Meat Loaf House of Blues August 28, 2010
For more photos of Mr. Loaf and friends from Saturday, see our slideshow here.
Meat Loaf decimated House of Blues Saturday night for nearly three hours of pneumatic dick cannons, theatrical stomp, lights and his own burly-bear countenance. He also managed to throw down almost 15 songs for good measure, playing until our feet hurt from standing and our faces were smile-sore.
At "sexty-two" years old, the Meat holds no quarter live, stalking the stage like a pissed-off football coach with a voice like velvet. How he has managed to sound as clear and on-point this far down the line is a thing of beauty. Usually the older an artist gets the more viciously half-ass they get, coasting on nostalgia and name-recognition. Meat still bellows like he's singing for his supper.
Opener "Hot Patootie," from The Rocky Horror Picture Show, kicked the crowd in the nuts with a blaring lights and an LCD screen showing a clip of the young Meat from the 1975 cult classic. It was like an Arctic blast of happy for everyone involved, turning the floor into a danceteria not even three minutes into the night. Why the hell no one has ever mounted a big-budget touring concept of that soundtrack's music is beyond us.
Meat did what amounted to five minutes of stand-up after "If It Ain't Broke, Break It" from Bat Out of Hell III, warming up the crowd with Dallas shit-talking and touring tales. We had just watched the Texans beat the Cowboys in preseason play on the venue's drop-down screen before the show, making his jibing all the more prescient.
A live Meat Loaf show is taxing on your brain and your ears in the best way possible. He makes every gesture grand and opulent, from the screens behind him to the volume of the music. At some points all we did was grin like an idiot, even while listening to the stuff from the new Hang Cool Teddy Bear.
He didn't run through "California Isn't Big Enough (Hey There Girl)," which has become uber-famous for the sexty-two-year-old screaming that his "dick can barely fit in my pants," but he would make up for that later in the show in a fashion that made us forget about the slight.
Unrolling the five best tracks from 1977's monolithic Bat Out of Hell brought the yelps and howls in the crowd, especially from the messed-up freak show behind us. The mass of cougars and their conquests treated each song like an entreaty for the PG-rated mauling of each other. If you were unlucky to be standing close enough to them, you could get makeout smells that would take doing lines of Comet in the bathroom to get out of your nose.
Meat's current female stage foil, vocalist Patti Russo, matched him equally taking the dramatics of "Paradise by the Dashboard Light" to new perverted heights over ten minutes. This was about the time that Meat pulled out his "big surprise" - a pneumatic penis with a trigger on the base. Sadly, it amounted to just a T-shirt cannon.
"Two Out of Three Ain't Bad" took on a Vegas torch-singer vibe, with Meat seated Sinatra-style on a stool in the middle of the stage. To us, aside from the obvious rock-opera theatrics, his music always had that bent to it. The tinkling ivories at the beginning of "I'd Do Anything For Love (But I Won't Do That)" drove that point home more than adequately.
Opening band Pearl made an appearance earlier on Saturday at Cactus Music before opening up for Meat Loaf. The band is made up of Meat's daughter Pearl Aday, her husband Scott Ian of Anthrax and, strangely enough, Andy Hurley from defunct pop-punks Fall Out Boy. Aday definitely has some pipes on her, but after a few songs things got rote and complacent. There is a Janis Joplin twinge there that her material is hiding. Someone should get on that.
Former Malcolm In the Middle star Frankie Muniz was playing drums in the adjacent Bronze Peacock Room with his band You Hang Up, making the HOB complex a hotbed of quasi-celebrities and VH1 talking heads for one night. All we needed was Judah Friedlander doing stand-up in the restaurant below.
Personal Bias: Rock operas are catnip to us.
The Crowd: People who made out to "Paradise By the Dashboard Light" more than a few times in the '70s.
Overheard In the Crowd: Random kissing noises and slutty growling from the 55-year-old lady behind us. For three hours.
Random Notebook Dump: We really wanted to hear Meat's cover of Eagles of Death Metal's "I Want You So Hard," but we guess The Beatles' "Why Don't We Do It In the Road" will have to suffice.
Keep the Houston Press Free... Since we started the Houston Press, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Houston, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Houston with no paywalls.