download-poster-new@ Castle Donington, Main Stage, June 14 2009

Talk to certain members of the Tesla road crew and they were more than a little miffed to be playing so early on a classic rock soaked bill. Their argument was that with more than 16m album sales under their belts and a back catalogue to die for they deserved to be bumped up at least a couple of spots. Fair points, both.

But the fact that Tesla were there at all is testimony to the foresight of promoters well aware that this massive US band is back in the big time. And if their set was criminally short then Jeff Keith and the boys didn’t allow that to stop them from putting on a typically sensational show.

Opening up with Live Before I Die from 2008’s excellent Forever More, the band quickly moved into more familiar territory, touching on tracks from every stage of their 20-year plus career. Heaven’s Trail hit the mark with Keith sounding better than ever and Frank Hannon came alive on the superb Comin Atcha Live – a must for the Donington crowd.

A band so rarely seen on these shores might have been miffed that the likes of Skin and Black Stone Cherry commanded higher billing but they more than proved their point by letting the music do the talking. Signs was spectacular against the backdrop of a baking hot sun and that track alone – their biggest hit – won the band an army of fist-waving new fans.

If only Tesla would make a few more trips to the UK then the world would be a better place. And they just might get bumped up the Download bill next year…