The beautiful and historic Embassy Theater, originally opened in 1928 under the name Emboyd Theater, had a full house for a hard rock event. Tesla celebrated 30 years on tour along with two other excellent, but lesser known bands—Voices of Extreme and Red Reign.
Voices of Extreme
VOX, as they are known throughout the hard rock community, opened the show to an apprehensive crowd, who quickly fell for their music. The energy of this band had the audience intrigued and listening intently for each song. Many said they would have liked to have seen them on longer than the 20 minute stint.
Voices of Extreme began in New York in 2004, bringing back the powerful and popular heavy metal of the 1980s. Lead singer Don Chaffin, who has opened for many bands, including Foreigner and Alice in Chains, was joined on stage with bassist Steven G. Knight, and drummer Bobby Marks, who has recorded with such fan favorites as Eddie Money, and wrote the music for the Van Halen documentary The Early Years.
Voices of Extreme toured with Tesla all summer so many of the hardcore Tesla fans were prepared to sing along with the latest VOX hit, “Unbroken.” They will continue to tour with Tesla, before finishing the tour back in New York with Dee Snider, another New York hard rocker who played with Twisted Sister in the early 1980s.
Virginia-based Red Reign didn’t have much of a following in Fort Wayne, Indiana, until after the concert. While this band has not been around as long as VOX and Tesa, they do have a few years on the road under their belts.
The group came together in 2013, when guitarist Carlton “Bubba” McMichael and drummer Sammy Lee decided to leave their Richmond cover band and start their own group. They were ready to produce original music and brought in bassist Larry Moore and guitarist Stevie Shred to complete the foursome.
The self-titled Red Reign was their first album. The song “Chasing Shadows,” which was received well at the concert, was released from that collection. They started the summer opening for Quiet Riot and then they joined Tesla for a three-stint arc.
Red Reign will go back to finishing their second album after the tour.
Tesla at 30
Technically, it’s been more than 30 years since Tesla released their debut album, Mechanical Resonance (1986). While they didn’t have the instant sensation of some of the 80s rock bands, they did – and do – have a selection of hit songs and loyal fans who have kept them on the road for three decades.
Tesla played those songs, including “Signs,” “Love Song,” and “The Way it Is” to a crowd that never once took their it was a giant singalong which no one wanted to end. Lead singer Jeff Keith, bassist Brian Wheat, guitarists Frank Hannon and Dave Rude, and drummer Troy Luccketta appeared to feel the same.
It’s not just old music Tesla is playing. After a break in the 1990s, the band began releasing music again. In fact, there have been nine albums released since the turn of the century. The latest is Mechanical Resonance, a live album. The single “Save That Goodness” came from that album. It was their first song release since 2014.
“Save That Goodness” was written and produced by Def Leppard’s Phil Collen. (Tesla toured with and opened for Def Leppard in 2016.) The current Tesla tour will continue through the end of the year, in the United States and South America.
More Photos from the Concert...
Photos by Marcia Frost