Live Music + Gig Reviews

Meat Loaf @ Big Top Arena, Liverpool

18 July 2005

Meat Loaf

Meat Loaf

Despite loud proclamations, most ageing rock stars just can’t leave it alone – touring, that is. With severe health problems during his 2003/4 world tour and a firm decision to dedicate himself to acting, Meat Loaf announced his retirement from the road. Yet here he is again, this time drumming up premature support for 2006’s Bat Out Of Hell III: The Last Bat.

At this same venue last week, he sounded utterly appalling as he blatantly struggled for every breath, hardly stringing a line together. But as the temperature outside the venue was not quite so uncomfortably high this time round; and indoors being much cooler as a result, his voice was not as stifled and he seemed to enjoy it too.

At times it still looked like an up hill battle for him as he fought against his excellent band with epics like Out of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire) and I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That) being particularly difficult yet he still gave it his all, admirably. His central backing singer Patti Russo is always a treat and their humorous play acting together during the likes of Dead Ringer For Love was hilariously cheesy but fun.

The sound from his group of seven musicians seemed much bigger than the hideously ugly and restrictive tent, which is a temporary venue for Liverpool’s annual Summer Pops festival. Thus, and rather annoyingly, the size and shape of the tent worked against the band because at some points the sound was almost distorted, obstructing the melody.

He threw in a couple of cover versions including Black Betty and Mercury Blues; the latter being an odd and half-arsed excuse for an encore when the legendary Bat Out Of The Hell was a perfect finish anyway. And an exclusive taster of Only When I Feel from the forthcoming Bat Out Of Hell III was an odd curiosity.

He played for almost two hours, which is actually an hour short of his usual set; perhaps that was due to Summer Pops restrictions but a satisfying set list was still well crammed in with classic’s like You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night) and Paradise By The Dashboard Light gaining the most cheers and gleeful applause. Although if he hadn’t have clowned around so much he could have still fitted in a couple more, at least the shorter ones anyway.

Despite being much thinner these days Meat Loaf is still a mammoth presence, literally covering every inch of the stage and is a brilliantly comic performer. On a good day his voice is still better than most pop stars out there, and tonight was a good day.

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Meat Loaf @ Big Top Arena, Liverpool
Meat Loaf – Bat Out Of Hell Live