Words were missed, vocals were slowed down so he could keep time, the backing singers took up the mantle for some lines altogether, You took the words right out of my mouth seemed cut short, but..but underneath all the signs of age and a wild life, the consummate showman, and the voice, the voice was still there. True it didn’t break out all the time, but when it did, the power and glory was all there. Meat Loaf is not one to merely sing, he belts out his lyrics with passion and gusto, and to me (and this was my first Meat gig so I would be intrigued to know if he’s always sung like that) at times on the stage at the O2 last night, Meat Loaf the showman seemed to dig deep to rip his voice from his ageing body.
“I’m gonna aim for 1978, I’m not sure I’m gonna make it” came his honest promise before Two out of Three.
“We love you Meat Loaf!” came the response from the crowd, seeing past the sixty five year old man laying down his soul on the stage, it gave him energy,
The greatest hits portion included Dead Ringer for Love and Objects in the rear view mirror but the main event, Bat out of Hell was the draw, that’s what the O2 had come to see, and the Loaf did not disappoint. Video clips featuring Jim Steinman, a younger Meat Loaf, Ellen Foley and others introduced each song. Thirty five years after it was released Bat out of Hell has just re-charted, coming in at number nine, the same spot it peaked at before, the album itself is older than me, so were most of the crowd. A young guy across the aisle looked incredibly bemused, while his girlfriend danced beside him, when I saw him again, he was mouthing the words to heaven can wait, we were mere onlookers though to a good portion of the crowd, (slightly) older couples singing along to every word, any number of memories pinged back from each and every song.
A giant inflatable bat appeared over the stage during the first song, followed by an inflatable women’s torso with two arms coming around to cup her breasts during paradise by the dashboard light, which was belted through like he was back in his thirties. What made the gig was For Crying out Loud, Meat Loaf broke down during the introduction explaining why he hardly ever plays it in his shows. He started singing, eyes closed, pouring out everything to the mic. After that the band left the stage. There had to be an encore, he hadn’t played I’d do anything for love, but I couldn’t see how he could have anything left. But this is Meat Loaf. He came back out to the epic intro to I’d do anything and belted out his only UK number 1, to a faithful crowd wishing a warm and wonderful good bye to one of Rock’s greatest showmen.