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News that Meat Loaf passed away on Thursday, January 20, at the age of 74, stunned the music world. The singer and actor, despite having had health issues in the past, seemed invincible.
It reminded me of the time I saw him at the Edinburgh Playhouse in 1982, having just managed to secure a copy of the just released Bat Out Of Hell picture disc, a hard to get limited edition.
Records show that Meat Loaf played two nights at the Greenside Place venue in 1982, May 2 and 3. I think I was at the first and it was a massive occasion. Meat Loaf was at the height of his fame and the set list included the classic anthems Dead Ringer For Love, You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night), Dead Ringer For Love, Read 'Em And Weep, Paradise By The Dashboard Light and Two Out of Three Ain't Bad.
Yes, all the big hitters were present and correct and the atmosphere was electric. The venue may have been seated but in the stalls everyone was on their feet from the start. When Meat Loaf appeared, at one point, in a kilt, the roar of approval from the capacity crowd was unbelievable. Today, it's hard to put into words just how universal a star Meat Loaf was at that time, of course, to his fans, he always was a larger than life talent.
It was during that gig that there was a dramatic detour from the script for the singer, who passed away with his wife Deborah and daughters by his side after 'falling seriously ill with Covid'.
As he hit the top note of Bat Out of Hell, whether through the pressure exerted or just bad luck, his nose burst. Bloodied he left the stage as his backing singer stepped forward and, without missing a beat, finished the song to rapturous applause.
When Meat Loaf returned to the stage, he introduced the man who had come to his rescue, Ted Neeley, a star in his own right having starred in the film Jesus Christ Superstar was on backing duties.
Two other moments from that gig stick in my mind, the fact Meat Loaf returned to the stage drink in hand before proceeding to share beers with the audience and the encore, which saw the largest chorus-line of electric guitars 'ever seen' sending the decibel levels through the roof.
His passing will surely make next month's run of the musical Jim Steinman’s Bat Out of Hell on that very same stage something special and poignant indeed.
A statement from the production, said: ‘The company is deeply saddened to hear of the passing of their great friend and producer, Meat Loaf. The beat is yours forever.’
With more than 100 million albums sales to his name, there’s little doubt Meat Loaf will live on in spirit for a long time to come.