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Meat Loaf - Bat Out of Hell Live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra


Review: Jack Foley

"THE songs are crying out for this, really - they’re very long, very dramatic and melodramatic - even operatic. So, of course, they’re perfectly suited to being played with an opera" - Meat Loaf

It's been almost 30 years since a young Meat Loaf began recording the Bat Out of Hell set with writer, Jim Steinman, and producer, Todd Rundgren, in 1976.

Since then, several of the tracks have become part of modern music folkore, paving the way for bands such as Queen to deliver equally epic singles (such as Bohemian Rhapsody).

Ironically, Meat Loaf had discussed the idea of recording the seven songs with an orchestra prior to the album's initial release, but this was shelved due to scheduling and the costs involved.

Now, however, the dream has been turned into a reality and, for fans, the wait is definitely worth it.

The presence of the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra merely serves to lend the album the epic sweep it truly deserves - heightening the grandiosity, the sweeping emotions, the change in moods and the courage to defy convention.

It could easily be the soundtrack to some lavish West End production, such is the scope and diversity of the album, including the wordy exchanges between certain characters that mark the start of certain tracks (such as You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth, for instance).

Recorded during the two-night gigs in Melbourne, Australia, in February 2004, the tracks provide a fitting platform for Meat Loaf's striking vocals, which work tremendously well over the explosive blend of rock theatrics and orchestral grandeur.

Highlights, needless to say, include the title track, which sets things going, and the Elvis Presley-inspired Paradise By The Dashboard Light, which harks back to the glory days of rock 'n' roll.

But perhaps the finest moment comes in the form of the slow-building, operatic I'd Do Anything For Love - a timeless ballad which seems tailor-made for an orchestra.

By the time the track reaches its majestic crescendo, there probably won't be a dry eye in the living room, such is the emotion which Meatloaf injects into the song.

It's truly inspiring stuff, particularly if you're a fan, and one which demands to be listened to many times over.

The DVD, which is being released simultaneously, is no-less essential, if only to visualise the music. It's as spectacular as you might imagine.

Click on the blip for some excerpts.

Click here to find out more about Meatloaf!

Track listing:
1. Bat Out Of Hell
2. You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night)
3. Heaven Can Wait
4. All Revved Up With No Place To Go
5. Two Out Of Three Ain't Bad
6. Paradise By The Dashboard Light
7. For Crying Out Loud
8. I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)
9. Couldn't Have Said It Better


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