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Main Course

Main Course

Who: Meat Loaf
Where: Newcastle Entertainment Centre
Author: Jade Lazarevic
When: Tuesday March 2, 2004

WHEN MEAT LOAF collapsed on stage during a concert at WEMBLEY ARENA in November 2003, the future of his world tour was in jeopardy.

The Bat Out of Hell collapsed mid- performance and suffered breathing difficulties.

Although determined to compete the show, Meat Loaf was rushed to hospital and later diagnosed with a heart condition known as Wolff-Parkinson-White Syndrome.

``In a sense I guess I cheated death because of the condition I had,'' Meat Loaf said after the scare.

``The last two weeks have been fairly scary and unlike anything I've gone through before,'' he said at the time.

For Meat Loaf, who considers himself competitive, leaving the stage was his last option.

``I don't quit anything, I'm very competitive and I don't care how bad I'm losing, I won't quit. I just want to play another game.

``But I just had to walk out and tell them I was really sorry but I had to go. It's a good thing I did because I was completely out of it.'' Within days of undergoing surgery, Meat Loaf was back on the road again and determined to complete what has been dubbed THE FINAL WORLD TOUR.

Meat Loaf played a bunch of rescheduled shows in the UK in January and arrived Down Under earlier this month to complete the Australian leg of the tour.

It follows the release of Meat Loaf's latest studio album, COULDN'T HAVE SAID IT BETTER, another epic offering of songs in the style for which he has become famous.

It is his eighth studio album release in 25 years.

The album follows the release of 1997's WELCOME TO THE NEIGHBOURHOOD and 1993's masterpiece BAT OUT OF HELL II, which sold 10million copies and netted him a Grammy Award.

Meat Loaf released the groundbreaking album BAT OUT OF HELL in 1977, which went on to become one of the highest selling albums of all time, with more than 30million copies flying out record store doors.

The title track set a precedent for Meat Loaf's signature style of operatic tunes, many of which fans will hear during his show at NEWCASTLE ENTERTAINMENT CENTRE on March 2.

``My shows are long. It averages about two-and-a- half and we can't even put all the songs in. I switch songs around every night.

If I did all the songs, I'd be up there for four hours.

``They're not pop songs, they're musical pieces, that's what they are. Some people like it, some people don't.

``It's just how it happens.

I always intend to write 'em short.'' His penchant for epic soundscapes is largely due to his partnership with former child piano prodigy and composer Jim Steinman.

Meat Loaf worked closely alongside Steinman and surfaced with Bat Out of Hell I and II.

The partnership fell apart after the success of Bat Out of Hell but was later revived and has brought the pair together again for a new project which Meat Loaf refers to as Bat Out of Hell III.

``The idea was that Couldn't Have Said It Better was going to be the last record and, as we were finishing that, Jim called me and said, `Let's do Bat III', and I said, `Okay'.'' Meat Loaf rates Couldn't Have Said It Better as his best to date, after Bat Out of Hell.

``You can't compare anything to Bat Out of Hell.

``Bat Out of Hell has its own life. I can compare it to Bat II. I like it as much as that, too, if not more.'' Tickets to Meat Loaf at Newcastle Entertainment Centre on March 2 are available from TICKETEK on 4921-2121.

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