During the early 2000’s, Marcel Jacob came forward and revealed he was suffering from chronic rheumatism and it would limit his live shows. By 2003, he must have felt up to it because the band played several festivals during that Summer and thankfully for us, a lot of those were recorded. Two shows in particular were captured and were finally released by Frontiers Records in 2005. We got a Live CD and then a DVD set. Today, we are talking about the CD set. We’ll do the DVD next time because it has more than just the shows.
The two shows captured were at Club Mondo in Stockholm, Sweden in August 2003 and the second show was from the Sweden Rock Festival from June 2003. This would be the 2nd Sweden Rock Festival live show we’ve been given from the band. The line-up was interesting as the band was usually a 4-piece band. This time we have the return of the great axeman, Fredrik Akesson as Pontus Norgren had left. The other interesting was they added a fifth member with Howie Simon on guitar. Howie at the time was Soto’s solo band’s guitarist and friend. They really brought the music and delivered two great shows so let us get to them.
The Club Mondo show kicks off with no introduction, just a killer guitar riff…a pause…and the same riff. The band goes straight in to “Break your Chains”. They rock it out and to keep it going they go in to “Color My XTC” which is a massive bass heavy track thanks to Marcel Jacobs. You get a great guitar solo, but that bass is thumping the whole time. It is a massive song. Jeff is in his element and sounds great (although backing vocals are a little weak). And no time for a break, “Fabricated War” comes roaring in and the heavy continues as they totally rock it out. More Marcel high in the mix and you know, he has to be as the Talisman sound is that bass!! And again, no break, no talking to the crowd as the belt out “Mysterious”. It is one banger after another and as a fan, just give me music, no talking necessary.
Then finally Jeff talks to the audience as he lets them no they are recording a new DVD. It is a rowdy crowd for a Monday night. Then with 2 screams we go to a new song from their latest album ‘Cats & Dogs’ with the song “Skin on Skin”. It is a funky number and Jeff plays it up. It turns it in to a melodic chorus and another great rocker. They end the song with band introductions and when they get to Howie, he does a Limp Bizkit riff to “Break Stuff”. After Jamie Borger’s intro on drums, we get a few drum fills and then straight in to “Tears in the Sky” which is a great song and musically they nail it. The end sounds like a little jam session which bleeds straight in to the Seal cover of “Crazy” which the band did on ‘Life’. Jeff’s vocals aren’t as smooth as Seal, but he does a bang up job. There is a weird fade out…which is strange for a live album.
Then a weird intro in to “In Make Believe” which is the first time things slow down, well, at least until the song explodes in to a rocker with some great drum work and bass work. Then we get to one of the big treats to the show as we get a cover of Europe’s “Scream of Anger” which Marcel co-wrote with Joey Tempest on the ‘Wings of Tomorrow’ album. Jeff sings it as if he was Tempest which Soto does have a way of mimicking the sound of other singers which is really cool. My favorite track on the album as it was so unexpected!
The band goes in to a little funky groove as they play “If You Can Only Be My Friend” before rocking out again with “Break It Down Again” which turns up the heavy. Jamie’s drumming on this one is great along with a cool bass riff and some fine guitar work by Howie and Fredrik. A killer track and even better live. Then the crowd goes on its own and starts singing “I’ll Be Waiting” before Jeff can even start. It is a wild bunch out there. Jeff does his best Freddie Mercury trying to control the crowd with “ohhhs, ohhhs”, but the crowd wants to hear “I’ll Be Waiting” so the band finally relents and goes in to the song. It seems to be Stockholm’s favorite song as they sing along the whole time. It is crazy. They continue to go nuts after the song is over.
Then we get “NJBBWD” which is a Marcel Jacob bass solo. It is short and sweet, but still totally killer as he was a badass on the bass and is sorely missed. It works perfectly before the heavy ass rocker “Outta My Way” which is one of the coolest songs on ‘Cats & Dogs’. The band nail this one live and might work better this way. Marcel rips a new one with those bass lines and total scorcher and a favorite for me live. Then my favorite Talisman guitarist, Fredrik Akesson, gets his own solo and DAMN he can play. His fingers fly fast and furious over the frets and I wish it was longer because it was way too short for a solo, but I’ll take what I can get.
Then we are on to the two final songs and first up is “Standing on Fire” from the debut Talisman album. Soto still sounds great and the band is playing better and better. With intros again of the band, the final track is a cover of Ozzy’s “I Don’t Know” and another totally unexpected track. Jeff tries to sing it a little like Ozzy, but not quite as it is too much Soto in that sound. The band rocks it out and goes out with a bang. Still perplexed with an Ozzy cover, but whatever still a rocking track.
