There are several sequences where Meat Loaf is at the mixing board either singing along with himself or dropping out the lead vocal track and replacing it with his live singing. The first time it’s kind of neat; the third time it’s really not. Especially as twice he says something like “22 years later, and I’ve still got it.” The most noteworthy parts are actually the concert sequences, where we get to see Meat Loaf in full sweat chugging along with the band, pushing his 350-pound frame to the limit. We also get to see a supremely bizarre 30-second sequence of Todd Rundgren live, legs splayed as he straddles the capstone of a 20-foot pyramid while he solos on guitar. That’s both note-and cringe-worthy right there.
Strangely, there was almost nothing on Meat Loaf’s difficulties touring to support Bat for two years and nearly killing himself and his voice in the process (though his bank account was a confirmed fatality), and nothing on his up-and-down relationship with Steinman since the record. Because like it or not, no matter how many Bonnie Tyler and Fight Club dalliances, these two will always be linked together. Also it seemed odd that songs like “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” weren’t really delved into in detail, with nothing about who decided to use the Phil Rizzuto baseball play-by-play or the other details that made the song so legendary.
SEE OR SKIP?
It’s a bit of a mixed bag – if you were moved by this album in your teens, you will absolutely find something to enjoy on this DVD (which is a lot of people, actually – this author included). However, if you were never a big fan, this won’t expand your appreciation of the album that much, and you will probably only get into a few tidbits.
In short, while the Bat Out of Hell album is pretty much guaranteed a spot in the album hall of fame, the Classic Albums: Bat Out of Hell DVD will probably play to a more of a niche audience. So while the album is pretty much a must-have, the DVD is more of a nice-to-have. As the man says, it was long ago, and it was far away and it was so much better than it is today.