Meat Loaf ‘born to do’ Vegas rock residency

One might say that Meat Loaf’s residency at Planet Hollywood is a calling, something he was born to do. That is, after all, the rock star’s own feeling on the matter.

“I’m the least paid performer in Vegas. Trust me. I am,” Meat said while sitting outside the PH Showroom, where he is preparing for a second “RockTellz & CockTails” residency. “And the only reason I did (the residency) is because everybody’s born to do something.”

Meat Loaf performs during his first RockTellz & CockTails residency at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas in 2013. Photo: Erik Kabik

Decades earlier, another opportunity presented itself: “Bat Out of Hell,” his 1977 album that sold over 34 million copies worldwide.  But the film role that would redefine him as an actor has eluded him.

“I still haven’t found that (film) role that I’m born to play,” Meat, 66, said. “Obviously I was born to record ‘Bat out of Hell.’ It’s like (James) Gandolfini was born to do ‘The Sopranos,’ (Al) Pacino was born to do ‘The Godfather,’ (Robert) De Niro was born to do ‘Taxi Driver,’ (Laurence) Olivier was born to do ‘Richard III.’ I haven’t had that role. Obviously I was born to record ‘Bat out of Hell,’ we know that.”

So in the few months since his first “RockTellz” residency ended Nov. 5, Meat said he came to a realization: “I figured out, ‘Oh, my God. I was born to do this show.’ So, I had my recording of the show I was born to do on stage, I just don’t have the film (role). And I don’t have the TV series. So I got two out of four ain’t bad (laughs).”

In the meantime, Meat said he gets the chance to act every time he performs his classic operatic rock ballads.

Meat was criticized by some for “huffing and puffing;” indeed, some might argue he appeared close to collapsing, during performances of some of his classic hits. But that is all part of the act, said Meat, who describes himself as a performer, not a singer. As he performs the songs, the characters he portrays are all frustrated, save in “You Took  the Words Right Out of My Mouth (Hot Summer Night).”

“If (the audience) paid any attention whatsoever, when the song is over, I’m back. I recover,” Meat said. “But the characters are out of breath, because they’re frustrated. Whenever you get frustrated, you go (he takes a deep breath), you start doing breathing and start acting, you start moving funny whenever you’re that frustrated.”

When Meat returns to the stage Feb. 13, the show will remain much the same, although more polished and some issues worked out. This time around, he’ll perform “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” on nights he isn’t afflicted with the so-called Vegas throat, a common complaint among performers battling the dry Las Vegas air.

“That’s a tough one to sing,” he said.

Because the show is interactive, Meat occasionally carries an iPad on the stage to quickly select photos to correspond with audience questions and the stories he has to tell. Both elements caused Meat some frustration the last go-around, but he thinks he’s found the solution to both, he said.

His iPad will be shielded from the audience’s cell phones, allowing for quicker response, and he said he’s figured out how to get his audience to get over their shyness and ask him questions about his career and life.

During his opening night performance Sept. 26, he practically had to beg for a question, quipping, “I’m going to spend 1 ½ hours trying to get one f*cking question.”

Through some prodding, he was able to get someone ask the answer to “I Would Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That).”

“I waited 18 shows for a question,” Meat said. “And they didn’t even ask me the question I thought they’d ask me, “What is ‘that’?” I waited for that question, and I didn’t get it. What’s wrong with you people?”

Meat Loaf performs at 7 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday from Feb. 13 to April 8. In January, The Jacksons were  announced as the second “RockTellz” residency, opening Feb. 20.