The 2nd disc is the Sweden Rock Festival show and a much shorter set list at 10 tracks rather 17 at Club Mondo. So this time it is 10 solid Talisman hits. Only the best. Again, no stage intro of the band goes straight in to “Break Your Chains” and it is just as killer as the other show. In fact, the first three tracks are identical to the opener of Club Mondo including “Color My XTC” and “Fabricated War”. In fact, all the songs were played at that show. Just a different running order for the most part. And the fact this one is actually during the day in the hot sun as Jeff explains during his chats with the crowd. After a brief chat they go in to “Tears in the Sky” which bleeds right in to the Seal cover of “Crazy” exactly like the prior show.
But this time we go straight in to “Break It Down Again”. As I said above, Jamie’s drumming on this one is great along with a cool bass riff and some fine guitar work by Howie and Fredrik. A killer track and even better live. No need to say anything different here. Jeff talks to the crowd and says its a beautiful day and not a cloud in the sky. He invites everyone to the back to eat and pop pills and do whatever they want. The crowd starts singing “I’ll Be Waiting” as the Swedish crowds love that song, but it is time for “Mysterious” not “I’ll Be Waiting” that will be the closer.
Like the last time they were at the Swedish Rock Festival two years ago, it is Jamie Borger’s birthday and Jeff’s son Jason’s birthday. He calls his son in LA where it is like 5:30 and he has the crowd wish him a Happy Birthday. He tells his son he loves him and then back to the show where they take it way back with “Standing on Fire” from the debut. “In Make Believe” starts slow then rips in to a rocker with some great drum work and bass work. A totally badass track.
Then Jeff does his Freddie Mercury impression with the “Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs” to get the crowd to sing back. Then they go in to Sweden’s favorite song “I’ll Be Waiting” which the crowd wanted earlier in the show. Jeff would stop and the crowd would sing right along. The backing vocals on this one are rough when Jeff wasn’t singing as he was probably pointing the mic to the crowd. This one wasn’t as good as the other show because those backing vocals. But when the crowd sang it was great. They take over the singing towards the end and Jeff just lets them go. Then Soto does a “Hey Mother Fucker” and gets them to sing it back…which they do. More Freddie and then they finish it out. Always a crowd favorite. Another great show, short and sweet.
And there you have it, ‘Five Me Live’. Two great shows together in one package. They definitely give you your money’s worth in this set. Now, the Club Mondo show was re-released in 2015, but Five Men Live gives it to you first along with the Sweden Rock Festival from 2003. Definitely more bang for your buck. The band sounds great live, they’re tight and they sound like they are having fun…well at least Jeff does since he is all we hear from. My Overall Score is a 5.0 out of 5.0 Stars as it is a great live set that covers every era of the band and then some. Plus that Europe cover is great!! Now, I want to go watch these shows on DVD and review that one. See you soon.
UP NEXT: TALISMAN – WORLD’S BEST KEPT SECRET – DVD (2005)
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)
- Axel Rudi Pell – ‘Made in Germany (Live)’ (1995)
- Takara – ‘Taste of Heaven’ (1995)
- Talisman – ‘Life’ (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)
- Takara – ‘Blind in Paradise’ (1998)
- Talisman – ‘Truth’ (1998)
- ‘Rock Star: Music from the Motion Picture (Soundtrack)’ – Various Artists (2001)
- Humanimal – ‘Humanimal’ (2002)
- Humanimal – Find My Way Home: Limited Edition E.P. (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Holding On E.P.’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002)
- Talisman – ‘Live at Sweden Rock Festival’ (2002)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘JSS Live at the Gods 2002’ (2003)
- Talisman – ‘Cats & Dogs’ (2003)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Believe in Me E.P.’ (2004
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Lost in the Translation’ (2004)
- Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Live at the Queen Convention 2003’ (2004)
- Soul SirkUS – ‘World Play’ (2004/2005)
- Talisman – ‘Five Men Live’ (2005)
- Talisman – ‘World’s Best Kept Secret DVD (2005)
- 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)
- Joel Hoekstra’s 13 – Dying to Live (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 – ‘Complicated’ (2022)
- Ellefson/Soto – ‘Vacation in the Underground’ (2022)
- Jeff Scott Soto / Jason Bieler – Live In Concert (2022) – Bonus Edition