Thursday, September 16, 2010

You Took the Words Right Out of my Mouth or Why Meat Loaf is Still Delicious

*Meat Loaf with Tim Curry on the big screen.
I consider myself pretty lucky.  I grew up during a time in which many of the greatest rock and roll icons in the world were growing up too.  The Who, Bruce Springsteen, and The Rolling Stones serenaded me through my teenage years, filling my soul with hope and unrest and a bit of rebellion.(Maybe more than just a bit.)  From Mick Jagger professing that he would never be my "beast of burden", to Bruce Springsteen's long, plaintive wails calling for me to tie my hair back in a long white bow, I was being seduced by a generation of gritty, throaty, talented young men whose music became integral parts of the soundtrack of my life.  But in 1977, a guy who I was quite interested in came over to my house and brought me a new record to listen to.  When he dropped the needle down on the shiny, black vinyl, and I first heard the pleading voice of Meat Loaf, my heart momentarily skipped a beat.  The album, Bat Out of Hell(which has sold over 40 million copies to date), exemplified something that my parents would never understand.  Pain, turmoil, chaos, love and adolescent hormones raged in every chord of this album.  I melted into the lyrics and into that guys arms...  He and I never really worked out.  Meat Loaf never left me.

For the first time in over thirty years, last weekend, I went to watch Meat Loaf sing in concert for the second time.  The first time I saw him, I was "barely seventeen" and he weighed about three hundred and fifty pounds.  He lumbered around the stage, stopping frequently to take hits off of an oxygen canister because his asthma was so problematic.  He only played for about an hour.  The experience was a letdown, especially for an energetic teenager.  I forgave Meat Loaf for his lackluster performance.  I continued a love affair with his music over the years.  So when I saw that he was playing out in Palm Springs in a casino that my dad spends some time at, I asked him to get us some tickets for the concert.  Mark, our four Angel Daughters, and I really enjoy going to concerts, so I thought this would be fun for us to do.  I must admit that I was not expecting very much as we(Meat Loaf and many of his fans) are getting older.  His daughter Pearl was the opening act, but she never announced her relationship to him.(Doesn't want to succeed on the nepotism factor?)  Her voice was gritty and strong and lovely, but the reception from the audience was sadly, less than enthusiastic.  She tried her hardest to get the crowd going and smiled the entire time.  Looking back now, I understand why this happened.

1.  The audience did not realize that Pearl was Meat Loaf's daughter.(Sometimes it is best to use who you know to your advantage.)

2.  The audience consisted of mostly casino players, many of whom were probably comped tickets by the pit bosses.(People tend to enjoy things more when they pay for them themselves.)

3.  The audience was comprised of mostly older people who no longer appreciate loud music.(And some of them appeared to have their hearing aides turned way down.)

None of it had to do with Pearl's performance.  She was talented and enthusiastic and lovely.

As for me, let's just say I get very absorbed in enjoying the experience and people around me might or might not consider me a little bit wild once the music begins to play.  Now my youngest Angel Daughter knows where she gets it from...

The concert opened with the song "Hot Patootie-Bless my Soul" which originated in the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show.  I am pretty sure that I do not have to explain The Rocky Horror Picture Show, but in case I do, let me just say that it is a very bizarre, very popular cult classic that still has a major following today.  Scenes from the movie flashed on the screen behind the band but most of the audience remained fairly docile.  Not a great sign for someone who loves to stand up and dance!

The third song in the set was Bat Out of Hell which got a mediocre rise out of the seemingly partially dozing, partially unimpressed crowd.  I must admit that the gigantic bat was a bit cheesy, but I did get a kick out of it.  After the song was over, Meat Loaf was fairly winded and told a few stories to the audience.  He let us all know that he is sixty-two years old and that if he can still get up there and put on this kind of a show, then the audience should be sending some of that energy right back to him.(Check out the heads of the people in the audience.  Very few people are standing down on the floor.)

