At 65, with knees so bad that he limps, Meat Loaf still remains a crowd-pleasing entertainer.
On Friday, he treated a full house at Mystic Lake Casino showroom to 127 minutes of dramatic rock. Overbaked as always, Meat Loaf mugged with bug-eyed theatrics, acted out scenarios with mock-operatic backup singer Patti Russo and belted bloated, Springsteen-ian stories like the Pavarotti of rock.
This guy gets fired up, with a crazed look in his eyes like a football lineman waiting for the ball to be snapped. He even preached a bit, like his grandfather (bits that afforded him a chance to catch his breath). He told a few stories that were really jokes and fired T-shirts into the crowd via an air-gun decorated like, um, a penis with a condom on it.
To the crowd’s delight, Meat leaned heavily on his 1977 blockbuster, “Bat Out of Hell,” and its 1993 sequel, “Bat Out of Hell II.” “Paradise by the Dashboard Light,” a three-song suite, must have lasted a good 15 minutes, with drama-queen Russo and hammy Meat doing a vocal pas de deux. And these scenarios were acted out on a barebones stage, aided by occasional music-video clips and hats and sequined jackets. Meat’s personality, voice and excellent band carried the show.
One “Bat Out of Hell” classic was disappointing: the encore of “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad,” during which Meat sat in a director’s chair (those knees, he said) and brayed with a voice that sounded suddenly and hopelessly raw. By contrast, he sounded in good form the rest of the night, even if all his high notes weren’t there.
Friday’s set list:
Runnin’ for the Red Light/ Dead Ringer for Love/ If It Ain’t Broke, Break It/ Stand in the Storm/ Paradise By the Dashboard Light/ Living on the Outside/ Los Angeloser/ You Took the Worlds Right Out of My Mouth/ The Giving Tree/ Mad Mad World/ Rock ‘n’ Roll Dreams Come Through / Bat Out Of Hell ENCORE I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)/ Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad/ Boneyard > Revved Up with No Place to Go