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flag US - New York - Full Moon 35 - 08/26/99

Bowery Ballroom, NYC, NY, July 29th 1999

At the end of July, there was one thing hotter than the heat wave in New York City: Richard Melville-Hall, aka Moby. At least that's what every news paper was letting you know. Moby's sold out show at the beautiful Bowery Ballroom (Oh yes, it's an excellent concert place! - editor's note) was the gig of the week, despite tough competition from Public Enemy, Guided By Voices, Ministry and Bob Dylan. It might also have to had something to do with the fact that the Bowery Ballroom is only two blocks away from Moby's home...

But would he be able to live up to everybody's expectations? After all, it was Richard himself who told me last summer that he was glad the live tour for his excellent Play album was still so far away, cause he hadn't really figured out how to present the new, toned down material yet. The answer's simple: YES! With a drummer, a conga player and a bassist that all looked as if they had been in Sigue Sigue Sputnik before, he put on a helluva show. Going to a Moby show still means that you're attending a "techno" gig, but still the artist will come on stage and the first thing he does is plugging in his acoustic (!) guitar to go wild on Find My Baby. Some of the new material also showed that Moby is making pop music after all, with all that comes with it. Then he said something like: "Every time I pick up my guitar, my mananger's face is in pain cause he knows I'm gonna do a punkrock song". Well, the song wasn't exactly a punkrock classic, but it was the only cover version all night: Moby's rocking take on the James Bond Theme!

Unfortunately the house lights came on halfway through and even though Moby and his band finished the song, everybody knew what was coming: The TV crew filming the show had used smoke, but they weren't supposed to and so the fire alarm went off and the whole building had to be cleared out. Half an hour on the sidewalk later, everybody was allowed back in and Moby made some funny/angry remarks about the (eastern European) film crew causing the commotion. But they just went on as if the break never happened and jump right into Go, a song that's almost ten years old but never stops to amaze me. Surprisingly, there were a lot of very old songs, but they mixed quite perfectly with the new, hip-hop-orientated material, like Honey or the house-rocking Bodyrock (introduced as a "sexy song") which even had the security guys dancing!!!

Close to the end Moby said something along the lines of: "I may sound arrogant, but I think this is one of the most beautiful disco songs ever written" and then he proved it with a speeded-up version of Feeling So Real that had him standing on this keyboard as if was a surfboard and the whole place went nuts. He returned for a quick romp through "the fastest song ever written" that had him looking like the (not-so) new Messiah of techno. He might be a little guy, but as far as the blend of techno, songwriting and - most of all - entertainment is concerned, he's still the greatest by far. Or, to summarize the show with the words he guy standing next to me used: "It was fucking amazing, wasn't it?"

Copyright © 1999 Carsten Wohlfeld e-mail address

You may also want to check out our Moby article/review: Wait For Me.

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