August 22, 2010
As I sat through Meat Loaf's concert full of epic songs, costume changes, rhinestone studded jackets, and women clad in pleather and lace, I couldn't help but laugh a little at over-the-top theatrics of show. Since Meat Loaf's legacy, built up on albums like Bat Out of Hell and acting roles in films with cult followings like The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Fight Club, this behavior was some what expected. While initially the glitz was just a bit ridiculous, the more I observed, the more endearing and genuine it became. I accepted that, for the Loaf, the performance medium was as much about the show as it was about the music.
These amiable stunts took a rather unexpected turn as the show wrapped up though.
The second-to-last song of the night was an extraordinarily epic rendition of the Meat Loaf classic "Paradise by the Dashboard Light," which should have left more to the imagination than it did, sadly. If you're not familiar with the song, it's essentially about a couple of young kids making out in a car, and deciding that they'll lose their virginity to one another in a steamy cliché. Just as they're about to do the dirty, the woman asks the man (Meat Loaf) if he in fact loves her, deciding that she won't sleep with him without a firm "yes." Meat Loaf is unable to make that decision, and when he asks her for some more time to think it over, she becomes rather unhappy (as you might imagine.)
So how would the theatrical ensemble act this one out? Back up singer Patricia Russo in a polka dotted dress with a bright red corset seducing Meat Loaf on stage? Yes. Multiple innuendos and the sounds of a Yankees game being announced, using baseball as an analogy for sex? Of course. Lots of running around on stage? Check.
And don't forget about the giant T-shirt gun shaped like a penis with a condom on it.
(Yes. This actually happened.)
Meat Loaf then referred to the aforementioned object as a replica of his "big surprise." As he had orchestrated every move from both his own band as well as the audience throughout the course of the night, he encouraged the crowd to encourage his female colleague to touch the phallic T-shirt dispenser. Once everyone was sufficiently worked up, there was a "penis T-shirt gun reprise" as I like to call it. (It really is the best way to describe what happened next.) It was at that point that the two female backup singers each had their own condomed penis with which to ejaculate white T-shirts into the crowd. This was in addition to the one that Meat Loaf had.
To top this all off, once they reached the point in the song when the female character decided that she was fed up with the indecisiveness of her potential lover's commitment, she slapped him, and tried to knee him in the groin. Meat Loaf then retaliated with a slew of insults, which began with, "Fuck you!" and ended with, "You're like melted ice cream in Phoenix in July."
While most people don't actively seek out a feminist critique of a rock show, it was impossible to ignore the crowds of middle aged couples egging on a rockstar, who, as part of his act, verbally and physically abused the gal not wanting to sleep with him without a commitment. (Don't freak. There was no actual hitting, but there was a staged fist fight between the Loaf and Russo.)
Though it would have been impossible to top this performance with anything short of a multi-million dollar pyrotechnic display, the band didn't stop there. They played one more song before they left the stage, and refused to play an encore.
Ridiculous doesn't even begin to describe it...
The Crowd: Middle aged, with a fair number of bikers and fans of biker-chic style. These people were not afraid to stand up, dance, and bounce around. It was a bit of a relief to have ended up in the lame section.
Overheard in the Crowd: There was a guitar auctioned off right after Meat Loaf's daughter, Pearl, played the opening set, and right before the main man took the stage for the night. While the bidding was occurring, someone behind me kindly asked about the beautiful woman holding the guitar for display. "Does she come along with it?"
Random Notebook Dump: I think what just happened bordered on breaking the state's obscenity laws.
Partial Set List:
Hot Patootie -- Bless My Soul
If It Ain't Broke, Break It
Bat Out of Hell
Peace on Earth
Living on the Outside
You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth
Song of Madness
Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through
I'd Do Anything for Love
Two Out of Three Ain't Bad
Paradise by the Dashboard Light
(Instrumental feat. guitar solo from "Free Bird" and the penis T-shirt gun reprise)