Cyndi Lauper / Meat Loaf / Champlain Valley Expo

Cyndi Lauper Set I
The rain started just as I entered the Champlain Valley Exhibition. Considering the concert was being held outdoors, rain or shine, I was a little weary.  Walking around before the concert started I sought the indoor exhibits which consisted of your typical county fair – crafts, petting zoos, etc.

By the time I went to get my seat, the rain had tapered off. Despite the ruined hairstyles, damp clothing and muddy shoes, the crowd seemed genuinely excited. And why not. Mega stars like Cyndi Lauper and Meatloaf don't typically appear in small towns such as Essex Junction, Vermont.

As the crowd looked towards the stage in anticipation of the arrival of opening act (recently turned 50 years young) Cyndi Lauper, I gazed skyward, wondering if that big black cloud was going to pass over us before releasing its torrential fury. With no introduction, Cyndi appeared o­n stage and (not surprisingly) made a joke about the weather. As we rose in applause to welcome her, feet planted firmly in the mud, she began her set with "Sisters of Avalon" and "Change of Heart." From the start it was obvious that Lauper still had her magnificent voice and vocal range. From the low notes to the highs, she reached and sustained notes in her signature style. Lead guitarist Kat Dyson and Violinist Deni Bonet thrilled the crowd with a rocking duet at the end of Change of Heart.

As Lauper started her third song "Ballad of Cleo and Joe," Cyndi delighted the audience by coming down into the crowd. Still singing, she made her way down the floor's aisle seats and made her way up into the Grandstands. When she returned she explained that she had been asked to cut down her set due to the inclement weather. But she made it clear that she was there to party and party with us she would!

The band started to go into "She Bop" when Cyndi stopped them and had them restart  "doing it a little different this time".  The result was a slower version that the audience seemed to enjoy. Lauper did skip a few scheduled songs so I guess she had to limit her set after all. O­ne song sorely missed by myself and several other fans was "Time after Time." When the request was shouted out near the beginning of the show, Lauper sweetly replied, "Yes dear that's at the end of the show. Go o­n a ride or two and then come back".  Unfortunately she never did play my favorite song, but we did get to enjoy "I Drove all Night" and "Money Changes Everything" at which time Lauper returned into the audience and into the Grandstands.

Surprisingly Lauper presented a song she rarely performs live, "Hat Full of Stars", a mournful song she wrote about a "relationship with someone whom she took the long ride to fame and back with".  She explained this song was written when she lived in Burlington, and how even back then when she was "dirt poor" she always felt rich because she lived somewhere, where "everyday was beautiful with outstanding sunsets, and always a rainbow nearby".

Lauper ended her set with two encores, "Until You Come Back" and "Girls Just Want to Have Fun".  It seemed that Lauper was a little preoccupied, and sources confirmed that Lauper was in fact disappointed that she had to end her set early, as this "disrupted the flow of the show".  Despite Cyndi Lauper's shortened set and the rainy weather, I was so turned o­n by her performance that I can't wait to hear her new CD, tentatively due out o­n November 18th (the CD is rumored to o­nly contain cover songs).

Cyndi Lauper's Band
Cyndi Lauper: Guitar and vocals
Kat Dyson: Lead Guitar and back-up vocals
William Wittman: Bass Guitar
Sammy Merendino: Drums
Steve Gaboury: Keyboard
Deni Bonet: Violin and backup vocals

Cyndi Lauper Set list
Sisters of Avalon
Change of Heart
Ballad of Cleo and Joe
She Bop
Hat Full of Stars
I Drove all Night
All Through the Night
Money Changes Everything
Until You Come Back to Me
Girls Just Want to Have Fun

Meat Loaf Set II
Just before actor, singer and songwriter Meatloaf was due to appear o­n stage, it started raining again, but this time the rain came down hard. When the couple in front of me put up their umbrella and were promptly asked to close it, as it impeded the view of the people behind them, I realized I was going to get soaked. But when Meatloaf came out and started singing and dancing in the downpour, his energy and excitement more than made up for any discomfort.

The predominately older, middle aged crowd roared its approval. We were all wet, but we were having fun. I felt like I was at some sort of mega pagan mud fest (yet with o­nly 3000 wet people in attendance)! Meatloaf played a variety of old favorites as well as songs from his new album due out in September – "Couldn't Have Said it Better". The crowd loved his selections, including "My Life",  "Paradise By The Dashboard Light",  "Tear Me Down" and "All Revved Up With No Place To Go ."

During "You Took the Words Right out of my Mouth," he got the audience into singing along:  "For those of you singing, you got it right, for those of you yelling, you got it wrong"  he exclaimed, encouraging everyone to sing along. Meat Loaf's renditions of "Mercury Blues",  "Bat out of Hell" and "I'd Do Anything for Love" showed that despite his hiatus, Meatloaf is back in fine form.

Strong, powerful vocals combined with a raw energy combined to make Meatloaf's show something I would encourage anyone to check out. See you there next time.

Meat Loaf's Band:
Meatloaf: Guitar and vocals
Paul Crook: Lead Guitar
Mark Alexander: Keyboards
Patty Russo: Vocalist
Kasim Sulton: Bass
Randy Blauers: Guitar
John Micelli: Drums

Meatloaf Set List
Life Is A Lemon
Mercury Blues
Tear me Down
Couldn't Have Said it Better
Took the Words Right out of My Mouth
All Revved Up With No Place to Go
Bat Out of Hell
I'd Do Anything for Love
Paradise by the Dashboard Light
Living in the USA

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