Meat Loaf performs last ever NZ show

By Sam Boyer -
Meat Loaf has played his last ever New Zealand show. Photo / Michael Craig
Meat Loaf has played his last ever New Zealand show. Photo / Michael Craig

Meat Loaf has delivered to Tauranga fans the concert he'd promised four days ago, but this time he had to settle for a considerably smaller crowd than was expected to turn up on Friday.

The ageing rocker apologised profusely for his no-show last week, and the forgiving fans that did show up again were treated to a thoroughly professional performance.

It was to be his swansong New Zealand show.

The roughly one-third capacity audience didn't really get going until Meat Loaf let loose on Bat out of Hell - complete with huge inflatable bat - but no matter how loud the diminished crowd cheered they were competing with the silence of many empty seats and floor space.

In his trademark black trousers, shirt and sequined vest, Meat Loaf certainly looked the part and his vocals, for the most part, were able to keep up.

The largely subdued crowd was kept entertained by the performer as he patrolled the stage, playing up for the crowd with theatrics, defiant poses and his unmistakable stage presence.

Having admitted that his Friday show had been canned because he had been admitted to hospital, Meat Loaf did appear to struggle at times, wheezing audibly between songs.

The 64-year-old singer has battled health issues in recent years and while he may not be the same sprightly rocker he once was, he was more than capable of holding his own on stage last night, belting out song after song with the support of his abundantly talented band.

The endearing frontman lumbered around the stage pumping out his rock ballads for a remarkable two-and-a-half hours - which was made all the more impressive considering he was in hospital only last week.

And while his voice may have failed him in places, his band more than backed him up.

The crowd came alive to the big hits like You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth and Rock and Roll Dreams, and Anything For Love had the audience in full voice.

When Meat Loaf sang early in the evening, "We got to make the most of our one night together," the crowd may not have thought too much. But the Bat out of Hell line took on extra significance later in the concert when Meat announced the show was to be his last ever in New Zealand.

After two-and-a-half hours he was still running back and forth across the stage, forever the entertainer. An exceptionally long wrap-up saw many fans file out the doors, but credit is due to the old guy for staying on stage and performing for the audience like the venue was full.

He closed the show by again thanking his followers. "I gave you every ... thing I had, baby," he shouted. And it looked like he did.

Those fans who showed loyalty to the ailing singer and gave him another chance last night after Friday's disappointment were witness to a tiny piece of rock history.

He may be in his twilight, but in the end he was still Meat Loaf. And for the fans that showed up, that was probably enough.

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