If you follow this site at all, you know I am a massive Jeff Scott Soto fan and I am in the early stages of a Jeff Scott Soto Series where I am reviewing all of his albums in my collection. We are looking at over 70 reviews when all is said and done. I would love the opportunity to interview him, but that hasn’t happened yet. However, I did get to meet him. Jeff Scott Soto was in town with Jason Bieler (you know him, he is from Saigon Kick and wrote their massive hit “Love is On the Way”) and I bought tickets, of course. I also splurged and the the VIP package which got me in to the sound check and a Q&A.
Soto/Bieler played at a venue in NODA called The Evening Muse. A really small place and it holds about 300 people and it was packed which was great to see. I got there a little early as the VIP event started at 6pm. While I was walking from my car to the venue, I was crossing the street and who was coming the other way, Jeff and Jason. I realized it while they were passing me and Jason saw me do a double take and he said hello! It was cool. Then, while waiting in line, they came back from walking around NODA and while Jeff went in to get ready, Jason Bieler hung out and shook every one’s hand in line and talked for a few minutes.
Then we finally got to go in and this place is tiny. They had chairs out and I went and sat in the front row. Best seats I’ve ever had for a show. As I was going to sit down, Jeff was on stage and we said hello. I handed him my phone and showed him my Soto Collection and he remembered me posting it as he had commented on it. But nothing on the interview. Still…cool moment. The sound check really consisted of them playing about 3 songs and doing a whole comedy skit between songs, during songs, and hell even stopping to crack jokes. The three songs they played were “On and On” (Saigon Kick), “Hello” (Adele) and “All I Want” (Saigon Kick). It was pretty amazing. We got 45 minutes of pure fun. It also included a Q&A that started out as an A&Q where Jason gave us the answer, and then we had to pose the question. These guys are nuts and had me laughing all night long.
After the sound check, they opened the doors for regular folks and while they were filling in, I went and bought a shirt and Jason Bieler was back there and I got him to sign his album cover for the album ‘Songs for the Apocalypse” by Jason Bieler and the Baron Von Bielski Orchestra. While there, I found out they are doing a second album and will hopefully tour it. Jason was really cool guy and a very down to earth type of guy, no ego with him at all.
Then it was time for the show. As I said, it was packed. I forgot to mention that the Soto/Bieler Show was only Jeff and Jason, sitting in chairs with Jason on electric guitar and Jeff only on vocals. Jason sang as well as they would constantly trade verses and sing together especially on the choruses. As far as Soto’s voice…damn!! the man can sing and sounds fantastic live. There is no denying why he has had a career that has spanned 5 decades now.
They played a ton of Saigon Kick songs including some of my favorites such as “All I Want”, “Sgt. Steve”, “Hostile Youth”, “On and On” and “Love is on the Way”. They also played a ton of new songs that Jason had only written recently such as “Watermelon Sugar” (by Harry Styles), “Mandy” (By Barry Manilow), and “Levitating” (by Dua Lipa). Okay, he didn’t really write those but that was his running gag the whole night, but they did play them.
They kicked the show off with a tribute to Taylor Hawkins, who had recently passed, by playing “Times Like These” by the Foo Fighters. Now the night was not all covers as some of Soto’s songs were played as well including Sons of Apollo’s “Alive”, Talisman’s “Just Between Us” and then they played two songs that Jeff claims that if he sings them he will get sued. First was “I Am A Viking” from his time with Yngwie Malmsteen except they played it as “More than A Viking” which was to the music of “More Than Words” by Extreme (can’t get sued for that). The second was “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey because as you know he sang for them for around a year. Now, to avoid getting sued, he claimed he could only sing every other word so the crowd helped out eagerly.
They were playing another new song by Jason, but this time it was The Carpenter’s song ‘Close to You’. After the song, he asked the crowd…”Do you know the name of the song we just played?” and the crowd responded loudly with “Close to You”. Okay then, Jason said, “What song are we playing next”…and I screamed out “Close to You”…both Jason and Jeff immediately pointed at me and said “That’s Right” and seemed surprised I knew that…little did they know, I had already snapped a picture of the setlist so I knew what song they were going to play next…they didn’t need to know that part though. “Close to You” #2 is a Saigon Kick song in case you didn’t know.
But that wasn’t the best part. These two were cracking jokes all night long. It was more of a comedy routine with music thrown in. They would stop mid-song to crack on each other, tell a story, yell at the crowd or whatever they wanted to do just like they did during the sound check. And as they got drunker as the night went on, they laughed even harder. Hell, Jason’s son kept bringing them shots throughout the show. If the music thing doesn’t workout, they might have a career on the comedy circuit. There was no encore, they just played to the end and even played a Christmas song that Jason had written as the last song. It was called “Fuck You It’s Christmas”…well, actually it is Easter, but who cares.
The night was magical in a sense. It was surreal at times being that close to them and then actually getting to meet Jeff and shake his hand. He was gracious, thanked me for coming and even signed all the CD covers I brought with me. I have around 60, but I only brought 5 of my favorites and he signed them all.
I also asked him for the setlist and he handed me that as well. I should’ve had him sign that too! Oh well. Now, unfortunately, I don’t have a picture with me and Jeff in it together. The lighting was so bad and my phone camera sucks, plus there were so many people waiting to meet him and I was more than thrilled to have the time I did with him, I moved on and called it an evening. I might not get an interview, but at least I finally got to meet the man that I have been a fan of for a couple decades now. And that is good enough for me. If you get a chance to see these two together, make every effort to do it as you will have a blast, even if you don’t know the songs. You will laugh so hard that your voice will be sore the next morning. It was one of the best shows I have ever seen…but I am a little biased!!
