MOBY, Almost Home, LA Fonda Theatre, October 2013
Well, despite a generally declining commercial profile, Moby shows no signs of stopping, slowing down, or changing. “Play” (and follow ups “Hotel” and “18”) sold very well, and now, as inevitably happens, the spotlight moves away to someone else, everyone gets older, we have children, interests fall away or get replaced, jobs, careers, homes, life just gets in the way, tries to crush our interests, our loves, tries to change who we are into machines, walking ugly bags of mostly work, and we forget, or what gets oppressed is who we truly are. Sociology aside, “Almost Home” is a huge release, which sees a three hour Moby live set – easily the longest of his career – across two CD's and a DVD (totalling 30 or so songs), including the whole of his most recent album “Innocents” (at around 80 minutes), and an extra 100 minutes or so of old hits. In the older material there is little not taken from his Major Label years of 1995-2005, which is chock full of hits, a boatload of songs from “Play” and “18”, some acoustic versions, and, tradition dictates a full-on mask hysteria rave moment called “Feeling So Real”. Moby's band – the typical assortment of keyboardists, drummers, female vocalists, lady bass players, and a choir, are supplanted by guest vocalists from the original “Innocents” album, and, in most cases – presumably because they are on the Moby payroll – they are all dressed in white. But you can't knock how vital the live show is, alive and enthusiastic, how the new album sounds vivid and relevant – timeless and timely – especially when presented by a full band of living breathing people, and also how good the band sounds live – even on this short 3 date tour. The 3 hour live set is expansive and exhaustive ; and, being the first full length Moby show released since 2005, there's no sense of tiresome repetition with over half of it previously unheard in a live format.
On another note, the second DVD is hardly enormously packed, but contains several promotional videos, and around 40 minutes of Moby instructional videos about the recording of individual songs, with hints and tips, guides to mixing and old synths, compiling vocals, and unusual recording tips, fascinating for the curious, boring to the less technically minded. However, the whole thing is a enormous and tasty package, abundant in content, and utterly enjoyable. Not just almost home, but adds a new dimension to Moby : if you've never experienced him live, this is the way in, the same but different, and how fabulous that is.