Let me begin by saying that I was front row center for the show, and was literally less than five feet away from the legendary Sex God of Rock & Roll, Meat Loaf, for the entirety of the night! Being that close, and listening to recent interviews with Meat Loaf, I was on alert to watch for the subtle changes in character shifts between songs…take note…they are there! It is like a Master’s Class in Rock Theater to be that close and watch Meat Loaf do his thing like no one else can on this (or any other) planet!
The show was “An Evening With…” meaning no opening act and no bells and whistles, just a straightforward rock and roll extravaganza. That said, this was a set list sprinkled with a definite storyline. The show began with tribal drum beats from all of The Neverland Express and we were soon invited to party it up with Meat Loaf with the opening number, Runnin’ For The Red Light (I Gotta’ Life) shouts of “gonna have a good time tonight” which quickly took a turn for the bad as gears shifted with the sudden interjection of Life Is A Lemon (And I Want My Money Back) and If It Ain’t Broke, Break It. The show began in a very happy place and very up-beat, but Meat Loaf spun the yarn to let us know there was turmoil in the air quickly.
The night was a maligned love story of two creative forces forged together through the catacombs of sex, and drugs, and rock and roll. A story of two artists who are connected on a higher level. You had to pay attention to get the story, but it is there.
However, as the opening dialogue of the classic You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night) began, the tenuous cringe of anger over the dilemma at the start quickly faded to a magnificent smile of elation as Meat Loaf heard Jim Steinman’s voice boom through the sound system. You could tell that tonight was a complete love letter and explanation of the tumultuous relationship between Jim Steinman and Meat Loaf.
The show continued with the sultry duet of Dead Ringer For Love between Meat Loaf and new chanteuse Cian Coey, direct from the Rock Tales and Cocktails residency from Las Vegas.
The vibe of the room continued with the James Michael penned, Los Angeloser, and just like that the vibe of the room changed as Meat Loaf opened himself up, carefully explaining that the next song, The Giving Tree, was about a man who sold his soul to the Devil himself.
Although I am sure he would not admit openly, I believe that Meat Loaf gave us a peek into the secret folds of his life while away from his musical soul mate, Jim Steinman:
“I was temporarily blind by a neon dollar sign
It pacified my mind and whispered things are fine
Said, “Boy, if you wanna heal just sign this paper deal
You’ll never have to beg, no, you’ll never have to steal”
But when that giving tree stops giving
I’ve gotta get back to living, living like I did before
With a mattress on the floor and no food in my kitchen
I gotta get back to living like I did before
Living like I did before”
~ The Giving Tree
The physical acting of Meat Loaf and the various characters was painfully evident as the conversion from the sinner at the gates of hell turned over to the sinner at the gates of heaven when Meat Loaf brought us the “meat and potatoes” of a Meat Loaf concert with Jim Steinman penned Out Of The Frying Pan (And Into The Fire) fueled by the guitar riffs of Paul Crook running the audience headlong into the core of the Bat Out Of Hell album with All Revved Up With No Place To Go, Paradise By The Dashboard Light, and the title track Bat Out Of Hell.
With that, the lights fade to black but we are not done (by a mile), there is still show to go! Meat Loaf served up a singalong version of Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad, featuring an epic piano solo by returning Neverland Express member Tom Brislin followed by one of the most beautiful musical arrangements of Meat Loaf’s biggest hit to date, I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That). The thunder of the audience had not died down from Meat Loaf and Cian Coey’s duet when the band laid into the surprise setlist addition of Meat Loaf’s Midnight At The Lost And Found cover of Chuck Berry’s classic, The Promised Land, which faded into the guitar duel duet between Randy Flowers and Paul Crook ending of Free Bird and a last heaping helping serving of All Revved Up With No Place To Go.
All and all a magnificent night of theater and rock and roll presented well done by a true rock and roll legend.
- Runnin’ For The Red Light (I Gotta Life)
- Life Is a Lemon (And I Want My Money Back)
- If It Ain’t Broke, Break It
- You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)
- Dead Ringer for Love
- Los Angeloser
- The Giving Tree
- Out of the Frying Pan (And Into the Fire)
- All Revved Up With No Place to Go
- Paradise by the Dashboard Light
- Bat Out of Hell
- Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad
- I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)
- The Promised Land
- All Revved Up With No Place to Go (Reprise)