Talisman – ‘Live at Sweden Rock Festival’ (2002) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

By 2001, Jeff Scott Soto and Marcel Jacob and had been playing together for a decade. The longest project Jeff had ever been with and probably the most fulfilling as he and Marcel were able to craft Talisman out of all the types of music they both liked. To celebrate that 10 years, a tour was needed and they wound up playing at the Sweden Rock Festival in 2001 on one of the smaller stages.

The place was packed up to an hour before the show. The crowd was chanting their name and was ready to hear some Talisman. Jeff Scott Soto, Marcel Jacob, Pontus Norgren and Jamie Borger were ready to take the stage and give the fans what they wanted…Talisman!! They played on the Rockklassiker stage with a 2000 crowd capacity. But it started off a little rough…two days prior to the show, Marcel’s gear was left in Stockholm where he, Jeff and Pontus were working on the new Humanimal album. So, Marcel had no bass. He wasn’t going to play, but when he heard the crowd chanting, he ran and found a bass from another band.

There was another band at the festival that had some recording gear and so they decided to record the show. Marcel and Pontus were a little unhappy with the recording as the bass sound wasn’t what Marcel really sounded like (remember, not his guitar), Jeff’s microphone had issues and the guitar sounded a little out of tune at times…they re-recorded a lot of the record in the studio and played as if it was the show to capture that essence…and honestly, you can’t tell. It all sounds fantastic.

This was 2001, so this was prior to Humanimal project and prior to the giant riff between Marcel and Pontus which forced the end of Humanimal and the end of Pontus in Talisman. So, if this is the last recording with Pontus on lead guitar, then we get a wonderful time capsule. The album was supposed to come out in April 2002, but the release was delayed (probably due to the Humanimal issues going on). It finally saw the light of day in December 2002 and thankfully it did as it is a fantastic show.

Before we get to the show, Talisman were given some scary news around this time. Marcel Jacob announced that he was suffering from chronic rheumatism which causes severe inflammation in the joints and muscles. It would limit how much Marcel could play and unsure if he would be able to play at all in the future. It was a massive shock to bandmates and fans alike. But Marcel treated it as it was just a part of life. In that case, let’s just move on to the show.

The album opens with the two opening tracks from ‘Humanimal’ with “Colour My XTC” and “Fabricated War”. These two songs are powerful openers and really get the party started. And you know it is time to rock and when Marcel’s bass comes in to get things started. Jeff sounds great as he always does live. That powerful voice has no problem being heard over these find musicians and that crowd. Before they keep the party going with “Mysterious (This Time It’s Serious)” from the ‘Genesis’ album, Soto talks to the crowd about how drunk he is because the Swedes know how to party and he apologizes for any slurs or messed up words because he is so drunk.

They slow things down a little with “Tainted Pages” from ‘Humanimal’. It is a funky sounding, slower tempo track and everyone sounds perfect. “Tears in the Sky” comes exploding out next from the album ‘Life’ and what a great melodic rock track. It really plays well live almost as great as the studio album. The bass solo is slamming and the little jam session at the end really adds to an already great performance. They keep to the ‘Life’ album with a cover of Seal’s song “Crazy” that bleeds seamlessly from the prior song and Jeff really nails this cover. His voice can be soulful at times and he did Seal proud.

Jeff talks to the crowd again and praises the band Hammerfall and all the other great bands such as UDO and Symphony X before playing “Here 2Day, Gone 2Day” from the album ‘Truth’ which I believe is about Yngwie. Next we get a combo of songs with a mixture of “A Life” and “Dangerous” played together and it totally works on so many levels. It starts off slow with Jeff singing the opening parts of “A Life” before they go bombastically in to “Dangerous”…totally killer!!!

After the song, Jeff banters with the crowd again and this time it is about the weather and how he loves Summer in Sweden because the women wear so little and they wear way too much during the winter. So inappropriate for today’s audience, but fine back then. And talking about women’s bodies…they immediately go in to the song “Body” from the ‘Life’ album. It is one of the heaviest and rocking tracks of the night and the “cool it, cool it” lines give it an extra punch. Jeff then wishes his son, Jason, a happy birthday after getting the crowd to scream his name. It was also drummer’s Jamie Bolger’s birthday.

Then Jeff sang a cappella for the opening of “I’ll Be Waiting” as the band takes it back to the debut album. The crowd was totally in to it and helped singalong so much so that they started singing prior to Jeff even telling them to…totally cool for Jeff that they were that in to it. They then end the set with another from the debut with the killer “Break Your Chains” and probably the two best songs to play to end a Talisman set. And that was the end of the set.

For the encore, the band came back out but it started with a Bass & Guitar solo between Marcel and Pontus and a rather unusual encore opener, but man, it is totally awesome. Both are uber talented and it shows. The back and forth was so much fun to see who could out-do the other. They then went in to “All Or Nothing” off the ‘Genesis’ album and it fit nicely after the solos as they made it flow so smooth. The big scream from Jeff and they were off to the races. The high energy track totally slays live.

And then it was still two more song. This time they did covers. First was a Queen cover and we all know how much Jeff loves Queen (it will be more obvious later on in the series). They played “Tie Your Mother Down” and Jeff can hold his own. Then Pontus jokes around on his guitar and plays something that sounds like Yngwie and of course Jeff stops him and says we ain’t playing that shit. They end up doing the Yngwie song “I Am A Viking” and I guess this isn’t a cover since Jeff actually sang the original with Yngwie. I have to say, it sounded incredible. Pontus did his best Yngwie and since Pontus can play, he was rather convincing. Jeff destroys it and the band go out on a high note. Such a great set.

