Tesla – Mechanical Resonance Live (Frontiers)

Genre: Hard Rock

Mention Tesla in rock circles and it’s likely the conversation will swiftly turn towards the band’s landmark live release Five Man Acoustical Jam. Changing the face of acoustic rock at a time when MTV were trialling their soon-to-be-massive Unplugged series, the ultimate live record remains the primary reference point where the Sacramento quintet is concerned.

It’s therefore impossible to assess Mechanical Resonance Live without harking back to 1990 and the year Jeff Keith, Frank Hannon and co. truly burst onto the mainstream music scene. Can this 30th anniversary take on the band’s impressive debut album really compete? It’s another live Tesla album but it is another unequivocal triumph?

Disappointingly, the answer is no. In fact there are times when – whisper it quietly – Tesla sound like they’re simply going through the motions. Stone cold classics Comin Atcha Live and Modern Day Cowboy (both of which feature on the Acoustical Jam) lack a sense of urgency. They’re allowed to drift rather than drive home the band’s trademark sound: standard rather than standout.

More vibrant versions of Changes and Lil’ Suzie go some way towards saving the day but the highlight for longstanding fans will be a tantalising taste of new Tesla music. Save The Goodness – co-written with Def Leppard’s Phil Collen – is an absolute belter and wraps up this skewed release in style.

Keith and co. have still got it but Mechanical Resonance didn’t require a full live reboot. File under ‘missed opportunity’ and focus on the future.

RUSHONROCK RATED: 5/10 Mechanical Failure