Fresh off the Monsters of Rock Cruise, rock legends Tesla were going to be hanging out in the Sunshine State for a few days. With back-to-back shows scheduled at the House of Blues in Orlando, Central Florida was about to experience the full force of the band’s Time To Rock Tour. I was fortunate to have been granted credentials for the 1st show, which had sold out well in advance. The House of Blues is located in Disney Springs and Friday nights tend to be teeming with people, so an early arrival was essential. Parking was a breeze and within minutes I found myself in my favorite stomping grounds, the pit.
The 1st performer of the evening was the Jack of all trades, Kurt Deimer. The actor, film producer, songwriter and singer is just a simple guy that likes to bring some good old fashioned rock n” roll to everyday hard-working folks. As 8:00pm arrived, Deimer and crew hit the stage with the infectious “Dance”. Drummer Dango Cellan was having a blast while sporting an AC/DC shirt and blowing bubbles with his gum. The band covered Pink Floyd’s “Have A Cigar” and it was nothing short of phenomenal. Deimer’s latest single, “Hero,” is dedicated to 1st responders, the military and veterans, and he made a point to thank them all. Take a second to check out the official “Hero” video down below. If you’re into having a straightforward, hard-rocking good time, then Kurt Deimer and company are the band for you.
Kurt Deimer – Vocals
Sammy Boller: Guitar
Michale Vassos: Guitar
Brendan Hengle: Bass
Dango Cellan: Drums
2.Back Of The School
3.Have A Cigar (Pink Floyd Cover)
By the time 8:45pm arrived, the capacity crowd had really filled both levels of the venue. Up next was Fastest Land Animal, a band whose 3 founding members hail from all over the globe. Wearing a black leather jacket with a red scarf around his neck, vocalist, Screamin’ Jack Novack, opened things up with “Run and Hide” from their new album, East Coast, West Coast, In Between. Drummer Shark Samuels kept the tempo going and songs like “Answer in My Head” and “Bubble Candy” definitely channeled a punk rock vibe, and the fans loved it. During the performance Novak awarded several tambourines to lucky fans who were quick enough to catch them as they were tossed. He also took time to jump down into the pit to greet front row fans, including a young girl, more on her later, that seemed beyond excited. FLA did their part in keeping the crowd hyped up and they completed their set by going old school with a cover of The Police’s “Next To You.” If you get the chance to catch these guys live, jump at it.
Fastest Land Animal:
John Cusimano aka Screamin’ Jack Novak: Vocals
Andrew Meskin aka Shark Samuels: Drums
Alfonse Castillo aka Jonny Blaze: Guitar
Danny Roselle: Guitar, Keys
Tommy Hayes: Guitar
1.Run and Hide
2.Too Close To The Fire
3.Answer in My Head
6.Out Of Range
7.Cowboys In Nashville/Detroit Rock City
8.Next To You (Police Cover)
You could feel the anticipation resonating throughout the venue as 9:45pm drew close. Tesla has been a staple in the rock n” roll world for close to 40 years. Whether it was cassette tapes, albums, CDs or Spotify, they have always been a mainstay in my listening library. With the house lights out, the Tesla logo lit up in a brilliant white light. After some smoke and the sounds of radio stations changing, blue spotlights whipped across the stage as the band made their appearance. “Lady Luck,” from the iconic 1989 album The Great Radio Controversy, kicked things off. Singer Jeff Keith sounded great, but this certainly shouldn’t come as a surprise. The band brought out the big guns early as “Modern Day Cowboy” was next on deck. The screen behind drummer Steve Brown’s kit flashed clips from old western movies while guitarists Frank Hannon, Dave Rude and bassist Brian Wheat played side by side at the front of the stage.
Rude and Hannon shared the spotlight as they riffed their way into “Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out),” a huge fan favorite. Hannon announced “Miles Away” by saying that it was going to be the 1st song on their new live album, Full Throttle, which drops on Memorial Day weekend. The guys went all the way back to the beginning with the soulful and bluesy “We’re No Good Together.” Keith remarked that 1986 was a great year and they decided to stay right there for a few more minutes as they played “Love Me.”
Hannon broke out the acoustic guitar for one of my favorites, “What You Give.” Old newspapers articles and band photos paraded across the big screen and if that wasn’t enough, Rude nailed a killer solo. A special moment of the show was when the band played “Song & Emotion,” a tribute to the late Steve Clark of Def Leppard. When the crew began setting up two acoustic guitars everyone knew it was time for the blockbuster hit “Love Song.” After an inspired intro, Hannon opted for his Epiphone double-neck and brought it to life. After a rousing rendition of “Little Suzi,” it was time for the final song of the night. Wheat took a moment to acknowledge a 7-year-old girl named Madeline, who was here for her very 1st Tesla concert. He said that it’s the people and 7-year-old Madeline that make it all worth it. After Hannon pumped up the crowd, Keith appeared wearing a baseball cap. This was to be expected because everyone knows that “long-haired freaky people, need not apply.” The rendition of “Signs” was outstanding and a perfect choice for the closer. Tesla is a band that brings it 100% every time and they never disappoint. I’m thankful to have been able to take another trip down memory lane with this great band and I’m sure it won’t be the last.
Frank Hannon: Guitar, Backing Vocals, Keyboards, Piano, Theremin, Bass, Mandolin, Harmonica
Jeff Keith: Lead Vocals
Dave Rude: Guitar, Backing Vocals, Bass
Brian Wheat: Bass, Backing Vocals, Keyboards, Piano
Steve Brown: Drums, Percussion (Touring)
2.Modern Day Cowboy
4.Time To Rock
5.Heaven’s Trail (No Way Out)
8.We’re No Good Together
10.Call It What You Want
11.What You Give
12.Song & Emotion
13.Edison’s Machine (Man Out Of Time)
15.Little Suzi (Ph.D. Cover)
16.Signs (Five Man Electrical Band Cover)
I’ve had a love for photography since I was young. Whether it was a Polaroid or a Kodak 110, I was always the kid with the camera. My love of music goes back even further. Nothing beats being at a show when those lights go down and the crowd goes nuts.