09 @ Royal Festival Hall, London, 16 June 2009
10 years ago Play turned Moby from techno geek into a global
phenomenon whose tracks reached a unique level of ubiquity,
being used everywhere from TV ads to Hollywood blockbusters
to home improvement shows.
date he has sold a staggering 20 million albums, a tally
he hopes to add to with the imminent self-release of Wait
For Me, an album he showcases tonight as part of Ornette
Coleman's Meltdown festival.
begins what is the first date of a new tour with, Walk With
Me, a track from the new album, which has a sound and feel
not a million miles away from his Play-era style, with the
glamorous Joy Malcolm on vocals. The string
section creates a dramatic impact for Extreme Ways before
the meowing guitar and reverse instrumentation of Shot In
The Back Of The Head, another new song, gets an airing.
Kelli Scarr then performs a soulful and
tender rendition of The Great Escape.
returns to his rave roots by playing 1991 debut Go. He wanders
over to his keyboard, presses a button and walks away as
it generates all of the main synth parts while he hammers
on the bongos. It's still a great track and the crowd shoot
out of their seats, much to Royal Festival Hall security
guards' chagrin, but this is one of the few glimpses we
see of Moby's uptempo alter ego.
last year's dance-heavy Last Night is completely overlooked
as is the rest of his other more electronic, techno-tinged
back catalogue. Instead the set is almost entirely made
up of tracks from Play, 18, and the similarly downtempo
new album. Old favourites like Natural Blues, Porcelain
and We Are All Made Of Stars rub shoulders with latest offerings
like the preacher-sampling Study War and Mistake, on which
Moby takes the vocal lead, and the heartfelt, heroin addiction
inspired ballad, JLTF, with its "All the time we spent
doesn't mean nothing" refrain.
cover of Joy Division's New Dawn Fades
creates a change of tone before Moby wanders over to the
grand piano and says, "It's not often I get the chance
to play a piano the size of a small car!", improvising
an introduction that flows into Why Does My Heart Feel So
Bad. The tempo does lift again for Raining Again, a track
the New Yorker explains he liked Steve Agnello's
trancey disco remix of so much that he and the band learned
to play that version rather than the original. The crowd
are again dancing in the aisles and - oh dear - being told
off by security.
encore begins with a well worked cover of Crosby
Stills And Nash's, Helpless, featuring the powerful
yet delicate vocals of Kelli Scarr, before the evening is
rounded off by an extended version of Honey. Moby improvises
with different solos, tempo changes and sections that almost
flow into Led Zeppelin's Whole Lotta Love
and Motorhead's Ace Of Spades but keep
veering back to his own composition.
one point, Moby admitted to nervousness as this was the
first date of his tour and he would usually have the chance
to warm up at smaller venues in smaller cities beforehand.
He needn't have worried as this was a well conceived, well
received selection of old and new material. The main disappointment
was that he largely chose to limit his trademark musical
shapeshifting. Perhaps this was not the ideal setting for
a full on dance set. All the same, the night was tinged
by the feeling that this was a gig that showcased only part
of Moby's musical arsenal.
- Ian Roullier, 06/2010