Meat Loaf is all gravy for London's seniors

Legend performs hits at JLC, sounds like bad karaoke

Tuesday, April 7th, 2009

Meat Loaf

The latest rock legend to hit the John Labatt Centre was Meat Loaf, who played to a packed house Sunday night.

Not surprisingly, it was a mostly older crowd. It was both endearing and a little terrifying seeing so many 50-years-old-plus people wheezing while climbing to their seats.

Norwegian-born singer-songwriter Marion Raven opened. Initially, the crowd seemed indifferent and impatient. However, the audience gradually warmed to her despite her overpowering vocals.

Unfortunately for Raven, her talents were eclipsed by Randy Flowers, the guitarist accompanying her.

After Raven finished her set, it was announced Meat Loaf had decided to use footage from the show in his upcoming DVD. Extra cameras and other equipment jump-started the crowd.

When Meat Loaf hit the stage, so did the 1970s. Everyone was decked out in vintage class, from the sax player’s pimp costume to the backup singers’ Go-Go outfits. Loaf sported an appropriately hideous suit and wig.

Everything was fine until Meat Loaf started singing.

His voice was barely recognizable. It sounded nothing like the powerful voice on the Bat Out of Hell albums. Whether it was because he’s past his prime or was just having a bad night, his vocals didn’t deliver. It was painfully obvious when he performed “I’d Do Anything For Love.”

When the song started, the crowd collectively wet their Depends, only to be disappointed by a performance sounding like an embarrassing drunk uncle performing karaoke. To top it off, Meat Loaf’s earpiece kept falling out, which threw him off even more.

Fortunately, the other performers were great. Meat Loaf was upstaged by backup singer and duet collaborator Aspen Miller. Guitarists Randy Flowers and Paul Crook’s charisma, awesome shredding and solos were fantastic. The band was tightly knit, faltering only when compensating for Meat Loaf’s erratic time and tuning.

Despite his vocal shortcomings, Meat Loaf delivered a strong show. His brief interactions with the crowd seemed sincere and funny, even though every punchline dropped at least one f-bomb.

The night concluded with a long encore, including “Mercury Blues,” “Black Betty” and a duet with Marion Raven of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.”

Most of the crowd walked (and danced) away happy, trapped in blissful nostalgia, ready to pop a Viagra and make out to Bat Out of Hell II.

However, some people left wondering who that guy on stage was.

As Will Ferrell so eloquently put it, “Where’s the meatloaf?”

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