I’ve been a Meatloaf fan since I was in the 8th grade. If you were a kid in the 80’s, you didn’t NOT own Bat Out of Hell. Meat gets a lot of cred in the metal world which I can totally see. The music was loud, epic, and Meat’s voice was so over the top that you couldn’t help but throw horns. When he made his huge comeback in the 90’s with Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, I was all for it and even had the opportunity to see him live which blew mind. It was everything I imagined. It was loud, intense, and over the top with Meat in top form. Over the years I would lose touch with Meatloaf pretty much only possessing those two great Meatloaf albums. Well, just a few weeks ago I was asked to review his newest DVD entitled Guilty Pleasure Tour: Live in Sydney, Australia. I hadn’t seen or heard Meat in about 15 years so I was curious to see and hear just how well Meatloaf has aged.
I was first taken back at how low quality the menu and packaging of this DVD was. If I didn’t know better, I would have thought that it was a bootleg. As the first song “Hot Patootie/TimeWarp” kicked in I was really blown away at how amazing his band was. Meat has always surrounded himself with the best and this time around was no exception. The band was lead by former Anthrax guitarist Paul Crook who totally rips some serious ass. It’s cool seeing him in such a great position. The quality of this recording is fantastic and then here comes Meatloaf. The minute he started singing my mouth just dropped to the floor. He sounded so bad. He literally sounded like he was in pain trying to barely reach the very notes that he used to hit with ease just by opening his mouth. As “Bat out of Hell” kicked in, it was even more painful hearing him struggle and look like he was passing a gallstone trying to pull this song off. “You Took the Words Right out of My Mouth” was even more painful as he completely relied on the voices of his backup singers to get him through the song. It was really sad to see a man who was once could carry the show rely so heavily on his band to get him through some of these songs.
Now songs like “Peace on Earth” and “Los Angeloser” where he didn’t have to be in the upper part of his vocal register seemed to sound pretty decent but even on those songs I could tell that he was struggling. I have to give it to Meat about one thing though. The man still has an amazing stage presence and totally knows how to captivate an audience. It was just so hard to have to see him deliver these songs at a fraction of what he once was able to do. Now don’t get me wrong. When I say it was painful to see him unable to perform at the level that he once did, I don’t mean that this DVD was completely unwatchable. I still found myself enjoying the musicianship of his band and Paul Crook’s acoustic intro to “Rock & Roll Dreams Come True” along is worth a viewing in itself. Meat’s intro to “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” was another real treat as he told everyone, “If you want to be known as Sydney, Australia who sits on your asses, go right ahead. If not, let’s party!” The place went nuts and he once again showed why he’s one of the greatest performers ever.
Getting to watch this for free as a reviewer wasn’t a bad experience but it’s not necessarily a DVD that I would go running out to purchase. While Meat’s voice might not be all that it used to be, the man still has the passion, the heart, and the soul that he’s always had and really does still have an amazing stage presence. Sometimes though, that passion, heart, and soul doesn’t make up for the fact that you are giving your fans a less than superior performance that they are used to seeing from you. As for this fan, I’d rather remember him the way I saw him back in the 90’s when he was still on top of his game. As much as I hate to say it, this Meatloaf seems to have passed its expiration date.