Pop Live: The raw and the overcooked

MEAT LOAF

BIRMINGHAM NEC

AMERICAN MUSIC biz executives recently launched the Diamond award, a new certification for truly mega-selling records. With 13 million units shifted in the United States alone, Meat Loaf's Bat out of Hell, the most successful debut album of all time, sits nicely alongside the likes of Garth Brooks, Pink Floyd, Journey and Maria Carey.

Unlike Bat's composer Jim Steinman, Marvin Lee Aday, the Meat in the Loaf, has struggled to transcend the original masterwork. Fittingly enough, Meat - as he insists on being called - starts his current "Very Best Of" tour with a strong version of "No Matter What", the song the dastardly Boyzone weren't supposed to release before he got his hands on it. Perched atop a fake stone throne, the singer looks like Frodo from Tolkien's Lord of the Rings (that saga is the equivalent of Bat in the cultural zeitgeist).

Having eaten Ronan Keating for starters, Meat then straps on a guitar and powerchords into "Life is a Lemon and I Want my Money Back".

The chutzpah and the cheek of the singer and his band are undeniable as they launch into the crunchy riff of "Dead Ringer for Love". Patti Russo makes a fine posturing job of the duet, while the musicians hint at the seminal "Jenny Take a Ride" by the Sixties garage-band Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels.

As my mind drifts into a million lateral thoughts, the grand piano chimes the bombast of "I'd do Anything for Love (But I Won't do That)". The song builds and builds with reprised choruses and every single instrument stressing the dramatic chord changes. Not for Meat Loaf the medley approach (more's the pity), but rather a full-scale collision of grand opera, heavy metal and stage musicals as the gum-chewing singer modulates the final "I won't do that" a la Pavarotti.

During "Rock'n'Roll Dreams Come Through", he shakes like a demented preacher - but his gospel is from the psychobabble school of Jerry Springer or Dr Ruth. Indeed, after the pure Eurovision kitsch of "Is Nothing Sacred?", Meat and Patti act out the soap operetta scenario of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light".

The Phil Spector manque and the Frankensteinesque Springsteen of the music are greatly improved by the panto goings-on. The star, in a dinner- jacket, and the game Russo as the all-in-white one-night-stand bride are pure corn, but their routine is suddenly hampered by a malfunctioning glittery curtain refusing to fold and drop as expected.

I'd promised myself not to mention the infamous Spinal Tap but Meat's skilful ad libs - "First your big mouth, now my curtain won't fall! I'm just gonna stand in the middle of it!" - show the extent of his acting ability as he salutes and milks the applause before chastising the stage manager.

After that wonderful impromptu moment, the Unplugged-style encore of Bat material doesn't feel as genuine, while the enormous bat dangling above Meat just raises a giggle.

Too often, the platitudes disguised as profundities of "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" and "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth" feel like a sound-track crying out for a high-concept blockbuster.

Meat Loaf, who, as an actor, has now starred opposite Sharon Stone, Melanie Griffith and Brad Pitt, truly belongs on the big screen. Let's see him in Beauty & The Beast: The Musical!

Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift won Best International Solo Female (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Paloma Faith arrives at the Brit Awards (Getty)

Brits 2015
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn's beheading in BBC Two's Wolf Hall

TV review
Arts and Entertainment
Follow every rainbow: Julie Andrews in 'The Sound of Music'
film Elizabeth Von Trapp reveals why the musical is so timeless
Arts and Entertainment
Margot Robbie rose to fame starring alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street

Film Hollywood's new leading lady talks about her Ramsay Street days

Arts and Entertainment
Right note: Sam Haywood with Simon Usborne page turning
musicSimon Usborne discovers it is under threat from the accursed iPad
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
A life-size sculpture by Nick Reynolds depicting singer Pete Doherty on a crucifix hangs in St Marylebone church
arts + ents
Arts and Entertainment
Escalating tension: Tang Wei and Chris Hemsworth in ‘Blackhat’
filmReview: Chris Hemsworth stars as a convicted hacker in Blackhat
Arts and Entertainment

Oscar voter speaks out

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Oscars race for Best Picture will be the battle between Boyhood and Birdman

Oscars
Arts and Entertainment
Anne Boleyn (Claire Foy), Thomas Cromwell (Mark Rylance)
tvReview: Wolf Hall
Arts and Entertainment
Tom Meighan of Kasabian collects the Best Album Award
music
Arts and Entertainment
Best supporting stylist: the late L’Wren Scott dressed Nicole Kidman in 1997
film
Arts and Entertainment
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan as Anastasia Steele and Christian Grey in Fifty Shades of Grey

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Mick Carter (Danny Dyer) and Peggy Mitchell (Barbara Windsor)
tv occurred in the crucial final scene
Arts and Entertainment
Glasgow wanted to demolish its Red Road flats last year
architecture
Arts and Entertainment
Matthew Gravelle on trial for Danny Latimer's murder as Joe Miller in Broadchurch series two

Review: Broadchurch episode 7

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Barry Norman has predicted a Best Actor win for Michael Keaton at this Sunday's awards

oscars
Arts and Entertainment
The right stuff: 'Ukip: the First 100 Days'

Review: UKIP: The First 100 Days TV
Arts and Entertainment
Anastasia Steele with Christian Grey in his offices in Fifty Shades of Grey

film
Arts and Entertainment
Class act: Julia McKenzie and Keeley Hawes in 'The Casual Vacancy'

JK Rowling's story is a far better drama than it is a book

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Channel 4's Indian Summers

TV
Arts and Entertainment
The BBC's version of 'The Crimson Petal and the White'

Books

Arts and Entertainment
We will remember them: 'Blood Swept Lands and Seas of Red' at the Tower of London

Art Police investigate abuse sent to Paul Cummins over Tower of London installation

Arts and Entertainment
Nicole Kidman was named worst actress for her performance as Grace Kelly in Grace of Monaco
film
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game; the film’s producer, Harvey Weinstein, said the UK government ought to honour its subject
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

    Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

    Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
    How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

    Time to play God

    Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
    MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

    MacGyver returns, but with a difference

    Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
    Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

    Tunnel renaissance

    Why cities are hiding roads underground
    'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

    Boys to men

    The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
    Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

    Crufts 2015

    Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
    10 best projectors

    How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

    Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
    Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

    Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

    Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
    Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

    Monaco: the making of Wenger

    Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
    Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

    Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

    Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

    In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

    This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
    'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

    Homage or plagiarism?

    'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
    Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

    Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

    A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower