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The manic is still magic

Meat Loaf is not so big that he can't be humble.

During Saturday's concert at the USF Sun Dome, the 42-year old rocker thanked his fans profusely. He thanked them for attending his show. He thanked them for their appreciation, which has helped fuel his wildly improbable comeback, and boost his Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell to quadruple-platinum status.

"If it weren't for people like you, I wouldn't be here," he said. "It's a privilege and an honor to be here performing for you. Thank you, Tampa, you're the greatest."

Meat Loaf should also be thankful that he still has the energy to put on his over-the-top stage shows (this after a bout with illness threatened to cancel the show earlier in the week). Loaf's antics _ a virtual clinic of tried-and-true arena rock stage tricks _ were the most engaging thing about Saturday's performance.

Otherwise, there wasn't much happening, unless you associate Meat Loaf's music with some of your more favorable experiences from 1978. If you liked Loaf the first time around, you're going to like him now; he and his songs haven't really changed that much. Both are just as bombastic and melodramatic as ever.

The opening monologue from Wasted Youth (delivered on Saturday by Loaf's brother), with its early '80s take on adolescent rock-and-roll rebellion, wouldn't have been out of place on Bat I, for example.

Ditto for Life is a Lemon and I Want My Money Back, as well as the Grammy nominated I'll do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That), which opened his set on Saturday.

Pat Thrall's guitar pyrotechnics, while impressive, didn't add anything to the songs.

But you have to hand it to Loaf, he gave it his all, exuding the same kind of enthusiasm you'd expect from a frat jock at Senior Homecoming.

He prowled the stage with a quasi-religious fervor, through extended versions of songs from both the Bat I and Bat II albums, and mugged his way through a 12-minutes-plus version of Paradise By the Dashboard Light.

MUSIC REVIEW

Meat Loaf

Saturday night at the USF Sun Dome

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