By DAN AQUILANTE Mon Aug 8, 1:49 PM ET
MEAT Loaf on a Friday night may not sound all that exciting, but after the singer struggled to generate heat for much of his Beacon Theatre opener, he got results.
The Loaf, thinner than when he was a youth, but still a bull of a man, looked at the sitting crowd with disbelief. During his rendition of "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)," he requested the fans be his choir for the popular number.
Hardly, a croak from the crew who seemed to be glued to their seats.
The big man, undaunted, put his hands on his hips, tipped his chin down and aimed a menacing stare from beneath his beefy brow. Without a word of reprimand, he forced them to sing. It was a line-in-the-sand, are-you-with-me moment; it wasn't pretty, but Loaf won the battle of wills.
It's a hard way to play a show, but what works, works, and Loaf is still selling tickets.
In the early parts of this performance (the first of three concerts at the Beacon concluding tomorrow), Loaf lumbered in front of his seven-piece band, sometimes looking dazed and confused and sometimes dangerously insane.
The operatic pop singer said his 2003 tour (during which he had problems with his ticker) would be his swan song and he was going to quit music to concentrate on his acting.
At this show, we were still waiting to miss him, especially after he unveiled "Only When I Feel" a song that will be part of "Bat Out of Hell 3," a sequel to the sequel of Meat Loaf's epic "Bat Out of Hell" that's sold more than 30 million copies.
That new song, like so many of the others in Loaf's set, didn't stink, but it never approached the grandeur and quality of the original Bat tunes.
While his cover of the dusty rockabilly rave "Mercury Blues" during the encore sizzled and his own "I'd Do Anything for Love" from "Bat II" rallied the fans, the gravy in Meat Loaf's set was mostly extracted from songs on the original 1977 "Bat Out of Hell" record.
The rescue of the faltering show started, appropriately enough, with "All Revved Up With No Place to Go," which nicely eased into "Paradise By the Dashboard Lights," featuring Patti Russo in the infamous he said/she said duet. This tune remains a concert pleasure not only to hear, but to watch for the falling in lust, and then out of love, pantomime.
The night was rounded out with a very well-received title track to the original "Bat Out of Hell."
During the good, bad and even the boring songs, Meat Loaf's band earned high marks for lending the singer's music a near-metal heaviness. As for the quality of Meat's voice he consistently sang well, only hitting cringe notes when he pushed the emotion of the lyrics beyond his big range.
Meat Loaf music has a rock-meets-opera-meets-Broadway sense of theatrics, bombast and magic — qualities you sometimes want and sometimes need, but, as Meat Loaf sings in "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," you don't always love.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
An interesting review of one of The Wizard's favorite rockers......!!!