. Lead singer Jeff Keith, sporting a football jersey with his name on the back, belted out the hits; “Comin’ Atcha Live / Truckin,” “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out),” “Modern Day Cowboy” and “Signs.”
The meat of the show was really for diehard Tesla fans as it pertained to lesser-known songs and songs from the new album including “Second Street” and “Better Without You.”
Playing acoustically is an animal all to itself. Some fans prefer the unplugged versions of Tesla’s rock songs while others like the original electric versions. This is not the band I saw over 20 years ago. Their energy was not the same. Mostly, the band sat on stools like any other acoustic jam. Keith got up and walked around a bit to connect with the audience. Guitarists Frank Hannon and Dave Rude showered the crowd with guitar picks. The packed house burst into singing “Love Song.” A pleasant surprise in Tesla’s set was a cover of Led Zeppelin’s “Thank You.”
Chad Plummer was my guest at the show. It was his idea to watch the show near the bar so I could use the bar to lean on when taking notes. Good idea, Chad. If the energy of the show was better I might have moved closer to the stage. I never moved.
There’s no question who the men were entering the stage at the Mandalay Bay Theater on September 9. They may have been a part of other famous 60’s bands such as The Byrds and The Hollies, but David Crosby and Graham Nash of Crosby, Stills, Nash or CSN & Y (Young) have stood the test of time and expressed a solid stage presence. This dynamic two-time winning Rock and Roll Hall of Fame duo didn’t need lasers or flashy kaleidoscope backgrounds. It was all about their peaceful classic rock music, a homecoming of good vibes and a long time connection with fans. Fans sang with and without encouragement. Some fans clapped while others danced in the aisles.
The duo kept their sense of humor too. When one of the techs entered the stage to make an adjustment, Crosby joked that he’d better get it right or he’ll have to ‘go back to Neil’ (Young). After a fan shouted a request for “Almost Cut My Hair,” Crosby joked about the bald fan not having hair. Nash told the story of how a friend inspired him to write a song in twenty minutes before he left. “Just a Song Before I Go” is about leaving loved ones behind before going back on tour.
The supportive musicians were excellent. James Raymond, the keyboardist, played in rock and R & B bands in his teens before discovering his birth father, David Crosby, in the mid-90’s. Not only have father and son reunited, they’re now playing and touring together. “Don’t Dig Here,” written by Raymond, is about keeping nuclear waste out of the Yucca Mountain in Nevada. No nukes!
Crosby and Nash made everyone feel at home with classics; “Teach Your Children,” “Wooden Ships,” “Our House” and The Byrds “Eight Mile High.”
For article in Vegas Seven Magazine click here.
When I’m working as a film or video editor, most of the time I’m working my ass off for decent or not so decent pay. Yesterday, I worked on a corporate job with a team of editors mostly from out-of-town. I was called in through a reference as the team was behind in finishing the videos and showreels for an upcoming convention by a large corporation. The company had been very slow in getting material to the editing team. I spent half or most of my time waiting for footage. And then when I got the footage, it took no time at all to string or assemble the clips on a timeline. Hurry up & wait! I had worked on a team-building video before years ago. This was somewhat similar. This company was having their employees make their own videos. Ugh!
What was projected to be a two or three-day gig ended up only being one very long day, 14 hours to be exact. I got paid very well with some time and a half. So, no complaints. Well, except on! During the 14 hours, we were freezing our butts off. Apparently, the casino keeps the AC switched to NORTH POLE! One side of the room was slightly cold. I was in the frozen tundra! At least I got a really nice catered meal for lunch. And the view was not too shabby either! All in a day’s work.
This was the highest I had ever been paid in one day. With freelance work, some days are better than others.