Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS: Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

2002 was a big year for Jeff Scott Soto. It was the year of his coming out as a solo artist. Yes, he released a solo album back in 1994, but the intent was not to tour and showcase as a solo artist. He had signed with Frontiers Records and was getting ready to release his 2nd solo album ‘Prism’, but before that Frontiers’ promotional crew were in high gear. With press releases and having Jeff involved in the 10th Anniversary of The Gods Festival. The festival consists of artists/bands from the Frontiers Records label as well as Now & Then label.

The festival occurred on June 2, 2002 and was to be released as a live album and a DVD. I only have the live album, I need to get the DVD still. The line-up was pretty impressive as it had Eric Martin, Hardline, Harem Scarem, Honeymoon Suite, Ten, Soto and several other bands. It took place at Pennington’s in Bradford, England and what I’ve read, it was a helluva show by all.

Jeff’s band that night consisted of some old familiar friends including Alex Papa on drums, Gary Schutt on bass & acoustic guitar (did an album review of his for this series) and on guitar, Howie Simon. JSS is listed as “Top Dog” and he is right. It is his show, his songs, his voice everyone came to hear. He proved that when he came out on stage, alone, dressed all in black and did “2 Your Heart” a cappella. The song is from the debut Human Clay album. Jeff proved that voice is for real. The band comes in full force as the race through the Queen cover “Let Me Entertain You” which is appropriate because Soto does just that.

Jeff lays out a show full of hits from throughout his careers and many bands and projects. No stone is left unturned. The band plays “Break Your Chains” from Talisman’s debut album and it sounds amazing. Of course the guitar and bass don’t have the same punch as it would with Fredrik Akesson and Marcel Jacob, but Gary and Howie hold their own. Jeff sings with such power and confidence and the backing vocals sound great as well. Solid live version. Then the crowd gets a treat as Jeff promotes his upcoming album with one of the unreleased songs “How Long” and although the crowd doesn’t know it, it is well received. My only complaint with it was the keyboards were way too loud and metallic soundings. Could do without them honestly.

Staying with solo songs, Soto gives us the title track to his first solo album ‘Love Parade’ and what you get is a funked up rock track and the crowd loves it. Jeff is a great boss because he wants his band to shine and he gives Alex Papa a small drum solo and at the end of that solo the drums sound familiar. With a couple of pounding hits, we bleed right in to “Stand Up” from the Rock Star soundtrack. It totally kicks ass and is full on heavy metal. The crowd really freaks out hearing this song as it is a crowd-pleaser. His scream at the beginning is freaking awesome. It is a fist pumping, foot stomping banger of a track. Again, Jeff nails this one.

Jeff does another track from the upcoming ‘Prism’ album as they play “Eyes of Love” and it is pure melodic rock bliss. Jeff announces the next song and Axel Rudi Pell fans will rejoice as we get a fun track with “Warrior”. A sped up nostalgic track. Then we are in for a treat as Humanimal and Talisman guitarists, Pontus Norgren, comes out and joins Jeff and gand to play the Humanimal song “Again 2 B Found” and live he plays it even heavier than it was on the album. It isn’t as crisp and clean as the studio track and it shouldn’t be as it is live, but Jeff still sounds amazing. He can hit the notes live as well as the studio. The only thing I notice is that it must be intimidating for Howie to have Pontus on that stage because I have to say Pontus is an incredible player and you can tell a difference with him there (sorry, I’m just calling it like I hear it…nothing against Howie, I just really like Pontus’ heavier sounding playing).

It is back to Talisman with their first big hit with “I’ll Be Waiting” and a personal favorite track of mine. Jeff has done this one so many times it is effortless and tight. The opening a cappella piece proves he can do these songs as good or even better than in the studio. Then boss man Soto gives Howie and Gary a chance to shine. First Howie gets a guitar solo which he shows what he can do and he does it well. Howie & Gary then go to an acoustic jam and the back and forth is exciting.

When you have an acoustic jam, you have to have an acoustic medley of songs and that is what you get. Jeff and company blow through a medley of “Mysterious” (Talisman), Seal cover “Crazy” (Talisman), “4U” (Jeff Scott Soto), “Nobody Said It Was Easy” (Eyes), “Just Between Us” (Talisman) and “Stranded” (Gary Schutt). It is more reason as you should be a fan of Soto. That voice is so magical, especially live!! This is a highlight of the night.

But it ain’t the only highlight. If you love Yngwie, hold your hat as we get an Yngwie Medley to end the night. This hasn’t happened much later on as I believe Yngwie gets pissed when Jeff plays this stuff. The medley consists of “Don’t Let It End”, “On the Run Again”, “I’m a Viking” and “I’ll See the Light Tonight”. The medley starts off acoustic and damn Soto goes really high on “Don’t Let it End”, I think I heard some dogs howl. The medley then goes full band electric with some Yngwie style from Howie and he does it justice. A powerful, high energy, explosive end to a great night of Soto’s career.

We do get a bonus track on here. It is the studio version song of “Good Love”. It is not on any album at this point. It is a piano based, guitar driven, soul song. It feels a little dated in its sound although it is from 2002. He takes it back to that late 70’s, early 80’s R&B sound. I see why it didn’t make the solo album, but still a fun little track.

Jeff is almost 20 years in to his career at his point and he is as seasoned as they come. His confidence on stage and in that voice is unmatched. He owns that stage and the crowd. He covers his career as best he can with so little time on stage as it is a festival show. I don’t have any faults at all with this set. He covers some of the crucial stuff he should play and he hit on so many bands of his you can’t complain. If you want a great retrospective of his early career then this is a perfect set for you. My Overall Score is a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars. Yes, I am biased, but really, he covers all bases here and his voice is in stellar shape! What more could you want.

UP NEXT: TALISMAN – ‘CATS & DOGS’ (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. Soul Sirkus – ‘World Play’ (2004/2005)
  45. Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (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

7 thoughts on “Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS: Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s