Gods 2002: Jeff Scott Soto

Band Line up:
Vocals: Jeff Scott Soto
Guitar: Howie Scott Simon
Bass: Gary Scott Schutt
Drums: Alex Scott Papa

Set List:
2 Your Heart (a capella)
Let Me Entertain You...
Break Your Chains
How Long
Love Parade
Stand Up
Eyes Of Love
Again 2 B Found
I'll Be Waiting
Mysterious - Crazy - 4U - Nobody Said It Was Easy - Just Between Us - Stranded - Don't Let It End (Acoustic set)
On The Run Again - I'm A Viking - I'll See The Light Tonight (Yngwie medley)

Expectations were high for Jeff Scott Soto. The voice of a dozen projects – and the man with more stage presence than most was ready to hit the stage.
Things were still running behind and again, the incredible line up of the day meant Jeff was hitting the stage at only 6 in the evening.
Find another rock gig in the world where at 6pm you were already past one headliner act and about to witness another! Typical of Jeff the performer, the set did not start traditionally. Rather it was a lone figure that appeared from behind the stage curtain and began singing unaccompanied.
The track – 2 Your Heart was sung a capella – an amazing intro by any means. The curtain parted and revealed the rest of the guys, including Gary Schutt on bass and Howie Simon on guitars. They burst into Queen's Let Me Entertain You, covered on the last Talisman album.
Dressed in black, with leather pants a bandanna and sun glasses, Jeff looked a rock God and moved like a rock God. At times he strangled the mike stand, other times he swung himself around the stage with mike in hand.
Jeff used all four corners of the stage, pealing off the glasses and then the head gear.
At every chance he engaged the crowd, pointing, gesturing and having a ball.
Gary and Howie moved around between each other and generally shredded in support of Jeff.
Howie proved he is a guitarist to be reckoned with, covering every note that previously has been the parts of Yngwie Malmsteen, Axel Rudi Pell and Neal Grusky.

When Jeff screamed into the mike “Stand Up And Shoooooout” the place went nuts. Stand Up of course is Jeff's main track from the movie Rockstar.
The set covered tracks from Talisman, Eyes, Takara, Yngwie, Axel Rudi Pell and 2 new tracks from Jeff's upcoming album.
Those two new tracks set high expectation for it's release. Both Eyes Of Love and How Long rocked with huge hooks, leaving the release of this new album eagerly awaited.
It was also great to hear Love Parade from Jeff's solo debut. The rocked up version was a highlight and again, I am looking forward to the full set being delivered on DVD and CD.
Two other highlights of the set were still to come. The band came to a stop while another guitarist was introduced and welcomed to the stage.

It was none other than Humanimal guitarist Pontus Norgren. The band proceeded to play Again 2 Be Found from the album to an phenomenal crowd reaction.
Again, it sounded a million bucks!
The other highlight was the acoustic set. The guys took to 4 bar stools to cover a medly of songs that included Mysterious (Talisman), Stranded (Gary Scutt), 4U (Jeff), Crazy (Talisman/Seal), No One Said It Was Easy (Eyes) and Just Between Us (Talisman).
What made the acoustic set so memorable was the way it was seamlessly instigated and concluded.
To kick it off Howie started an electric solo, with the band disappearing off stage. Gary re-appeared with an acoustic guitar and took over, while Howie swapped to acoustic.
The stools were in place and drummer Alex Scott Papa joined with a Tamborine.
To end, it was much the same, Howie swapped to electric while the rest of the band finished playing and played us into the next track, which would turn into a full electric track. As it turns out, it was a rocking medley of Yngwie tracks to close the set. Due to time constraints, the encore was shelved.

All in all, a thoroughly professional set of songs. A thoroughly professional set that really had the crowd in a frenzy. Jeff was a popular frontman and generally was regarded by all that I spoke to, the winner of the frontman of the day award.
His set remains a highlight in my memory and was one of the best performances of the day.
All this made more remarkable, as the band only had 3 days to practice. Howie amazingly told me he only met Gary for the first time those 3 days earlier.

Pic: Bruce Mee

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