University of York Graduate, aspiring to be a journalist with dreams of one day publishing my own novel.
Published work can be seen at www.theyorker.co.uk and www.yorkvision.co.uk
Published January 1st 2013
Seems like morning may have actually come for Meat Loaf this time round, as he's just announced his 'farewell tour,' a two-act concert featuring some of his biggest hits plus every track from the famed Bat Out Of Hell album. At 65, the singer has had a career spanning over 30 years and has been estimated to have performed Bat Out Of Hell over ten thousand times. At 23 years old, I've seen this live performance five (soon to be six) times, and would like to share my Meaty wisdom with the world for those interested fans who haven't quite made it round to going to see him yet.
Meat Loaf would be a frankly vegetarian dish without his epic band in tow, The Neverland Express. I have seen Meat perform with a whole host of band members, from Imelda May to Lil Jon – but there are a few loyal members who will probably stick with Meat until he hangs up his trademark red hankie. Of course, no Meat Loaf concert would be complete without the powerful pipes of Miss Patricia Russo, who has been known to sing her own feisty material on occasion, as well as duetting with the big man on all his boy/girl classics. If you're going for the guitars however, keep an eye out for Paul Crook, or as Meat affectionately refers to him, 'Metal Loaf.' He's a hugely talented lead guitar player and pretty easy on the eye, ladies.
Half the reason I go to a Meat Loaf concert is for the visuals. Indeed, at 65 Meat's vocals aren't what they were back in his Dead Ringer For Love days, but the man is an all round entertainer, and his stage set complements that. Expect the unexpected; in my 8 years as a groupie I've seen everything from billows of fire to a giant bat eclipsing the stage. I have to say, however, my favourite piece of theatrical genius was Meat's use of what I can only describe as a large phallic gun, used to fire t-shirts out into the audience. A little risqué, but all part of his charm.
As a frequent Meat Loaf concert-goer, you learn to expect a certain few trademark Meat moments, some of which have been commonplace since his first album back in the 70s. I suspect next year's concert will be no different, then, when it comes to the classic Paradise By The Dashboard Light – a song which comes with its own scene, which usually includes a female singer awkwardly trying to ward off the advances of a seventeen-again Meat Loaf. Meat's been criticised in the past for this; critics even went as far as to call him debauched for performing the failed seduction scene with spring chicken Aspen Miller, but it hasn't stopped him. I've seen the act many times before, with the use of everything from a shoulder-length wig to a huge inflatable busty woman, but each time it is consistently hilarious.
Where would the theatrics and gimmicks be then, without the costumes? Meat isn't quite Geri Halliwell at the Brits when it comes to costumes, but he's not afraid to be a little colourful. Nor are his onstage counterparts, particularly Miss Russo, who takes particular pleasure in dressing up for the aforementioned Paradise scene. I've seen prom dresses, corsets, wigs, top hats, baseball gear and even sequinned jackets – I'll leave it up to you to guess who was wearing what, however.
First time Meat Loaf concert-goers are probably going for the big hits, and, judging by the title of this tour, I suspect that Meat will stick to his finest. Meat always delivers by saving his energy for the best belters – expect louder, larger, more bombastic versions of the songs which already broke all the rules back in the 70s. Meat Loaf's current line up of more metal-inspired musicians promises a thicker, heavier sound with epic extended solos. As I said before, Meat's voice isn't what it used to be, but, behind the visual and the thrashing and crashing of the band, his vocals are a mere component in an altogether more layered rendition of his old classics. He's not afraid to experiment either – I've seen him perform hits from the Beatles, the Rolling Stones and even blend an outro of All Revved Up With No Place To Go into the solo from Lynyrd Skynyrd's Freebird.