The country superstar was nearing the end of his Gather Again Tour stop at Little Caesars Arena when Church and his band broke into a full verse of Meat Loaf’s 1993 comeback hit “I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That),” with the crowd, north of 16,000, singing along. Church finished by pointing towards heaven, then segued smoothly into his own breakthrough hit “Springsteen.”
“I’d Do Anything For Love (But I Won’t Do That),” the opening track and lead single from Meat Loaf’s sixth album, Bat Out of Hell II: Back Into Hell, was the singer’s first and only Billboard Hot 100 No. 1 of his career.
Watch a snippet of Church’s tribute to Meat Loaf here.
The tribute was particularly appropriate since Meat Loaf, who died on Thursday at age 74, began his recording career in the Motor City. He was acting in a regional production of the musical Hair when he was signed to Motown’s Rare Earth Records imprint, joined by castmate Shaun “Stoney” Murphy. The two released an album, Stoney & Meatloaf, that featured Stevie Wonder on piano for the track “She Waits By the Window.” Neither the album nor its singles were successful, though it was re-released during the late ’70s after the success of Meat Loaf’s Bat Out of Hell.
Meat Loaf wasn’t the only classic rocker saluted by Church on Saturday. He also performed a pair of songs by hometown hero Seger — “Get Out of Denver” and “Ramblin’ Gamblin’ Man” — as a gesture of appreciation for Seger (a fellow Capitol Records artist) having him open several concerts during 2006, after Church had been kicked off a Rascal Flatts tour.
“He saved my career,” Church said. “I would not be standing here if it was not for Bob Seger.”