Meatloaf took the words right out of my mouth

The news that Meatloaf, and excuse me a minute while I bow in reverence, will not be performing at the Forsyth Barr Stadium later this year because Elton John wants to be first, has driven me down into an emotional nadir from which I may never recover.

I mean, MEATLOAF! Not the Doobie Brothers or Creedence Clearwater without John Fogerty, but Meatloaf, the man whose Bat Out Of Hell album was, quite simply, the best bat out of hell rock music has yet come up with.

No album has ever opened with a greater sense of what is coming next, Todd Rundgren orchestrating a thunderous instrumental build-up before the lights were lowered and Meatloaf was there before us, fat sweating arms aloft, eyes popping like cottage organ stops. The sirens are screaming and the fires are howling, way down in the valley tonight. Just two lines in and we're hooked. What is going to HAPPEN?

Meatloaf never let up until the record had finished. And it was a record, not a CD, so you had to turn it over after side one. I don't know about you, but my whole arm was shaking like Ray Columbus' head during She's A Mod when I reached out to turn that record over, the spindle thing in the middle had never seemed so small.

When you played Bat Out Of Hell, you started with the volume knob on ten, and then tried to plier-wrench it around to fifteen.

I admit I have selfish reasons for wanting this man in my town. I have never for a second lost the desire to interview Meatloaf, because when you do this, you call him Meat. I can think of nothing better than addressing someone as Meat, with a digital voice recorder in hand to confirm later I actually did this thing. Meat. It is the perfect rock 'n' roll soubriquet.

Meatloaf was a rock evangelist. He delivered key lines for young men growing up in the biggest and loudest possible way. He was just so incredibly wise, his, or more accurately, Jim Steinman's, words were touchstones for an adult life to be lived the right way. Two out of three ain't bad.

How brilliant is that? Two out of three AIN'T bad, and that's a fact. Anyone who says he wasn't happy with 66% in a school exam is just being odious and greedy. Two thirds is all. I have lived my life this way, religiously, ever since. Meatloaf taught me this truth, and I don't regret a thing.

I'd do anything for love, but I won't do that. Bwahahhahhah! For a youth seeking a righteous and proper moral code, no sex therapist in the world, not even the high-booted breasts-pumping Pamela Stephenson, has better advice than this.

Meatloaf not only steered an entire generation through the tiny gate in the corner of life's paddock, he is still doing it. For good and bad. Would we have bogans and boy racers if he hadn't told them paradise could be seen by the dashboard light, that they were all revved up with no place to go? I don't think we would.

And those flailing white stage scarves! How many of us boys wore them as staple weapons for ensnaring young women? Even older women? I know I was never without flailing white stage scarves when I set out on a Saturday night. And I am now happily married with two children and no mortgage.

Would there be shows about fat people on TV all the time without Meatloaf? No, there wouldn't.

Meatloaf should be performing in Dunedin. It would be sublime artistic closure, at the bottom of the world, for a career that changed life as we know it. We will pay a couple of hundred dollars to hear Elton John tell us Daniel is leaving tonight on a plane. But the earth won't move like it would have with Meat. It is such a shame.

Roy Colbert is a Dunedin writer.


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