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Meat Loaf may be 63, but his opening night gig at Summerfest did not disappoint.
Meat Loaf may be 63, but his opening night gig at Summerfest did not disappoint. (Photo: Ted Sprangers)

Meat Loaf serves up a surprise at Summerfest

I've always had a soft spot for Meat Loaf. Like just about everyone, my Mom owns "Bat Out of Hell" and it was one of the first albums I listened to as a kid. I was a sucker for some quality cover art. So, in a Summerfest of bucket list check marks for me, I made sure I was able to see Meat Loaf perform "Paradise By the Dashboard Light." While I did not leave disappointed, I must say that I was a little disappointed when I first got there.

The new Briggs & Stratton Big Backyard is gorgeous, there's no doubting that, but they missed a great opportunity to change the way the venue works. The stage still has the aluminum benches that everyone stands on, effectively blocking the view for anyone behind them. I understand waiting for hours to get a good spot for your favorite headliner, I'm sure I'll even do it once or twice this summer, but the benches have got to go. Or at least be downsized.

Once we snaked our way to a reasonable spot, though, Meat Loaf did not disappoint. I had been warned that at age 63, Meat Loaf wasn't able to rock quite as hard as he might like to. He certainly didn't show his age as he opened with one of my personal favorites, "Bless My Soul" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." He then surprised everyone, maybe even himself, when he played "Bat Out of Hell" as the third song.

One thing that really surprised me about Meat Loaf's live performance was his on-stage vulgarity. I didn't personally have a problem with it, but there were a lot of "f-bombs," more than some people may have been comfortable with. I was told that that's the norm for a Meat Loaf show, however, and the show didn't suffer for it in the least as far as I'm concerned. If there was one thing that I could have done without, it was the phallic T-shirt cannons. That, to me, seemed below a rock 'n' roll legend such as Meat Loaf. It can't be said enough, however, that the show itself was absolutely outstanding.

As the hits kept coming, the band dropped in a few of the newer tunes as well. I'm not nearly as familiar with these as I am with the classics, but the die-hard Meat Loaf fans I was with were pleased with them and they were good songs, so I had no problems with listening to them. Throughout the course of the night, the band also played "You Took the Words Right Out of My Mouth," "Two Out of Three Ain't Bad," "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That" and of course, "Paradise By the Dashboard Light."

After a long first day at Summerfest, Meat Loaf hit the spot. He showed very little of his 63 years and put everything he had into each song. I would have no qualms about going to see another Meat Loaf concert, but for now it just feels good to have "see 'Paradise By the Dashboard Light' live" crossed off my bucket list.


sandstorm | June 30, 2011 at 2:26 p.m. (report)

i think his charity makes 5k every time he drops the f-bomb.

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