It’s hard to believe that mighty rockers Tesla have been kickin’ around since 1986. It’s funny because Tesla always seemed like a band out of time; they never fit in with the hair metal crowd, but their brand of hard rock was considered outdated by the grunge crowd, and they certainly (proudly!) have nothing to do with what passes for rock music today. Simply put, Tesla’s music has always been possessed of a timeless quality that allows the band to carry on despite never fitting in to the trend of the day. Well, 24 years on in their career, it was about time for another live album, the last one being 2001’s REPLUGGED LIVE.
No doubt, Tesla have always been a band that can deliver the goods on stage as both the 2001 album, and the pioneering FIVE MAN ACOUSTIC JAM (1990) attest. I’m happy to report that the band still kicks as much ass as they ever did in 2010. Start to finish, ALIVE IN EUROPE! is a electric testament to the power of good song writing and exciting performances. Original rhythm section Brian Wheat and Troy Luccketta are as rock solid as ever and Frank Hannon and newcomer Dave Rude lay waste to their guitars with their riffs. Jeff Keith has always been a scratchy-throated vocalist and while he still retains all the power and showmanship of yesteryear, there are some moments throughout the album where he shows the strain of time. All in all though, these performances are flawless.
As for the set list, long time fans will no doubt be able to pick nits, but I believe that a genuine complaint is the inclusion of too many long, slow songs in the middle (“Shine Away” through “Breakin’ Free”). There are some great tunes there, but the flow would have been improved if one or two of those were replaced with genuine rockers like “Edison’s Medicine” or “Makin’ Magic”. Still, with classics like “Modern Day Cowboy”, “Hang Tough”, and “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)” included, you can’t really go wrong. Even better, newer songs like the four from their latest album FOREVER MORE fit right in with the older tunes, showing that Tesla has lost none of their songwriting juice. In fact, this blistering rendition of 2004’s “Into the Now” is easily the most exciting song on the album.
For almost 25 years Tesla has proven to be one of the most reliable, high-quality bands in hard music. ALIVE IN EUROPE! is another testament to this enduring band’s power and well worth your time.
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