Remembering Meat Loaf’s Jersey gig: ‘The best concert I ever saw’

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ISLANDERS have shared memories of rock star Meat Loaf’s raucous 1985 performance at Fort Regent, after the legendary hellraiser died this week, aged 74.

In an era when Jersey venues attracted some of the biggest names in music, the Bat out of Hell singer wowed fans during a wild and energetic night.

And he did it all with a broken leg.

Describing the star’s typically flamboyant gig, former JEP picture editor Peter Mourant, who captured an image of the singer holding a giant gun while on stage, said: ‘It was very noisy and raucous and, by the end of it, he was so covered in sweat you could have wrung him out like a dish cloth.’

Former Senator Ben Shenton, meanwhile, said that the concert was possibly the best show he had ever seen.

‘We used to have some great acts come to the Island. Adam and the Ants and Depeche Mode came over. But Meat Loaf was the best concert I ever saw here, and possibly the best concert I saw ever,’ he said.

‘It was a combination of seeing such a theatrical performance and him giving it absolutely everything. He was absolutely knackered by the end of the night.

‘I was quite sad when I read about his death. I know he had suffered health issues for a few years. I’ll always remember him as a fantastic showman.’

What made Meat Loaf’s high-energy performance so remarkable is that he took to the stage with a broken leg in a plaster cast, which was just visible underneath his black trousers.

Another Islander who fondly remembers the night is safety consultant Martyn Maguire, who said that it was his love of Meat Loaf’s music in the late 1970s that led him to meet his wife, Soraya.

‘I was actually going out with one of her friends at the time and I was singing Meat Loaf songs all the time,’ he said.

‘She heard me singing and started to sing as well. We got to know each other and it went from there.’

Mr Maguire said that he was thrilled when Meat Loaf announced a concert in Jersey, having become a massive fan of the Bat Out of Hell album, which was released in 1977.

‘When the album came out, the themes just hit me. I fell in love with Meat Loaf and started listening to him incessantly,’ he recalled.

‘When he came over here, I just had to go and see him. It was a great concert. To have a rock star like that in Jersey was something special.

‘He was eccentric and such a showman and, when you are like that, you can just sell a concert. His album, Bat Out of Hell, was in the charts at the time and for years afterwards. I’m pretty sure it’s going to go back in again.’

It is believed that the show was part of the Bad Attitude tour of 1984 and 1985, which also took him to the Beau Sejour leisure centre in Guernsey.

According to a review of the show published in the JEP on 24 June 1985, the star had played at Knebworth Festival the night before, where ‘rain, mud and three encores from Deep Purple’ meant it was 5am on the day of the Jersey gig before his sound equipment was stowed away ready to be transported to the Island.

The kit arrived in Jersey during the early evening, and the show went ahead only after ‘two hours of frantic preparation’.

In the review of the Fort Regent gig published in the JEP, reporter Chris Lake wrote that the star ‘sweated and pounded his way’ through hits including Bat Out of Hell, Jumpin’ the Gun and Modern Girl.

He continued: ‘There was no unnecessary chat and no frills apart from one or two careful stage effects; just a large American on stage holding a microphone tagged with handkerchiefs to dab his sweating brow, two leather-clad girls and a backing group who were playing as if music was going out of fashion.’

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