The Guilty Pleasures

A Review by The Iconic Meat Loaf’s Resident Reviewer Deena J

First, you see the huge crowd in the arena…  Then the lights go pitch dark to the sound of thousands of screaming fans.  And suddenly, the thunder of drums sounds, and the concert begins!

Oh wait; this is just a DVD, not an actual concert that I attended.  Whoops!  How could I mistake one for the other?  The answer is “with Meat Loaf’s GUILTY PLEASURE TOUR… Easily.”

Anyway.  I usually pick a handful of songs to mention in my reviews.  Unfortunately, I have to admit that this time was difficult to narrow the list down.  Out of 13 songs, I wanted to talk about at least eight!  I might as well write about every track at that rate!  I promise I won’t do that though.  I’ll leave some to your imagination.  HAHA!

1.       Los Angeloser  –  I have to bring up this song.  In my opinion, it is a fun, little smile-maker.   If ya’ll don’t feel entertained after watching or listening to this song, your sense of enjoyment is broken.  Get it fixed ASAP!  I do have to be honest though…  Meat’s starting statement of “Now” (as in “Now…  I wrote you this poem”) as he spoke to the audience reminds me of a billy goat every time I hear it.  I can’t get that image out of my head.  HAHA!  On the other hand, Patti’s vocals during this song sounded amazing.  I love how they gave her that one line in the beginning verse.  And watching her antics onstage made me want to dance right along with her.
2.       You Took The Words  –  I have been a Meat Loaf fan since was I was four years old.  This song has always ranked #2 for me.  But Meat likes to change the arrangements of his songs to make them more modern.  In terms of live versions, this has to be my favorite version…  Even with “Preacher Meat” arriving to thrash the audience!  HAHA!  In addition, Justin’s facial expressions when playing the intro makes me laugh too.  I can’t decide if he was that involved in his piano playing or deliberately making those faces.
3.       Rock & Roll Dreams  –  Paul Crook starts this track off with an exceptional display of guitar skills.  I usually don’t listen to this song often, but that pulls me in every time I hear it.  If ya’ll like the extended solos by the current members of the Neverland Express (especially Paul and Dave), you definitely need to pay attention to this one.  Moreover, let’s not forget Patti Russo, whose background vocals are surprisingly haunting here, to say the least…
4.       Anything For Love  –  At first I was worried when I heard that the intro to this song had been shortened.  Then I realized just how phenomenal Justin plays in that shorter time.  I swear, if I was getting married any time soon, I would certainly consider walking down the aisle to this song’s instrumental intro.   It takes my breath away, even when I want to scream & blast the song at top volume.  Plus, I love how Meat tilts his head to the side after Patti sings her verse, as if saying “Seriously?  You actually said that to me!”  Ha!
5.       Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad  –  Like DREAMS, I usually skip this song when I listen the album or watch former DVD concerts.  But what I saw in this new DVD & what I heard with my own ears stopped me in my tracks.   Randy shows his own solo skills, similar to Paul, but always in his own style.  Yet what really grabbed me was the stunning yet chilling instrumental “duel” between Justin Avery and Ginny Luke, the new violinist.  I never would have thought such a thing would work in this song.  Then again, I was proven wrong the first time I watched it.  And they enjoyed it just as much as the audience, easily proven by the smiles on their faces.  I agree with Meat; Jim Steinman would have been standing there, screaming, if he had heard that!  I know, because I was too!!!  My poor neighbors…  See my comments below to understand that remark.  HAHA!
So did I have anything negative to say about the GUILTY PLEASURE TOUR DVD?  Yes, of course.  If ya’ll tend to have motion sickness easily, I warn ya now…  The cameras moved very quickly from one shot to another.  That took a lot of will power on my part not to get sick at first.  But luckily (and I say that with a grin and a wink), I am familiar with the movement now.
At the same time, I miss the usual, longer antics & banter Meat has with the audience.  True, he isn’t quite as energetic as he was in the past, but come one!  The man filmed this show at 64 years old with a bad knee —and yet his energy even now wears me out…  As for his talks with the crowd, the crew apparently had to cut that part down to meet the time requirements for the DVD.  There were a few areas of it scattered within the DVD, but not enough to satisfy me in that regard.  On the other hand, I was surprised to see that they left in the scene where Meat stumbled as he went down the stairs.  But hey, he laughed at himself and went about his business.  I suppose that was all part of “keeping it as real as possible” on the DVD.

However…  Can I be completely honest and say that I *hate* the “bleeping!” sound used to mask the F-word during PARADISE BY THE DASHBOARD LIGHT?  Although I do not curse like that myself, the masking noises just seem totally out of place in a rock concert.  Anything else that I may sound negative about in this review is just a minor thing compared to the Kazoo sound.  I hate it.

I also wanted to mention a few things brought up by other people who have watched it.  Yes, the scenes can be a little dark at times, so don’t worry about your TV going out.  Then again, I have never attended a Meat Loaf concert that was 100% lit up during the entire show.  Sometimes there is a large amount of red lighting, green, blue, etc…  And sometimes he is in shadow for dramatic effect.  In my opinion, this DVD reflects an actual Meat Loaf concert’s atmosphere more than any other disc he has made.  I even found myself clapping & yelling while watching it as if I was actually there in the audience.  FYI – the elderly lady who lives in the apartment beneath mine didn’t call the cops, so I guess I didn’t frighten her with all that racket too much!  HAHA!

Moreover, yes, there were a couple of moments in songs that Meat’s voice wobbled —for me, noticeably in “Hot Patootie” and “Anything For Love.”  Just remember, he was fighting a bleeding vocal cord at the time of the show…  Rather than artificially correcting it later on in the studio, Meat said himself that 80% of the vocals remained as is —flat or not, strong or weak.  I think that goes back to the atmosphere he wanted to portray.  Does auto-tune exist in a live concert?  I seriously doubt it!  So go ahead —make a mistake but keep going!

Besides, as a side note, the very fact he was able to match his current voice/words to the ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW video clip in the background in “Hot Patootie” impressed me a whole lot more than staying on key the entire 2-hour show!

Overall, the GUILTY PLEASURE TOUR DVD is what I expected when I ordered a Meat Loaf concert.  As I turned off my TV a couple hours later, I was exhausted and exhilarated at the same time —almost like how I feel when I leave his shows in real life.  If you want bright lighting all over the stage the entire time or perfect & strong vocals every second of a song…  Unfortunately, I doubt this is the DVD for you.
However…  If you want to have a good time & see Meat Loaf with the rest of the band have an even better time than you are, watch this concert DVD.  As a bonus, anyone familiar with Meat Loaf’s classics or even just his new material will find a track they will love.  In which case, it is a win-win situation for ya!  I wouldn’t say this is my absolute favorite Meat Loaf DVD, but it ranks #2 easily.  Watch it…  And see for yourself!