There was a buzz in South Kensington on the night of Monday 16th October that is not usually there. Meat Loaf was in town to promote his forthcoming album, Bat Out Of Hell III - The Monster is Loose, with a one-off gig at the Royal Albert Hall.
Although sceptics are wary of the latest album in the Bat trilogy due to the lack of contribution from its creator, songwriter Jim Steinman, there was no sign of any of that scepticism that night.
When Meat Loaf appeared on stage and got going, there was no stopping him. In two hours he and the band, accompanied by a 16 piece all female orchestra, had powered through thirteen vocal-tearing, Springsteen/Wagner style songs with only one unprecedented twenty minute break.
For those who are wondering how it took so long to do thirteen songs, an average Meat Loaf/Jim Steinman song lasts on average seven minutes, longer in the live versions.
As Meat delivered classics such as Paradise By the Dashboard Light, I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That), and Bat Out Of Hell in his unique and powerful voice, he strode and moved about the stage with an energy that defied his 59 years and size, although he has lost a lot of weight since the first album.
The audience responded to him wonderfully, the vast majority using their seats solely as a place to put their personal belongings, singing and clapping along to every song, laughing at the “phone call” with Brad Pitt (they starred in Fight Club together), and shaking the foundations of the venue in their call for an encore.
Songs from the new album were well received, particularly “Bad For Good”, the title track of Jim Steinman’s only solo album in 1981, and therefore known by a lot of the audience. Also familiar to many was “It’s All Coming Back To Me Now”, another Steinman creation, sung as a duet with former M2M member Marion Raven.
Even the non-Steinman penned songs “Blind As A Bat” and the more metal sounding “The Monster Is Loose” were welcomed into the family, so to speak.
The show-stopping number of the night came from a little known but well loved song titled “Objects In The Rear-view Mirror May Appear Closer Than They Are”. It was not just because it has been so long since Meat performed that song, but also because of the emotion and soul he put into the performance that the audience nigh on brought the roof down.
Finally, the concert ended with “Life Is A Lemon And I Want My Money Back”. From listening to people on the way out and on the internet, there weren’t many people saying that on reflection.