JEFF SCOTT SOTO – JSS Live At The Gods 2002

JEFF SCOTT SOTO - JSS Live At The Gods 2002


Frontiers Records
Release date: June 24, 2003

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“Stand up and shout! Stand up, stand up, stand up and let it out!” If you’ve seen the movie Rock Star, then you’ve heard the voice of Jeff Scott Soto. Of course, in a sad way, you might also remember the rapper Marky Mark, uhh, the ACTOR Mark Wahlberg attempting to portray the spirit of the voice. Didn’t work. Jeff Scott Soto is a chameleon, a master of the vocal instrument, and there is only one person who can wield that voice. It sure as hell ain’t Wahlberg.

Jeff Scott Soto made his debut as a solo artist at the Gods 2002 concert, and commemorated the performance with the aptly titled, JSS Live at the Gods 2002, which was recently released, along with the DVD. Soto has been in bands like Yngwie Malmsteen (twice), Talisman, Axel Rudi Pell, and Eyes. He is also, flat out, one of the best Hard Rock/Heavy Metal vocalists around today.

As with many live albums, you are going to get some questionable sound quality, but this one seems to be a little better than most. Plus, at one point, some guy yells out “you suck,” and instead of ignoring it, Soto says, “Guess that evens things out,” and laughs. Even when the crowd isn’t in control of itself, Soto controls the crowd.

The first two songs are forgettable, but when you hit the third song, “Break Your Chains,” you’ll hear Soto in his bailiwick. Even though he can be a Neoclassical vocalist, when Yngwie pays him to be, he is best when he’s a bluesy, Hard Rock singer. The next couple of songs prove that to be sooth, because “How Long” and “Love Parade” are exactly that: Blues-tinged Rock songs. When a guy sings live, he can’t hide behind anything, and Soto doesn’t just relish the opportunity to prove his skill, he obviously embraces it.

The CD has two medleys as well: acoustic and Yngwie. That’s right, Yngwie is now a medley, although if you listen to Soto’s interview on Metal Express (just do it) then you’ll hear him admit ceasing and desisting doing anything from his Yngwie days, probably because some fat-headed guitarist is throwing a hissy fit. That’s just a guess.

Fans of his Yngwie days are going to enjoy the medley immensely. Plus, the guitarist completely emulates everything to perfection. It is impressive. When they do a snippet of “I’ll See the Light Tonight,” and you hear Soto scream, well, it’ll bring you back to the early ‘80s. Again, the guitars are more than solid here. “Don’t Let It End,” sounds exactly like it did back then, but it quickly turns a bit rawer and rams into “On the Run Again.” And of course, “I’m A Viking” is as bad lyrically and strong musically as it ever was. Too bad he can’t continue doing these songs, but if you buy it here, you’ll be privy.

For a guy with such a strong resume, he’s surprisingly self-effacing, which is probably part of his charm. Behind the mic, he just seems like a guy who wants to give everyone a good show, get them involved, and play whatever they want to hear. Lucky for him, everything he plays is worth listening to.

Many live albums just don’t have it, and many bands just can’t do live what they do in the studio. That isn’t the case here. Soto deserves more recognition, and barring the fact that some people might visualize Mark Wahlberg break-dancing to “Stand Up And Shout” when they hear it on the CD, it’s one of those CDs you just have to have. But buying the DVD would be a good way to get Marky out of your mind.

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