They didn’t play every song on the setlist as I think they used this same sheet from the night before in South Carolina as the “I Love You” on the paper was from Saigon Kick bass player Chris McLeron who was at that show. I know that because that is what Jeff told me. And another thing I noticed, the header says “MORC PRE 2022” which means this is also the set list from when they did the Pre-Show at the Monsters of Rock Cruise a few weeks earlier. Cool!
Also, here is the T-Shirt I bought. If you didn’t know, Jason Bieler reminded us that he is the good looking skull on the shirt (hint…he is the one with the beard). Speaking of Jason Bieler, what a talent and a fantastic singer and songwriter as well. Check him out on his solo stuff and go revisit the Saigon Kick stuff as it is awesome.
Now, that is the end…well it is of the Soto/Bieler show. Directly across the street from The Evening Muse is a place called The Neighborhood Theatre. Playing at the same time as Soto/Bieler was The Darkness. I would’ve loved to have seen them too, but getting the chance to meet Jeff Scott Soto won out…obviously.
But it wasn’t a total loss. As I was walking to my car, I looked in one of the windows and actually got to see The Darkness…I guess you could say that I did see them live!!
And that is it, you can go now. Thanks for stopping by and I hope you enjoyed my take on the show. Have a great day.
If you are interested in reading more on The Jeff Scott Soto Series, look no further than below…
THE JEFF SCOTT SOTO SERIES:
- Panther – ‘Panther’ (1986) – recorded in 1984
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Rising Force’ (1984)
- Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Marching Out’ (1985)
- Kuni – ‘Lookin’ For Action’ (1988)
- Kryst the Conqueror – ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ (1989) / ‘Soldiers of Light: The Complete Recordings (2019)
- Eyes – ‘Eyes’ (1990)
- Eyes – “Nobody Said It Was Easy” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
- Talisman – ‘Talisman’ (1990)
- Talisman – “I’ll Be Waiting” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
- Skrapp Mettle – ‘Sensitive’ (1991)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Eternal Prisoner’ (1992)
- Bakteria – ‘Deficate! Suffocate! Mutilate! Masturbate!’ (1992 / 2009)
- Eyes – ‘Windows of the Soul’ (1993)
- Talisman – ‘Genesis’ (1993)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘The Ballads’ (1993)
- Biker Mice From Mars – ‘Biker Mice From Mars (Soundtrack)’ (1993)
- Takara – ‘Eternal Faith’ (1993)
- Talisman – ‘5 Out Of 5 (Live in Japan)’ (1994)
- Talisman – ‘Humanimal’ (1994)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Between the Walls’ (1994)
- Gary Schutt – ‘Sentimetal’ (1994)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Love Parade’ (1994)
- Talisman – ‘Life’ (1995)
- Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Made in Germany (Live)’ (1995)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Black Moon Pyramid’ (1996)
- Human Clay – ‘Human Clay’ (1996)
- Talisman – ‘Best of’ (1996)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Magic’ (1997)
- Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997)
- Boogie Knights – ‘Welcome to the Jungle Boogie’ (1997)
- Talisman – ‘Truth’ (1998)
- Takara – ‘Blind in Paradise’ (1998)
- Talisman – ‘Live as Sweden Rock Festival’ (2001)
- ‘Rock Star (Soundtrack)’ – Various Artists (2001)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Holding On E.P.’ (2002) – Bonus Edition
- Humanimal – ‘Humanimal’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003)
- Talisman – ‘Cats & Dogs’ (2003)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Lost in the Translation’ (2004)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at the Queen Convention 2003’ (2004)
- Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (2005)
- Soul Sirkus – ‘World Play’ (2005)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Believe in Me E.P.’ (2006) – Bonus Edition
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Essential Ballads’ (2006)
- Talisman – ‘7’ (2006)
- Journey – ‘Live from Atlanta (Bootleg)’ (2006)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘B-Sides’ (2006)
- Redlist – ‘Ignorance’ (2007)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Beautiful Mess’ (2009)
- Jeff Scott Soto – “21st Century” / “Gin & Tonic Sky” CD Single (2009) – Bonus Edition
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009)
- Trans-Siberian Orchestra – ‘Night Castle’ (2009)
- W.E.T. – ‘W.E.T.’ (2009)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at Firefest 2008’ (2010)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012)
- W.E.T. – ‘Rise’ (2013)
- W.E.T. – ‘One Live in Stockholm’ (2014)
- SOTO – ‘Inside the Vertigo’ (2015)
- SOTO – ‘Divak’ (2016)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Retribution’ (2017)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘Psychotic Symphony’ (2017)
- W.E.T. – ‘Earthrage’ (2018)
- SOTO – ‘Origami’ (2019)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘Live With the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ (2019)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Wide Away (In My Dreamland)’ (2020)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live and Loud in Milan 2019’ (2020)
- Sons of Apollo – ‘MMXX’ (2020)
- SOTO – ‘Revision’ (2020)
- W.E.T. – ‘Retransmission’ (2021)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘The Duets Collection, Vol. 1’ (2021)
- Jeff Scott Soto / Jason Bieler – Live in Concert (2022) – Bonus Edition