The dance floor was packed with hundreds of scantily clad writhing bodies. It was Halloween, and the Ritz had come alive with the electro-groove of the man who calls himself Moby.
Green glow-sticks wove through the air in schizophrenic figure-eights and the girl with dragonfly wings beside me was shaking everything she had for everything it was worth. Strobe lights interspersed with green and purple spotlights pulsed to the beat of "Bodyrock" and as the toxins of the evening kicked in, the ravers lost themselves in the madness of the moment.
Add a little bit of classic soul, a lot of club techno, a talent for innovation and the skill of a tried-and-true performing artist, and what you've got is the man who's rocking the globe.
Moby's sound is unique and diverse. On his 1999 album Play, he layers simple harmonic vocals over rock drum beats and utilizes his adeptness with the guitar to add depth to the music's digital frameworks. Much of Moby's Halloween concert was based on Play, including the funk-techno mix "Find My Baby" and the bass-heavy "South Side."
On-the-spot creativity allowed for a new take on several standards. Upon request, Moby rendered a more up-tempo, dance-oriented version of "Run On." While the album track uses samples, Moby picked up the vocals and drew on his bass and drum players to transform the catchy groove-along song into music fit for any body-thrashing rave.
As an added bonus, Moby-turned secret-agent-man cranked up the energy with his rendition of the James Bond theme from "Tomorrow Never Dies."
Yet, either in tribute or in a somewhat misguided spur-of-the-moment decision, Aerosmith's signature "Walk This Way" and The Doors' "The End" also found their way into the mix. Moby did prove that he can play a wicked electric guitar, but it is probably best that those bands stay within the classic rock category. These were, however, the only faults in an otherwise perfectly orchestrated concert.
Despite his adventures in impromptu deviations from the dance club norm, Moby knew how to get a crowd of hyped-up Halloween revelers moving right up until the closing of the show.
After a full two hours, which wrapped up with older material, Moby returned to the stage for an encore. His shirtless figure stood alone, shrouded in smoke, silhouetted by murky white stage lights. Arms outstretched to the crowd, his final chords united the masses into a giant sea of sweaty, exhausted and completely satisfied listeners. Some, including myself, might even have called it better than Franklin Street.
The Arts & Entertainment Editor
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