This the second live album and we can never get enough of Talisman songs played live. I really love this set. It is 70 minutes and goes by and a heartbeat. I think some of Jeff’s banter needs some work, but otherwise, musically and vocally it was perfect (I know they re-recorded some of it, but I don’t care…it sounded live). My Overall Score is a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars as you get all the hits and then some. Can’t go wrong with this time capsule of Talisman.

UP NEXT: JEFF SCOTT SOTO – ‘JSS: LIVE AT THE GODS 2002’ (2003)

THE JEFF SCOTT SOTO SERIES:

  1. Panther – ‘Panther’ (1986) – recorded in 1984
  2. Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Rising Force’ (1984)
  3. Yngwie Malmsteen’s Rising Force – ‘Marching Out’ (1985)
  4. Kuni – ‘Lookin’ For Action’ (1988)
  5. Kryst the Conqueror – ‘Deliver Us From Evil’ (1989) / ‘Soldiers of Light: The Complete Recordings (2019)
  6. Eyes – ‘Eyes’ (1990)
  7. Eyes – “Nobody Said It Was Easy” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
  8. Talisman – ‘Talisman’ (1990)
  9. Talisman – “I’ll Be Waiting” (1990) – 7″ Single – Bonus Edition
  10. Skrapp Mettle – ‘Sensitive’ (1991)
  11. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Eternal Prisoner’ (1992)
  12. Bakteria – ‘Deficate! Suffocate! Mutilate! Masturbate!’ (1992 / 2009)
  13. Eyes – ‘Windows of the Soul’ (1993)
  14. Talisman – ‘Genesis’ (1993)
  15. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘The Ballads’ (1993)
  16. Biker Mice From Mars – ‘Biker Mice From Mars (Soundtrack)’ (1993)
  17. Takara – ‘Eternal Faith’ (1993)
  18. Talisman – ‘5 Out Of 5 (Live in Japan)’ (1994)
  19. Talisman – ‘Humanimal’ (1994)
  20. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Between the Walls’ (1994)
  21. Gary Schutt – ‘Sentimetal’ (1994)
  22. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Love Parade’ (1994)
  23. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Made in Germany (Live)’ (1995)
  24. Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995)
  25. Talisman – ‘Life’ (1995)
  26. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Black Moon Pyramid’ (1996)
  27. Human Clay – ‘Human Clay’ (1996)
  28. Talisman – ‘Best of’ (1996)
  29. Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Magic’ (1997)
  30. Human Clay – ‘U4IA’ (1997)
  31. Boogie Knights – ‘Welcome to the Jungle Boogie’ (1997)
  32. Takara – ‘Blind in Paradise’ (1998)
  33. Talisman – ‘Truth’ (1998)
  34. ‘Rock Star: Music from the Motion Picture (Soundtrack)’ – Various Artists (2001)
  35. Humanimal – ‘Humanimal’ (2002)
  36. Humanimal – Find My Way Home: Limited Edition E.P. (2002)
  37. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Holding On E.P.’ (2002)
  38. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002)
  39. Talisman – ‘Live at Sweden Rock Festival’ (2002)
  40. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003)
  41. Talisman – ‘Cats & Dogs’ (2003)
  42. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Lost in the Translation’ (2004)
  43. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at the Queen Convention 2003’ (2004)
  44. Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (2005)
  45. Soul Sirkus – ‘World Play’ (2005)
  46. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Believe in Me E.P.’ (2006)
  47. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Essential Ballads’ (2006)
  48. Talisman – ‘7’ (2006)
  49. Journey – ‘Live from Atlanta (Bootleg)’ (2006)
  50. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘B-Sides’ (2006)
  51. Redlist – ‘Ignorance’ (2007)
  52. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Beautiful Mess’ (2009)
  53. Jeff Scott Soto – “21st Century” / “Gin & Tonic Sky” CD Single (2009) – Bonus Edition
  54. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009)
  55. Trans-Siberian Orchestra – ‘Night Castle’ (2009)
  56. W.E.T. – ‘W.E.T.’ (2009)
  57. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at Firefest 2008’ (2010)
  58. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Damage Control’ (2012)
  59. W.E.T. – ‘Rise’ (2013)
  60. W.E.T. – ‘One Live in Stockholm’ (2014)
  61. SOTO – ‘Inside the Vertigo’ (2015)
  62. SOTO – ‘Divak’ (2016)
  63. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Retribution’ (2017)
  64. Sons of Apollo – ‘Psychotic Symphony’ (2017)
  65. W.E.T. – ‘Earthrage’ (2018)
  66. SOTO – ‘Origami’ (2019)
  67. Sons of Apollo – ‘Live With the Plovdiv Psychotic Symphony’ (2019)
  68. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Wide Away (In My Dreamland)’ (2020)
  69. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live and Loud in Milan 2019’ (2020)
  70. Sons of Apollo – ‘MMXX’ (2020)
  71. SOTO – ‘Revision’ (2020)
  72. W.E.T. – ‘Retransmission’ (2021)
  73. Jeff Scott Soto – ‘The Duets Collection, Vol. 1’ (2021)
  74. Jeff Scott Soto / Jason Bieler – Live In Concert (2022) – Bonus Edition

8 thoughts on “Talisman – ‘Live at Sweden Rock Festival’ (2002) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

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