This review will actually consist of two different observations. First, the Meat Loaf/Pearl show that opened the doors to River Spirit’s "New" Event Center, and second, the Event Center itself. Though at times they may intermingle.
Pearl (Meat Loaf’s daughter) opened the show and didn’t disappoint. This was a replacement show for one that was supposed to happen earlier in the year at The Other Side club here in Tulsa, but was canceled due to road construction and parking lot issues. I am glad that Pearl was able to make it back and showcase what they had up their sleeve.
Pearl, the band consist not only of Pearl Aday, but also a very good grouping of musicians that included Anthrax guitarist Scott Ian. This band puts together a very hot and energetic set that will have your mouth dropped open in awe of the raw power and ability they bring to the stage. Pearl with her raspy and well honed voice and Ian with his pure stage presence and attack of his guitar will have you wanting more of this group that is straight forward rock.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
Should, by all means, be a big hit, with the right marketing and publicity. With star power and undeniable talent, as well as, a stage show that, as mentioned, will blow you away.
Now about a Meat Loaf show, if you have never seen him before, his show is kind of a musical play of sorts that tells stories along the lines of an opera. Meat has his hands in so many different aspects of the entertainment world that at times it is hard for those worlds not to mix together. His latest album, Hang Cool Teddy Bear, tells the story of a soldier that has been injured and instead of his life flashing before his eyes, what flashes is his life yet to come. Strange I know, but hey this is Meat Loaf, and he will do what he wants.
Coming to the stage to start his set, he is met with thunderous applause and screams. They are well deserved, this guy is truly rock royalty. He stands and basks in the admiration and gives off his almost sinister grin. The band launches into the opener and sadly, I couldn’t tell what the song was. The sound from my seat was muffled and muddy. It appears that River Spirit didn’t really do a sound check from all areas of the room. If you were on the floor or in the center section of the back of the room bleacher stands you could hear, but not on the sides of the stands. Had it not been for the flat screen monitors that took the place of an over-sized jumbotron on the sides and front of the stage, I (and others) probably would not have known it was "Hot Patootie – Bless My Soul" from Rocky Horror. Showing video of the iconic movie’s scene when Meat makes his appearance as Eddie.
Although the sound was sketchy, Meat himself was having issues with his monitors and being able to hear himself from obvious hand gestures to the sound board to make adjustments, he pulled off one heck of a show that had the near capacity crowd loving every minute of every song. He is a showman in the truest sense of the word. Pulls out all the stops and leaves it all on the stage. Stopping at times to connect with the appreciative audience and drop a few (well lots) of well placed F bombs.
His set is a collective of old and new songs that blend together well, hits like "You Took The Words Right Out of My Mouth", "Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through" and "Bat Out of Hell" mixed well with new songs "Peace on Earth" and "Los Angeloser" from his new CD. But the best was saved for his encore set, "I Would Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That)", "Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad", and "Paradise By The Dashboard Light" brought the crowd to its feet and drove folks nuts with the sheer energy and power of they’re delivery. Not to mention the campy use of air cannons that were used to shoot shirts into the crowd. The thing is they were Meat’s "big surprise" and shaped like phallic symbols with prophylactics slipped on for safety. All I could think was, "Oh My Gosh, really?! Did I just see what I think I saw?"
It was a perfect top off to an over the top evening, I truly would not expect less from this legend of rock opera music and stage show. He opened the doors to the venue nicely and hopefully gave them a few areas they could improve on.
The venue itself could be a very good one. A few observations that I think may need to be checked into. 1) The outer concourse needs to be curtained off from the main area, the lighting and outside noise were very distracting and loud. 2) More speakers and aimed the right way. Was this the venue or the artist? Need to make sure all areas of the audience can hear your show clearly or at least somewhat clearly. 3) May think about moving the box office closer to the entrance. 4) If you have people that are obviously going to go outside during set breaks, you may think of a new way of handling outgoing and returning traffic. Traffic jams at the doors do nothing but make people frustrated and make them not want to return.
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
Overall, it was a good first show for the former main casino hall converted to an Event Center (hence the word new in quotes earlier in story). Clean up those areas and you will definitely have something special.