Tesla Comin Atcha Live! 2008
Tesla is still alive and rocking after 25 years and a dozen albums. Now, you’re probably wondering, “Are they still ready to kick ass onstage?” Well, they have 80 percent of the original members and 75 percent of the original skanks. As bassist Brian Wheat remarks in their new concert video, “Oh, yeah, the groupies—we kept getting older and they tried to stay the same age.” Hilarious. To help decrease the group’s median age, Tesla hired Dave Rude to fill in for Tommy Skeoch, who left to have a family and a life. Rude is a great axman and an even better bedazzler of denim.
But can Tesla still sell out concerts? For the optimum footage of a huge crowd, Tesla picked a heated Minnesota building in February. And the set list? None of the new stuff and just the hits, right? Wrong! Tesla has reaffirmed my resolve to pass legislation prohibiting aging rockers from writing songs about pressing social issues. If, by accident, you ever hear their new single, “Dear Pvt. Ledbetter,” you’ll agree. By rhyming the simplest of words like e-mail/detail, sad/glad, fine/time/line, said/dead and Ledbetter/letter in what seems to be the longest four minutes of red-state pandering ballad-o-rama, Tesla manages to kill the entire crowd’s buzz. A few folks even scream, “No more new crap! Just play ‘Signs!’”
Aged like a forgotten Coors behind the couch, Tesla front man Jeff Keith is hard to watch. Through every song, he strains his entire body to hit the high notes that are now out of reach with only one lung. I can’t tell you which is worse: him in this DVD or all the old videos where he dressed, danced, and had his hair done just like Axl.
The bonus features are pretty anticlimactic, mostly just a 15-minute infomercial showing off the rock puppets’ name-brand gear. I also learned that between the five band members, there are only two tattoos, including Keith’s tramp stamp. I also discovered that, “What You Give,” a song about a lonely loser looking for another lonely loser’s sweet love, helped inspired a Mr. Newmark to found a little Website called Craigslist. That’s right. Without Telsa, your favorite sleazy hook-up/free classifieds site might not exist.
Tesla fans, you probably already own this DVD, but if you don’t, just think how it could fill the empty void in your single-wide or possibly drown out your wife’s screaming kids from a previous marriage.