It was then that he turned to the audience and made an announcement.  He told security to get the hell out of the way(using other very strong expletives!) and to allow anyone who wanted to dance to move up to the stage!  What was security supposed to do???  They got out of the way, and the individuals in the partially stunned crowd who were enjoying the concert, moved their way up towards the stage!  We ended up in the front row, Mark and Angel Daughter Number One leaning right on the stage and me and my other two daughters, standing on the chairs!  In all of my years going to live concerts, this was an absolute first!  Everyone behaved really well, and the house began to rock!
From that point on, everyone was dancing and singing and enjoying the concert.  I am pretty sure that the folks who were not getting into it before, ended up leaving.  Meat Loaf sang his heart out and the audience sent the love and energy right back to him and his extremely talented band.  When I walked into the concert, I was the forty-eight year old mother of four young adult women.  When I left the concert, I was a seventeen year old girl on a date with her friends.  Meat Loaf took me back to a place in time when I was young and my world could be described by the words in a song.
Of course he did a fantastic rendition of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" with his longtime duet partner, Patti Russo.  Even my daughters sang along to that one.(If you have never heard it, you must go listen to it.  It is quite a racy classic.)

Meat Loaf's voice was strong and melodic.  His energy was good and his sense of humor was apparent.  He was irreverent, in your face, and very likable.  He was like an old friend.  It felt really good to spend the evening with him and his band.  Their energy was contagious.(after we got rid of the fuddy-duddies;))

When he put on his red, sparkly jacket, he joked about how much other rock and roll artists would forever envy him for having it.

But his singing was seriously good.  Meat Loaf has been through a lot with his voice over the years.  There were times when it was reported that he would lose it for good.  So to hear him belt out some very powerful melodies was both exciting and inspirational.
His guitar player, Randy Flowers, was fantastic as were all of the musicians in the band.  Angel Daughter Number Four thought it was hysterical because Randy smiled directly at me a couple of times.  She kept pointing it out to me whenever he did.  I just let her know that her good ole mom still has it;), but that I only have eyes for her daddy.  Funny when our children see us through different eyes!
By the end of the concert, Meat Loaf was still going strong.  Sixty two just isn't what it was when I was growing up.  It amazes me that older people are so much younger than they used to be!  I love it.  Getting older no longer means that we must fade quietly into the background of life.
Nope, we can still rock and roll and do it well!

Reflecting upon the days when I was young and free-spirited and quite a bit rebellious might have reminded me of my teenage years and the boys I once knew(What were their names?) and the songs that rocked my soul, but it also reminded me of something else.  That everything that happened then, is part of who I still am now.  And everyone who had an effect on who I was then, is a part of my history.  My story.  My life.  And who I am now.  There is no way to erase or change the things that brought us to this point.  There is no way to change the things that make us who we are now.  So we might as well embrace them.  And dance...

*The five of us at the Meat Loaf concert.  AD3 had previous plans:(

*AD1, AD2, and AD4 with Pearl in the background.
*AD2 and her Angel Momma


Joanne said...

We did have the best music, didn't we. The 60s through the 80s were rich with amazing rock and roll. My family loves going to concerts, and just last week saw John Fogerty. He's got an amazing band put together, and we rate his concert one of the best. As a fellow music-lover, you might enjoy a link on my blog sidebar, under the Music Posts called When The Music's Over. I'd be curious to see if you agree ... Rock on :)

Laura ~Peach~ said...

love meat... love RHPS.... love that you guys got to go to a great show!

Anonymous said...

Aren't live concerts just great. The pictures depict nothing but fun and loving it...I love the pictures too, you all look so beautiful! Hugs

Sharon said...

What a great event! I still remember listening to all the bands and musicians you mentioned on my transistor radio ~ that really dates me. That music will live for all time.

Laura said...

not only did you feel 17 Deb, you don't look much older than 17 in your photos either!! I'm so happy you were able to get out and have such a great time!

Mickey (Michel) Johnson said...

what a fun time and so cool that your daughters went too! that is the best part! glad you got to dance to your little hearts content! xoxo

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