In the early '80s, legendary rock critic Jon Marlowe, writing for the Miami News
, traveled to New York City to catch a concert by Meat Loaf
, singer of the Jim Steinman-written 1977 album Bat Out of Hell
, which would eventually sell 34 million copies and remain on the charts for nine years. Marlowe, a streetwise and demanding critic, returned to the newsroom gushing. "This freakin' guy weighs like 400 freakin' pounds, but he freakin' moves like a freakin' cat! They had to give him oxygen during the set! He was nearly in a freakin' coma after the show! The best, man, the freakin' best." Except Jon didn't say freakin'.
Having subsequently seen Mr. Loaf live, we can happily and strongly affirm Marlowe's freakin' opinion. With a theater background and a voice as big as his belly used to be, the Meat man puts on a mighty show, reliant though it is on that one great album. Two sequels, including the recent Bat Out of Hell III: The Monster Is Loose
, have their moments, but c'mon. All seven songs on the first album charted as hit singles, and all have stood well the test of time, remaining eminently listenable. With all the rock docs on VH1, the bankruptcies, the softball playing, and the acting career, it's important to see through to the essence of Meat: The big man puts on a live show that'll leave you breathless.
Meat Loaf performs Thursday, April 5, at 7:30 p.m. at the Mizner Park Amphitheater, 590 Plaza Real, Boca Raton. Tickets cost $45 to $75. Call 561-750-1668.