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Meat Loaf superfans honour star at Bat Out Of Hell musical

People outside the New Wimbledon Theatre (Jonathan Brady/PA)
People outside the New Wimbledon Theatre (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Meat Loaf superfans have paid tribute to the “larger than life” performer following his death aged 74, as they lined up to watch the Bat Out Of Hell musical.

Ticket-holders braved the cold to queue outside the New Wimbledon Theatre in south-west London for the first show since the American singer’s family announced his death.

Fans said they hoped Friday’s gig would be a “spectacular” send-off for Meat Loaf, real name Michael Lee Aday, as they shared memories of meeting the “humble” and “unique” star.

Meat Loaf death
A poster for Bat Out Of Hell the musical at the New Wimbledon Theatre (Victoria Jones/PA)

In honour of the occasion, superfan Helen Burroughs, 55, wore a T-shirt which she had signed by the rocker decades ago.

Ms Burroughs, who met Meat Loaf on numerous occasions, described him as a “true gentleman”.

“(He was) just phenomenal,” she said. “He was just so lovely and polite and kind and friendly, and would just always had a laugh with us.

“(He) made you feel like a real human being.”

“It will be electric tonight,” she added.

Superfan Sandra Priddle, 61, has travelled the world seeing the musical, by Jim Steinman and based on the rocker’s best-selling album, from New York and Germany to Manchester and Birmingham.

“There won’t be a dry eye in the house,” she said.

Ms Priddle and her friend Trina Harris, 53, both from Croydon, booked last-minute tickets to see the show on Friday after hearing the singer had died.

“Even though it was rock and roll, his songs were passionate and deep,” Ms Harris said.

The pair said they had been playing hits throughout the day in memory of the singer and felt just as moved as when they had first heard them years ago.

“The songs are just that heartfelt,” Ms Harris said.

Husband and wife Barry and Louise Phillips, from Surrey, said they had been were looking forward to a “spectacular” send-off for the singer.

Meat Loaf death
People outside the New Wimbledon Theatre (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Mr Phillips paid tribute to the rocker’s bold performance style, recalling how he jumped onto a “massive chopper” onstage during a concert in 1984.

“He leapt onto the bike,” Mr Phillips said. “It was just unique.”

Charlie Hagan, a 39-year-old lawyer from London, said: “Amazing voice, amazing stage presence, and the songs are just awesome. A lot of people who don’t even like rock music listened to him. (He didn’t) take himself too seriously.”

Mother and daughter Sue Shah, 42, and Apru, 19, attended the gig together.

Sue Shah said: “He was a great guy inside and out. He brought the stage to life. His music was just limitless.”

“Diehard” fan Laura English, 32, remembered the singer as “humble” when she met him a Comicon event in London several years ago.

“He was just larger than life really. You’d kind of expect him to be full of himself because he was this big mega star but he just wasn’t,” she said.

“He was happy to spend loads of time talking to his fans.”

Superfan Katie, 18, said Meat Loaf helped him to “come out of his shell” when he discovered the singer’s music in his mid-teens.

Long-haired Katie wore a leather jacket and a Bat Out Of Hell T-shirt for the show – a look he said had been inspired by his idol.

Meat Loaf death
Meat Loaf in 2013 (Steve Parsons/PA)

On hearing of his death this morning, Katie said: “I was laying in bed and my dad came in told me and I honestly just cried… It kept coming back throughout the day every now and then”.

“Like most people, I just fell in love immediately with the music and the lyrics and the energy and just the overall beauty of the show,” Katie added.

Maria, 53, from Enfield, who attended the show with friends Val Barker, 65, and Catherine Pearson, 61, said the news was “devastating”.

She recalled how power ballads like Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad and Heaven Can Wait had seen her through break-ups and school discos alike.

“Oh God, the break-ups – Two Out Of Three Ain’t Bad. No words – that song is crippling,” she said.

“(He was) just larger than life and an incredible persona. Just incredible.”

Sisters Madison and Danielle Cunnington, 18 and 21, who travelled down from Surrey to see the show, branded the singer a “legend” who would appeal to generations for years to come.

“We were crying in our separate rooms this morning,” Danielle said. “We were both very upset. Meat Loaf meant a lot to our family.”

Meat Loaf sold millions of albums worldwide, with the Bat Out Of Hell trilogy among his most popular musical offerings.

A post on his official Facebook page said the US rocker died with his wife Deborah at his side and added that his daughters, Pearl and Amanda, “and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours”.

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