To fully appreciate Moby, one must see him live.
The pioneer of techno and rave whose music has evolved into mixes of funk, soul, blues, hip-hop and gospel, delivered an amazing performance Sunday night at American University’s Bender Arena.
The mostly college crowd reflected his wide gamut of musical styles in their eclectic clothing everything from tanks and shorts, rip-offs, grungy flannel shirts, casual khakis and conservative button-up outfits. Blue hair was also visible in the crowd.
At 34, the descendant of “Moby Dick” author Herman Melville is recognized as a pioneer in Britain. He has been in the music scene for close to 20 years and is well-known among techno and rave fans. But his fame in the United States didn’t soar until last summer’s release of “Play.”
The record hit No. 1 in Britain and has reached platinum status in 16 other countries. “Play” also earned the innovative artist two Grammy nominations for best alternative music performance and best rock instrumental performance.
Moby not only wrote all the songs for the record, but played all the instruments and handled production and engineering.
Moby mixed his slower tunes with the hypnotic, fast numbers skillfully at the Bender Arena, manipulating the crowd’s emotions. He opened up quick, and then launched into the dreamy “Porcelain,” which also is on “The Beach” soundtrack.
He intermittedly sang and played acoustic and electric guitar, keyboards and percussion. His energy fired up most of his fans, who started out a little mellow but reached a full dance-trance by the end of the two-hour performance.
Songs from “Play,” such as “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad,” “Honey” and “The Sky is Broken” contained magical moments, enhanced by a beautiful light show.
Moby fulfilled a fan’s request, playing solo his re-mix of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Free Bird.” He also did a rousing rendition of his first rock song, “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver.” Moby was accompanied by a full band a guitarist, percussionist, drummer, DJ and a dynamic blues singer, Diane Charlemagne.