Meat Loaf’s farewell tour, SECC Glasgow, review
American rock legend Meat Loaf showed he’s still ‘brave and crazy’ on the Glasgow leg of his last ever tour, says Mark Brown.
Of the various ways that American rock legend Meat Loaf could have ended his stage career, the safe money was always on him taking his leave, in the words of Dylan Thomas, “raging against the dying of the light”. So it is, in the 65-year-old’s farewell tour.
Almost from the outset, the Texan star is staggering like a punch-drunk boxer who refuses to hit the canvas. His right hand shakes the microphone like a maraca, while his voice strains to reach the rock-operatic heights that shot his second album, Bat Out of Hell, to the top of the charts and forever into the annals of popular music history.
In fairness, the stagger is probably down to a knee-replacement operation last year, and the vocal strain never comes close to the Olympian embarrassment of Paul McCartney. In any case, his devoted fans are here to see a performance which is, as the title of his forthcoming album has it, “brave and crazy”; and that is what Meat (as his silver-studded leather jacket abbreviates his name) gives them in abundance.
The gig is very much a show of two halves. The first – in which favourites such as Dead Ringer for Love and Los Angeloser are accompanied by montages of film and animation – seems like a carefree cross between soft rock and soft porn. Subtlety was never Meat Loaf’s strong suit, a fact of which we’re reminded by a flashing message on the huge video screen informing us of “sex in progress”, and a video of scantily clad women being spanked by the man himself.
The second half of the show, which is intercut with documentary material (including interview footage of Bat Out of Hell songwriter Jim Steinman) is an emotional rollercoaster ride through the entire track list of the 1977 album.
With long-time duet partner and Wagnerian rock queen, Patti Russo by his side, Meat howls his way through the album’s classic tracks, from You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth to Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad.
Then it’s on to For Crying Out Loud, and he duly does. The tears are not for our benefit, he assures us, but because the lyric is (in possibly the boldest claim of the evening) “the greatest love song ever written”. After two-and-a-half hours of high-energy performance, Meat Loaf bows out, like the last gladiator left standing, attributing his success to his adoring fans.
Meat Loaf tours Europe until May 17. For details, visit: www.meatloaf.net
This review was originally published on the website of the Daily Telegraph on April 8, 2013
© Mark Brown