Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Review: Meat Loaf, Odyssey Arena, Belfast

Even a bat out of hell can feel a bit tired sometimes

Meat Loaf performing in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Meat Loaf performing in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Meat Loaf performing in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Meat Loaf performing in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Meat Loaf performing in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Meat Loaf performing in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Meat Loaf performing in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast
Meat Loaf performing in the Odyssey Arena, Belfast

An undersold Odyssey Arena on one of the coldest evenings in recent memory wasn't enough to stop Meat Loaf rocking Belfast.

You could have forgiven the 63-year-old legend for phoning in his performance last night, but Loaf pulled out all the stops to give Belfast a full-on extravaganza.

In most respects it was an enjoyable show.

The band was on top form, the set list ticked all the boxes and the main man seemed to be in good spirits.

Strutting out in a sparkly black shirt and jacket, Loaf was effing and blinding comically about the weather, praising the loyalty of Belfast fans and threatening to pay a visit to anyone who didn't listen to his new album.

If only his singing voice had been on a par with the banter.

For casual fans,the concert would have been fine — a good night out. But if Bat Out Of Hell had been the soundtrack to your teenage years, if you were the kind of person who leaps to his or her feet when the 10-minute title track comes on the jukebox, then this show might have been a major disappointment.

Sweating profusely and barely moving from the microphone stand, Loaf was having difficulty nailing his classic hits.

You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night), Two Out of Three Ain't Bad and Paradise By The |Dashboard Light have definitely |sounded better.

But with a dazzling light show, skulls in each corner of the stage and a giant bat hovering behind the musicians, it was easy to get swept up in the drama.

This was pure rock 'n' roll theatre. Bat Out Of Hell — which came third in the set — was as searing and anthemic as ever, as was I'd Do Anything For Love.

Surprises included Hot Patootie (Bless My Soul) from The Rocky Horror Picture Show and Dead Ringer For Love.

But even more surprising was that the songs from new CD Hang Cool Teddy Bear were on a par with the vintage material.

Peace On Earth, though, with its chorus line of “I just want to go home”, was perhaps closest to the tired-looking showman's true feelings. At times coming across like a punch-drunk grizzly bear, maybe the Loaf needs a rest.

ANDREW JOHNSTON

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