Jeff Scott Soto – ‘One Night in Madrid’ (2009) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

Back in 2003, Jeff did his first ever solo tour and at the stop in Madrid, the energy from the crowd was insane and he said that if he made it back he would record the show for a live DVD and CD. It took 6 years before his next solo tour brought him back to Spain and he delivered on that promise and now we have ‘One Night in Madrid’. The tour was in support of his latest solo album ‘Beautiful Mess’ and the show as on April 18, 2009 at Sala Heineken in Madrid, Spain.

This time the band was not his usual cast of characters, but a brand new band consisting of Jorge Salan on lead guitar, Fernando Mainer on bass, Edu Cominato on drums and BJ on keyboards and acoustic guitar. Now, of course Jeff Scott Soto was their singing as it is his tour. I have the CD of the show and it is a 2CD set and includes 22 tracks including solos and the ever popular Funky Medley. Let’s go ahead and jump right in to another great show by Mr. Soto.

The show opens with a radio being changed from station to station and each stop was a classic Jeff Scott Soto song. Then a voice comes on says, “That was then…this is now!” and the show starts with the lead song from ‘Beautiful Mess’ called “21st Century” and it sounds great. Jeff really sounds on point and the band captures the essence of the song. The guitars sound fantastic, the backing vocals are all perfect and I would say this new band clicks pretty well together. And if you need further proof listen to “Colour My XTC” from his Talisman days. The bass on this one is key to make it work as Marcel was a beast on bass and Fernando holds his own on this one, really great job.

We get more of Jeff’s solo work the classic “Soul Divine’ off ‘Lost in the Translation’. A true highlight of his career. Then we go in to the 2nd track from ‘Beautiful Mess’ with “Our Song” and the crowd is clapping along. It is the softer side of Jeff and then goes more power. On the album it had an irritating electronic drum track, but here it is raw and real drums and so much better. Then it is back to the rock with “Drowning” another from the ‘Lost in the Translation’ album. The guitars on this one are badass, some great riffs and real heavy. A real barn burner with this one.

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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.

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Jeff Scott Soto – ‘Prism’ (2002) – Album Review (The Jeff Scott Soto Series)

Rumors were flying that Jeff Scott Soto was going to leave The Boogie Knights and start concentrating on his solo career. Those rumors turned out true. Jeff started working with his Talisman bandmates on a side project called ‘Humanimal’ which was singed to Z-Records. Jeff was negotiating with Z-Records for a solo album and when things looked good and ready to go, Jeff and Z-Records split. Luckily, it wasn’t on bad terms as he continued with Humanimal until they had issues with Z-Records and that band was done.

Meanwhile, back on January 25, 2002, Frontiers Records had a press release that talked about them signing Jeff for his new solo album and if that was enough, they gained the rights to his debut solo album, ‘Love Parade’ and re-issued it as well. The new solo album was to be called ‘The Calm B4 The Storm’ and as Jeff has said, his earlier career was the Calm and what was coming after is The Storm. If Calm is being apart of 30+ albums over almost 20 years, I can’t wait to see what The Storm brings. However, that name was changed to Prism in parts due to where it was recorded, Prism Studios, and Jeff stating that is about a person that reflects many different lights. The album was released in December 4, 2002, I believe as I found the date on Discogs.

The new album was going to be done in the style of say Journey and Survivor which means it is power ballad heavy and not in a bad way. The songs were mostly done over the past few years for various projects that they didn’t quite fit so were never used and some new and all but one written by Soto. Jeff played most of the instruments and sang, but he was worried the label might not like that fact so he credited numerous fake people on the album. First is someone by the name of Michael Scott which is just Jeff’s middle name and his son’s middle name put together. He also credited two names that appeared in Jerky Boy’s episodes, Sam Isanogud and Mikos Scarbacci. There was also Jay Michael another reference to his son as well as Anthony Papa who is real, but didn’t actually play. That doesn’t mean there aren’t other musicians on the album because we do get Gary Schutt, Glenn Hughes and numerous Soto friends.

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Eric Carr – ‘Rockology’ (1999) – Album Review (The Kiss Review Series)

As we discussed back in the 1991 timeline, Eric Carr passed away on November 24, 1991 due to an aneurysm that probably stemmed from the numerous surgeries he had to remove tumors related to his heart cancer. Before his death, Eric was always writing songs as he was a very creative soul. He could write, he could sing and he could play more than just the drums. ‘Rockology’ is a collection of the songs he had been working on prior to his death. These are demos and not necessarily full fledge songs in some cases so keep that in mind. Think of this as his ‘Vault’ because it is very similar in the type of songs you get. You get some fully fleshed out songs, you get some where lyrics are being scatted because their aren’t any yet and you get some straight-up instrumentals.

The album was put together by one of Eric’s great friends and former Kiss bandmate, Bruce Kulick. With the help of Adam Mitchell (co-writer of numerous Kiss songs), they pieced together a collection of songs from old cassettes or where ever they could find them. They would clean them up the best they could, add some backing vocals where appropriate and even Bruce overdubbed some killer solos in a few songs to help complete them. Bruce produced the album and I think this was a wonderful tribute to his old friend and bandmate.

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