You go to a concert early for one reason: to get good seats. And even though we saw Tesla in concert just six months ago, we still showed up early to make sure we got the spot we wanted. Last time we saw Tesla it was bare nuts cold outside and the line to get in was down the block. This time it was hot, but the line wasn’t so long, however, we noticed a small group of people gathering away from the main line. They were gathering outside the tour bus entrance where last time Frank Hannon chatted with shivering fans so we figured members of Tesla were once again mingling with fans, and we were right.
Before you continue, please enjoy some Tesla as you read:
This time lead singer Jeff Keith was signing autographs and taking pictures from behind the entrance gate. We didn’t bring our camera because the venue doesn’t allow cameras, but we did have a convenient phone camera. And just after we got a shot of Jeff behind bars he says, “hell with this, I’m coming out there,” and he walked around the gate to meet fans up close and personal right there on the sidewalk. What luck! So we calmly waited to say “Hello” and get a photo op and autograph. Unfortunately, given the sun and the low-fi camera, the photo of Jen and Jeff didn’t turn out as well as I’d hope (although you can tell who it is), but he also signed the ticket stub…making this one of the first ticket stubs I’ll actually be keeping.
Before too long the rest of people waiting in line took notice and gathered around getting their jeans, arms, and children signed by Jeff Keith. At that point we moved back into the line and waited for the doors to open. Once we were in we found the spot we wanted, along the back wall of the floor section. We were at the same venue as before but this time we were outside and oh what a difference it made. The sound and experience of an indoor show just can’t compare to that of a outdoor concert. So we sat a waited for things to kick off while other came to sit along side us.
Not too long after we claimed our spot a girl sitting about three people down from me leaned forward and…well, she just puked her guts out. What?! Vomiting already? That’s what one guy was thinking as he passed by the pool of vomit and then looked at his watch, as though to think, “isn’t it a bit early for barf?”
Out of all the concerts we’ve seen in the past few years, this is the first time we’ve been near, let alone witness, some vomiting, as surprising as that may be. It’s very interesting watching people notice a pile of vomit. It actually became the game of the night, watching people’s reactions when they noticed the pool…assuming they did notice. Although few and far between, there were a handful of people that just didn’t notice and walked right through it. If you learn one thing from this entry, please learn that you should always look down when at a concert because you never know what you’ll find on the ground. Needless to say, the vomit kept many people away so we enjoyed the concert in relative peace. Thankfully we were far enough away from it that it didn’t encroach our space.
The opening band did their thing and after a quick stage change Tesla came out and rocked a perfect night. And it was a perfect night for a concert, very comfortable with clear skies. They changed up their set list just enough from their last visit, playing their standards but also including ones like “Edison’s Medicine” and “Mama’s Fool,” of which neither they played last time. They also removed the cover songs from their line-up, which I appreciated.
And if you thought having a pool of throw-up next you all night wasn’t a good way to enjoy Tesla, it gets better. Because about three quarters through the set victim number too spun around in front of us and spewed. This lady spewed first in the same spot as the first girl, then ran off the floor to toss it in the grass. Not sure if it was the combination of heat and beer, which is always fun, or if that spot on the floor had low gravity or some other anomaly that would cause people to chuck. Vomit to the left of me, vomit to the right of me…had it not been for Tesla in front of me, it would have been a rough night.
Another thing this concert proved is that Tesla is a prime example of a solid band. Being the only band we’ve seen twice, we know that Tesla puts on a good show just about every time they perform. It doesn’t matter if they’re inside or outside, they just lay it down. Nothing too fancy, not a lot of “show,” just a straight set of hits. To top things off, they did something other bands could learn from – they skipped the encore. It seems these days the encore is a given, which kind of defeats the specialness of an encore. No, instead Tesla said, “we don’t need to make people scream and shout, we’ll just keep on going.” So instead of taking a break, making us wait and then coming out to play one more song, they played two more songs instead. Awesome. Just awesome. Why make us clap? You know you’re coming back out to play.
The fact that Jeff Keith was willing to stand in the middle of the sidewalk and get up close with fans also tells me that Tesla knows what’s important. I know Tesla is way past their prime and not exactly filling stadiums anymore, but find me another band that will go that far out of their way to keep people happy. It tells me they know what’s important – the fans – because if you don’t keep your fans happy, they won’t come see you and they won’t buy your records.
So next time there’s a band you want to see, show up a bit early because not only will you usually get a good seat, you never know who’ll you find signing autographs. And you might miss the vomit.
Originally posted on Aug 5, 2008