Meat Loaf – Live At Wembley 1987 (Reissue)

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Review by Brian McGowan

Hear No Evil Rrecordings

No matter the worldwide acclaim and sheer weight of sales numbers, Bat Out Of Hell was not to every rock lover’s taste. Or maybe it’s just that Marvin ‘Meat Loaf’ Aday’s over the top style doesn’t have the same positive impact on everybody. Live, though, that theatrical persona is perfect for making an emotional connection with a huge audience. In other words, it’s designed for Stadium Rock. Meat Loaf’s 1987 Wembley gig followed hard on the heels of his Blind Before I Stop studio album, and it is unquestionably a cracking gig. Strangely, only two songs from that album are featured, and that’s despite songwriting contributions from Eddie (Don’t Shed A Tear/The Doctor) Schwartz; George, Lang and Page (Mr Mister) and Billy (Nazareth) Rankin. And on the other hand, unsurprisingly, four of the songs performed come from the pen of rock music genius, James Richard Steinman… when you come equipped with a multi-million selling album, you’d be a fool not to ignite a few familiar fireworks. And the gods smiled. Everybody raised their game and this gig was a killer.

Bob Kulick and Alan Merrill, on guitars, chug and chime their way through each song’s riffy foundation with vim and vigour, perfectly reproducing the overblown studio complexities of ‘Took The Words’, ‘Paradise At The Dashboard Light’ and ‘Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad’. Chuck Burgi and Steve Buslowe nail down a writhing, pounding beat, allowing ML and those sweet soul sisters, Amy and Elaine Goff to soar above the bombast, creating a sensual sensory experience. Audience response is ecstatic, with cacocaphraucous cheering and wild applause raising the rafters on the opening and closing of each new song. For them, clearly a concert to remember. John Parr joins ML for ‘Rock’N’Roll Mercenaries’, but is unannounced, a faux pas that was to create an immense rift between the two artists. But here, the two are on fire, trading lines and lyrics with consummate skill, creating their very own on-stage conflagration. The recording closes with a powerful, joyous eight and half minute classic rock medley … timeless tracks, ‘Johnny B Goode’, ‘Slow Down’, ‘Jailhouse Rock’ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes’, raucously celebrating the immortality of Rock’n’Roll’s pioneers, covering songs that still sound remarkably potent today.

Meat Loaf Live8 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Blind Before I Stop
  2. Rock’n’Roll Mercenaries
  3. Took The Words
  4. Midnight At The Lost And Found
  5. Modern Girl
  6. Paradise By The Dashboard Light
  7. Two Out Of Three Aint Bad
  8. Bat Out Of Hell
  9. Masculine
  10. Rock’n’Roll Medley