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Local DJs remember rock icon Meatloaf

AP Photo/Richard Drew Meat Loaf performs on the NBC “Today” television program in New York’s Rockefeller Center, Friday Oct. 27, 2006. The rock icon, who passed away on Thursday night, once wowed a crowd at Lock Haven University in 1989.

LOCK HAVEN — He was larger than life. He was a true rock icon. He was — Meatloaf.

Marvin Lee Aday, better known as Meatloaf, died on Thursday night at the age of 74. His debut album “Bat Out of Hell” is considered one of rock music’s masterpieces.

But did you know that Meatloaf once played Lock Haven University’s Thomas Field House? That’s right. In fact, the date at LHU was just one of two Pennsylvania stops on that tour. The other? Selinsgrove’s Weber Chapel Auditorium. According to several concert databases, Meatloaf played LHU on Nov. 11, 1989. He made a stop in Selinsgrove just six nights later.

Shawn Carey, on-air personality at 93.3 WBZD-FM in Williamsport, remembers the night well.

“I remember Meatloaf did about nine songs, but he was able to stretch out each one to about 15-20 minutes,” Carey said. “His theatrics on stage were just as important as the music, which made Meat Loaf such a beloved, unique talent. He wasn’t just a performer. He was a true artist.”

Carey said that the concert was one of the best that LHU has seen.

“To polish off an evening that featured a concert to this very day, I can’t compare to any other live show I’ve seen, as our ears were ringing, we left the ‘House of Noise,’ and ended up walking down West Water Street to Pizza City for a few slices,” Carey recalled.

Carey said that Meatloaf has been described in a review as “Springsteen on Broadway on steroids.”

“He captured lightning in a bottle. He was such a talent with a unique sound,” Carey said.

He said that the LHU show was the second-loudest he’d ever heard. Ted Nugent, who played Williamsport in 1986, was first. He also said that Aerosmith’s show at Penn State’s Bryce Jordan Center was in his top three. But Meatloaf’s show at Thomas Field House was pretty darn loud.

“They don’t call it the ‘House of Noise’ for nothing,” Carey said with a laugh.

LHU’s student newspaper, the Eagle Eye, ran a preview story on Friday, Nov. 10, 1989. It said that more than 2,000 tickets had been sold for the concert — 750 to students and the rest to the general public. A sellout crowd of 3,000 was expected, the story said. The Urge was the opening act. The Urge was comprised of Gino Lundy, Howard Briggs, Dave Briggs and Kent Glossner.

The concert was expected to be a hit, similar “to the success of the Lisa Lisa Cult Jam concert in November 1987,” the Eagle Eye reported.

Jeff Brown, the morning DJ at 99.5 The Bus in State College, never saw Meatloaf in concert, but he has some fond memories of the performer.

“When I was a freshman at Slippery Rock in 1978, the student union received a promotional video of three Meatloaf songs — ‘Paradise By The Dashboard Light,’ ‘Bat Out Of Hell’ and ‘You Took The Words Right Out Of My Mouth’,” Brown explained. “Those videos would play on a loop and I missed a lot of classes because I would just sit and watch them. I was mesmerized.”

He said that “Paradise By The Dashboard Light,” which features Meatloaf alongside Ellen Foley was an amazing video.

“You have this giant, sweaty guy and this tiny little pretty woman,” Brown said. “It’s was like beauty and the beast.”

On his morning show Friday, Brown paid tribute to Meatloaf and explained some not-so-well-known facts about “Bat Out of Hell.”

“The stories about the making of that album are legendary,” Brown said.

The title song has a life of its own.

“Meatloaf and Jim Steinman — who also has passed — wanted to have a real motorcycle sound effect in the middle of the title song. Todd Rundgren — who produced the album because he needed the money — didn’t want to do it and he thought if he just put it off that the guys would just forget about it. But, when it came time to mix the song, they once again demanded a motorcycle sound effect. So Rundgren, extremely irritated at this point, walked over…picked up a guitar … and proceeded to make all of the motorcycle sounds himself on his guitar … the revving, the crashing — everything,” Brown said.

Rundgren has been quoted as saying that what he made — and continues to make — for his work on this album financed the entire rest of his career, Brown noted.

Brown said that “Bat Out of Hell” was groundbreaking in every way, shape and form.

“You had these videos and he was out on tour,” Brown said. “It really was a rock masterpiece.”

For those 3,000 in crowd at Thomas Field House on Saturday, Nov. 11, 1989, Meatloaf provided a night they would never forget.

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