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RePlugged Live

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Album Review

Like so many of the pop-metal outfits that were huge in the 1980s, Tesla found itself enjoying a lot less MTV exposure when — thanks to Nirvana and Pearl Jam — alternative rock became rock's primary direction in 1992-1993. Nonetheless, Tesla still had a loyal fan base, and its followers were disappointed when the band officially broke up in 1996. But in 2001, the Sacramento, CA, headbangers pleasantly surprised fans with a reunion tour, which is the focus of Replugged Live. Recorded on the road in 2001, this two-CD set doesn't offer a lot of surprises — the Tesla of 2001 doesn't sound any different from the Tesla of the 1980s. But then, no one expected the band to start emulating Sevendust or Limp Bizkit in an effort to sound more contemporary. On Replugged Live, Tesla excels by sticking with what it does best: bluesy, melodic pop-metal — and the Californians are focused and inspired on tight performances of old favorites like "The Way It Is," "Modern Day Cowboy," "Heaven's Trail (No Way Out)," and the power ballad "Love Song." The thing that ties all of the performances together is a love of the blues. For all its pop-metal gloss, Tesla never forgets about rock's blues heritage — which is one thing the band has in common with Aerosmith (one of its major influences). Two CDs worth of live material is more than a casual listener would need; casual listeners, in fact, would be better off starting out with Geffen's 1995 release Time's Makin Changes: The Best of Tesla. But for seasoned Tesla enthusiasts, Replugged Live is a bluesy pop-metal feast.


Formed: 1985 in Sacramento, CA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

Although Tesla emerged during the glory days of hair metal, the band's music was equally indebted to contemporary blues and '70s-style hard rock, a fusion that helped differentiate albums like The Great Radio Controversy from its contemporaries. Despite the refreshing lack of posturing, Tesla was hit just as hard as the rest of the pop-metal world when grunge arrived in the early 1990s....
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RePlugged Live, Tesla
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