Moby: 20 September 2009 - Theater of Living Arts, Philadelphia
Words and Pictures by Sachyn Mital
Moby’s two hour show at the Theater of Living Arts in Philly combined songs from his newest reflection, Wait for Me and his groundbreaking album Play with a smattering of others into a finely-tuned uplifting performance. Though the show was not sold out, Moby, with his backing band and opener Kelli Scarr, channeled tons of energy and shared his heart to the enjoyment of those in attendance.
With a powerful singer at his side Moby gave the audience a share of bluesy-gospel songs: the moving “In My Heart,” the plaintive “In This World,” and the strangely-hypnotic “Flower,” taken from the Gone in 60 Seconds soundtrack, which was the first, of many, surprise songs during the set.
Alternatively, Kelli Scarr lent her voice to the more ambient and pensive songs, like the sparse “Wait for Me,” the chilling “Pale Horses,” and, Moby’s favorite for the night, the haunting “The Great Escape.” The dark love song, “JLTF,” was a very evocative piece as its slow piano placed Scarr’s voice into the spotlight. She also sang "When Its Cold I’d Like to Die” during the encore, a pre-Play gem many may not have heard or expected.
On the flip side, Moby then stood front and center for some more forceful songs showing off his punk and rock roots. “Mistake”--the new single and only track from Wait for Me on which he sings--let Moby snarl out his relationship frustrations. Soon after, he introduced the fun, dumb and danceable “Bodyrock” and gave thanks to local Philly DJs King Britt and Josh Wink before playing “Go,” his massive early 90’s rave single. For the final song, wearing over-sized pants, Moby gave credit to his rave days and played “Feeling So Real,” another fun pre-Play dance song.
The small venue allowed Moby to have some fun and interact with the audience. While fixing some guitar issues, Moby and Kelli sang “Ring of Fire” and the audience backed them up as the trumpets. Before “Raining Again,” Moby expressed his joy for recently rediscovering his favorite wah-wah pedal and played a bit of Hendrix. Most unexpectedly though, he asked the audience to rate a new unreleased song, “Effected,” by applauding or not--while mentioning he would probably use the opportunity to go to the bathroom and would not listen if he was in the audience himself.
Scarr, co-billed on the marquee and the opening act, got a chance to express her pleasure for working with Moby on her forthcoming EP as well as her gratitude for having some of her family in the audience. The ever-hard working Moby will bring her along as he continues his tour through the US, Mexico and back to Europe into November. If you can, catch Moby in one of the smaller venues. You’ll be lucky enough to get a chance to rediscover his less than radio-friendly music outside of the constraints of commercials. Still, it should come as little surprise that the audience applauded loudly for the new song.