Meat Loaf: Last at Bat Tour, O2 Arena, London
Thursday 11 April 2013
Meat Loaf staggers, hunched and panting, around the stage like a wounded hog. It's disquieting and to start with the burly singer, perspiring profusely, is more like a hedgehog out of hell for his farewell tour. However, with the considerable assistance of his brassy “backing” singer Patti Russo, a willing audience - there are lifetime Loafers here, with T-shirts to prove it - and some sensational, Jim Steinman created soft-rock ballads the 65-year-old showman pulls through.
Six years ago Meat Loaf appeared to be a spent musical force, retreating off stage in Newcastle after an hour's performance with “Ladies and gentlemen, I love you, thank you for coming, but I can no longer continue.” In his turbulent career the Texan has broken his legs, had a knee replaced, undergone heart surgery and has been diagnosed with a cyst on his vocal cords. No wonder his voice cracks with emotion (“It became your album, not mine”) before “For Crying Out Loud” towards the end. It's emotional and as Meat Loaf's damaged character, Bob, in Fight Club would have it: “Go ahead, Cornelius, you can cry.”
Meat Loaf, born Marvin Lee Aday, has never shied away from the big emotions. His bestselling album, Bat Out of Hell (43 million sales and counting), which is played in its entirety in the second half of this show, is all about love, lust and loss. The record, with its seven epic, rock-opera songs, would make the perfect musical, and Meat Loaf, armed with his trademark red hanky, appears to have saved his exhausted pipes for these tracks. The audience help out on “Bat Out of Hell”, Russo does a lot of the heavy lifting on the stupendous “You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)” and the Meat pulls it together for the suitably histrionic “Two Out of Three Ain't Bad”. For “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” we're not only “treated” to Meat Loaf groping Russo but to a huge and lewd inflatable doll.
It all makes up for a saggy first half that was mainly redeemed by the wildly OTT “Objects in the Rear Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are” and Russo single-handedly saving the exquisitely sleazy “Dead Ringer for Love”.
Meat Loaf, with his silver medallion swishing, attacks his final great song/bout, “I Would Do Anything for Love”, like a punch drunk but determined pugilist. The Loaf abides and, as Elton John would have it, he's still standing, well, hunching.
Is the comedy album making a comeback?comedy
Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beachart
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Is Gideon Levy the most hated man in Israel or just the most heroic?
- 2 Students offered grants if they tweet pro-Israeli propaganda
- 3 Satellite full of sexually experimental geckos adrift in space, Russia loses control of mission
- 4 Exclusive: Cameron’s Big Society in tatters as charity watchdog launches investigation into claims of Government funding misuse
- 5 Israel has discovered that it's no longer so easy to get away with murder in the age of social media
Britain's Got Talent and The X Factor 'wheel on people who have mental health problems' says comedian Jo Brand
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer: First look at Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey
Orange Is The New Black season 3: Pornstache isn't coming back
Best movies on Netflix UK and US: 32 films that will end your endless scrolling
Fifty Shades of Grey trailer provokes moral outrage from US parenting groups
The 'scroungers’ fight back: The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Ukrainian military jet was flying close to passenger plane before it was shot down, says Russian officer
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: Massive rise in sale of British arms to Russia
Malaysia Airlines MH17 crash: victims’ bodies bundled in black bags and loaded onto trains
John Barrowman praised for Commonwealth Games opening ceremony gay kiss