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LARGER THAN LIFE Meat Loaf's Irish promoter recalls how singer was hospitalised after Dublin stage fall

'Next they could see a big hand appearing in the spotlight, then a head emerged, then the second hand… and Meat climbs back up on the stage, and tears the house down'

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Meat Loaf ended up in hospital after a concert in Ireland

Meat Loaf ended up in hospital after a concert in Ireland

Meat Loaf ended up in hospital after a concert in Ireland

Meat Loaf's Irish promoter Tommy Swarbrigg told yesterday how the rock legend once ended up in hospital after crashing from the stage at a concert in Dublin's National Stadium.

The iconic Bat Out of Hell singer, whose death was announced on Friday, had decided to burst on to the stage and fire up the audience after being jokingly told backstage that they were "a bunch of stiffs out there".

Not realising it was a joke, the larger than life character went charging out, overshot the stage and plunged several feet into the pit below at the 1989 concert.

"There was a stunned silence in the audience," Tommy recalls, "but next they could see a big hand appearing in the spotlight, then a head emerged, then the second hand…and Meat climbs back up on the stage, goes on with the show and tears the house down.

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Meat Loaf promoting an album in London in 2003

Meat Loaf promoting an album in London in 2003

Meat Loaf promoting an album in London in 2003

"The rest of his performance was flawless. It was one of his best nights. But after the show we had to bring him to hospital. He was black and blue down his back, down his sides and his right leg. He could hardly walk."

Tommy Swarbrigg, who found singing and songwriting fame himself with his brother, Jimmy, as The Swarbriggs, also reveals how Meat Loaf's Irish tours helped the American star bounce back from bankruptcy.

"Meat was a lovely man, but back in the 1980s he got caught up in drink and drugs and his life fell apart. He reneged on his contract with the record company cut off all his royalties. So he ended up penniless because of his drug habit," Tommy recalls.

"I contacted his manager and asked, 'Would Meat be interested in doing an Irish tour?' Straight away he said: 'Yes, he'd love to do an Irish tour.' He was on his uppers.

At this stage he had stopped the drugs and the drink, and he was clean, but he had no money. He came over to do the Irish tour to get the money to make a comeback record. The first tour in 1989 was so successful that he came over a second time."

On that second tour, Tommy recalls another incident when he was performing at The Oasis in Carrickmacross, Co. Monaghan.

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"The place was packed, it was hot and sweaty, and towards the end of the performance a bunch of young guys in the audience started spraying each other with cans of beer," he remembers.

Then they sprayed Meat Loaf with beer.

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Meat Loaf sold over 100 million albums

Meat Loaf sold over 100 million albums

Meat Loaf sold over 100 million albums

"Meat lost the head and... jumped off the stage and threw a punch, but a security man moved in, caught the full force of his fist and suffered a broken nose.

"Apart from that incident, we never had any problems on the tour. A story did the rounds that somebody threw a wheelchair at him on stage when he played The Roseland ballroom in Moate in Co. Westmeath, but that's just an urban myth."

Meat Loaf, whose real name was Michael Lee Aday, sold more than 100 million records and had roles in films The Rocky Horror Show, Fight Club and Spice World The Movie.

He died with his wife by his side. His daughters, Pearl and Amanda, had been with him in his final hours.

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