I spent many of my hard-earned teenage dollars pursuing my favorite artists as new albums hit the scene and the subsequent tours that followed. They played very large venues with stacks and stacks of amplifiers and light shows that almost rivaled the marvel of the music. These guys (and some gals) were like gods to me. They were doing something that we could only dream of. For many, the success proved too much and the lucky ones only faded into obscurity… those less so are no longer with us.
As much as the music and the scene surrounding it meant to me… as much a part of my life as it was, it was a passing phase. Times, like the music that accompanied them, changed and so did I. Although the music still lives on in technological devices not even invented when the music was born, the performances are mostly only memories. There are some, however, who refuse to die. Indeed, the music in some cases lives on with renewed vigor - live.
Such was the case in Cesar Chavez Park, downtown Sacramento last night. Tesla, a band that grew out of the Sacramento Rock scene, performed in a free concert to kick off their new album, “Real to Reel.” Tesla, like Metallica and a few others came on the scene at what appeared to be the waning days of what is now referred to as “classic rock” (few terms make me feel older). Tesla made it big in their own right and they are still kicking around today. But their new album isn’t so much about Tesla as much as it is.
Opening the show with a cover of UFO’s “Rock Bottom,” the next 90 minutes were a blast from the past. When they played Traffic’s, “Dear Mr. Fantasy,” there was no mistaking Tesla’s positive influence on this perennial classic. When the clean, crisp opening chords of Deep Purple’s “Space Truckin’” rumbled like lightning through the thousands gathered, I was rocketed back to 1972. I almost forgot I was working.
That’s right - working. Well, sort of. No longer a star-struck 17 year-old, I was backstage with my camera bag on my shoulder. As a member of the press, I now have access to the places only the gods and their minions once dwelt. It was difficult to keep it all in balance, but the 500 plus shots show that I was not so awestruck as I was in my youth. I was there to do my job as much as the band was there to do theirs. I wonder who was having more fun? After playing a number of covers, they finished off with some of the band’s own hits, songs that permanently planted Tesla in the history of rock and roll. And they’re not done yet.
***For more concert pictures, go to my photoblog, OVERFLOW.***