Meat Loaf

Bat Out of Hell: Live with the Melbourne Symphony

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The 2004 release Bat Out of Hell: Live With the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra is pretty much what the title claims it is -- a live version of Meat Loaf's classic album, performed in its entirety, right down to the dialogue spoken between songs. Since there's no point in doing this live unless it's done perfectly, it shouldn't come as a surprise that this is more a re-creation than a reinterpretation, with very little to differentiate it sonically from the original studio album; even Ellen Foley's substitute Patti Russo sounds shockingly similar to her recorded counterpart. Since the Todd Rundgren-produced 1977 original is a masterpiece of studio wizardry and musical arrangement, there's not much reason to listen to Live instead of the original. Meat Loaf seems to admit as much with his liner notes, where he says "If you have this CD, you're a real fan!!" (The rest of the liner notes read: "Thanks & keep rockin'"). He's not wrong -- you have to be a real fan to want to hear this more than once. Not that it's bad -- it's far from bad, actually, it's well-performed, and Meat Loaf is in great voice -- but if you have the option of listening to this or the classic original, there's not a reason to choose this, since the 1977 original is as giddily intoxicating upon the hundredth listen as it is on the first.

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