When Mr Loaf meats AFL anything could happen
Meat Loaf is one loose unit. That’s why anything could happen when the headline act for the pre-game entertainment at tomorrow’s AFL Grand Final between Collingwood and Geelong lets rip with a medley of his biggest hits. Five songs in twelve minutes will be some feat for a singer whose tracks are often “epic” in running time.
Fingers crossed the whole show is a catastrophe because, let’s face it, the only reason anybody watches the grand final “entertainment” is to see one spectacular disaster. Good, bad or ugly, the “Bat Out of Hell” will be flat-out trying to upstage the biggest horror show involving song, dance and choreography ever seen at a major sporting event.
The worst in history is Angry Anderson and the Batmobile. I remembered this atrocity after coming across a great article by leading sports blogger The Mad Chatter.
History books show that Hawthorn beat West Coast by 53 points to win the 1991 AFL Grand Final in front of 75,320 fans at VFL Park, the only time the biggest game of the year was played out at Waverly before dozers flattened the joint and it became a housing estate as well as Hawthorn Hawks HQ.
Nobody gives a stuff because most people remember September 28, 1991 as the day a baby blue Batmobile plastered with AFL decal, nicked backstage from a bad high school Rock Eisteddfod act, slugged its way onto the ground for a motorcade of sporting heroes with Angry, the hard-rocking former Rose Tattoo frontman, and retired marathon champ Rob DeCastella sitting nervously in the brothel-red back seat.
Within minutes, Angry was out on the ground belting out a teeth-gnashing, eyeballs-bleeding, nails-scratching-down-a-blackboard rendition of his number one hit song “Bound for Glory”. The reaction of the sports stars in the motorcade was priceless.
Deek was looking for somewhere to hide. Boxing world champions Lionel Rose and Jeff Fenech were stunned. That year’s Brownlow Medallist Jim Stynes was equally bemused. Long-distance swimmer Susie Maroney typically had no idea what the hell was going on.
Then there was Seoul Olympics marathon silver medallist Lisa Martin and her husband, Kenyan world champion 5000m runner Yobes Ondieki. They completely lost it. Face in hand, almost crying with laughter, Yobes steals the whole ridiculous show. His blink-and-you’ll-miss-it cameo is so memorable that Carlton Draught used it as a tag in a recent ad that proclaims it has been a “proud supporter of footy since 1877… except in 1991”.
If there’s one criticism of Angry’s unforgettable performance - and there can only be one criticism of this magnificent aural nuke - it’s that he didn’t sing “Suddenly”, his 1987 smash hit which became a chart-topper worldwide thanks to Ramsay Street’s Romeo & Juliet. That’s right, I’m talking about the fairytale wedding of Scott and Charlene (Jason Donovan and Kylie Minogue) on Neighbours, still one of the highest-rating episodes on Australian TV. “Suddenly” is all over that cheese.
Maybe it’s the inherent fatalistic streak in our national character but we love this crap. Profound Olympic Games ceremonies rich in symbolism and dazzling SuperBowl pyrotechnics really don’t cut it next to our proud tradition of cringe and kitsch.
Like Matilda, the monster paper-mache kangaroo that I’m pretty sure battled Godzilla in one of those cheap B-Grade sci-fi flicks from the 50s, who winked her way around the QEII stadium during the closing ceremony of the 1982 Commonwealth Games in Brisbane. She looked about as feminine as the she-males that hang out on street corners near Kings Cross.
“The Magic Man”, mascot of the defunct South East Melbourne Magic NBL franchise put on a show for future basketball Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal on his mid-90s promo tour for sneaker sponsor Reebok. Shaq didn’t rate the local league but he gave big props to “The Magic Man” for dry-humping a basketball at centre court during a timeout. That’s our family-friendly NBL!
Ageing Brit rocker Billy Idol rode a flaming hovercraft onto the ground before the 2002 NRL Grand Final. Minutes later, he trudged off to boos, jeers and high-fives when a power blackout abruptly ended the performance of his signature hit “Rebel Yell”. Wonder if he still loves his footy?
Even our crowning glory of sports entertainment, the 2000 Sydney Olympics opening ceremony, was a complete balls-up. Forget the crazy idea to put gold medal favourite and hope of the nation Cathy Freeman in a ring-of-fire to light the cauldron for a minute. The cauldron, which looked like a blazing UFO when lit, stalled for four excruciating minutes before creaking its way up the northern stand like a rusty cable-car. That’s still not the worst of it. Not by a long-shot.
The opening ceremony gave us Nikki Webster. We’ve been trying to give her away ever since. Any takers?
As the Batmobile wobbled out of VFL Park, few thought they’d ever see it again. But years later, it bobbed up at the AFL Hall of Fame and Sensation exhibition in Melbourne. Earlier this year, some die-hard fans started the “Bring back Angry Anderson and the Batmobile for the 2011 Grand Final” group on Facebook. It currently has 47 members (including yours truly).
Last week, the Batmobile - which is actually a 1970 VG Valiant Coupe - popped up for sale on eBay with bids starting at a lazy seven-grand.
Owner and Collingwood supporter Michael Monaghan stumbled across it when he went to check out a Valiant for sale in suburban Melbourne. Turns out it was Angry’s Batmobile and she was looking pretty rough. Still, he bought it on the spot and lovingly restored it.
Monaghan has promised to donate 50 per cent of all funds raised in any sale above $10,000 to the Cerebral Palsy Education Centre. I hope the rest will be used to pay off Angry so he never sings in public again. The auction ends on Sunday.
So far nobody has made a bid.
You can view The Mad Chatter’s post on the Angry Anderson and the Batmobile here.
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