Live With the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra
Review by Michael Jacobson
Meat Loaf and the Neverland Express featuring Patti Russo
Director: Michael Simon
Audio: Dolby Digital 5.1, DTS 5.1
Video: Widescreen 1.78:1
Features: See Review
Length: 135 Minutes
Release Date: October 5, 2004
I gotta be damned, you know I wanna be damned,
through the night with you!”
Loaf is a hero to me, if for no other reason than he proves a big guy can rock
the roof off. When he takes the
stage, he has an audience in the palm of his hand.
And once he does, he knows how to take care of them.
Meat Loaf Live with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra, he joins the trend
he arguably should have started, which is taking a catalog of indelible rock and
roll songs and plowing through them live with an orchestra blasting away behind
them. Jim Steinman’s bombastic
tunes are perfectly suited for the full arrangements, and the extra sound helps
Meat deliver the kind of sweaty, loud, passionate rock he’s known for.
over two hours, he gives the fans in the auditorium and at home their money’s
worth, storming through hit after hit with an over-the-top energy and gusto.
All the favorites are here from both Bat Out of Hell albums,
including “All Revved Up With No Place to Go”, “Two Out of Three Ain’t
Bad”, “Out of the Frying Pan”, “You Took the Words Right Out of My
Mouth”, “Life is a Lemon” and more. Meat gleefully refers to his band The Neverland Express as
the greatest rock and roll band in the world, and it’s hard to argue with him
when you see the fire they play with on stage.
of the major highlights are a stunning version of “I’d Do Anything For
Love” (the end duet he sings with his incredible singer Patti Russo is
breathtaking), the rousing showstopper “Paradise By the Dashboard Light”
(more on stage hijinks with Patti), and the gospel-tinged “Testify” with a
new grooving outro.
perhaps the show’s most emotional moment is when Meat confesses he hadn’t
performed the upcoming song live in over 25 years, and he was nervous about
it…then he tears into a gut-wrenching rendition of “For Crying Out Loud”
that will give you goose bumps.
is a helluva show, and it’s great to see Meat still packing them in and
delivering a fully produced and conceived live show with lights, dancers,
pyrotechnics and more. But for all
the spectacle, it’s Meat himself that commands the attention.
He’s a singer who milks every note as though it were the most important
one ever sung in the history of music, and feels every song as though it were
being born right in front of your eyes instead of being the millionth time
he’s performed it. He isn’t
afraid to engage his audience, or to play with his arrangements midstream.
The unabashed passion he injects into the music is enough to make you
laugh sometimes and cry others…and often both at the same time.
It’s enough to make me forgive him for his New York Yankees guitar.
orchestra is kind of a trip in and of themselves…they play great, but whenever
the camera is on them, they frequently look dour, as though they never thought
their years at the conservatory would land them a gig backing rock’s most
one can’t help but find it’s a musical match made in heaven.
Meat and the MSO make beautiful music together, and as a long time fan,
I’m glad this moment was captured for all time on DVD.
shot on video, this DVD shows very little of the limitations usually associated
with the format. This is a bright,
colorful, well-lit show with lots of extreme contrasts, and for the most part,
the widescreen transfer captures it all beautifully. A few darker scenes lose definition because videotape
doesn’t pick up the lower lit settings as well, but that’s only a minor
soundtrack rocks the house…if you have DTS, opt for it and you’ll get a
powerful, almost overwhelming listening experience where every note rings clear
and succinctly and the extra oomph brought by the orchestra is fuller and more
rounder. Dynamic range is extremely
formidable throughout, and the subwoofer delivers a constant breastbone shaking
bottom end. This is a disc that
really captures the home viewing essence of a live concert experience.
has issued this title as a two disc set with a generous helping of extras,
starting with a commentary by Meat himself.
I never would have figured a commentary on a concert video would be an
attraction considering people buy these for the music, but Meat delivers the
goods with a funny, informative and self-depreciating track filled with
anecdotes and stories and humorous asides.
I enjoyed it immensely.
second disc has everything else, starting with a short featurette that seems
made for a chuckle and not much else. Meat
Loaf interviews Meat Loaf for a Q&A, and there’s a look at the band’s
pre-show ritual. Rounding out is a