Review: Moby Slides Almost Home In His Live DVD

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Sarah Polonsky / April 3, 2014

Every musician should be in Moby’s position to be able to decide whether or not they want to tour without it being too much of a financial hit. Not many musicians are in such a position, but Moby has exercised this right on his last album, Innocents, for which he only performed three dates October 2nd, 3rd, and 4th, 2013, all of them in his adopted hometown of Los Angeles, at the city’s famed Fonda Theatre. For those unable to attend those shows, the show comes to them in the form of Almost Home, Live At The Fonda, LA.

Much more than a live DVD, Almost Home, is a chunky package of two DVDs and two CDs. DVD 1, Full Show, captures the entire performance, which clocking in at three hours, is more extended than the average concert. In two sections, part one includes material primarily drawn from Innocents, as well as longstanding favorites, “Disco Lies,” “Extreme Ways,” “Natural Blues,” and “Feeling So Real,” spanning from the mid-Nineties to much more recent. Part two pulls from longstanding favorites, most notably hits off Moby’s breakthrough album, Play, including “Porcelain,” “Honey,” “Bodyrock” and “Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad.” This section also looks back to the early days of Moby’s catalog with the classic “Go” and looks forward with the (relatively) new classic, “Lift Me Up.”

Putting all the energy he would have for a lengthy world tour into three dates, what is experienced is Moby at his strongest and most comfortable. Backed by a full band, including cello and violin, as well as guests vocalists featured on the album: Damien Jurado, Mark Lanegan, Cold Specks, Skylar Grey, and Greg Dulli, not to mention a sublime choir, and most outstanding, Mindy Jones and Inyang Bassey, who between them can fill any vocalist’s shoes. Artistically shot, and made even more so by everyone on stage in flowing white outfits, Full Show is a comparable experience to the real thing—with the added benefit of sitting in the comfort of your own couch, cheaper drinks, possibly some snacks, and no restriction on your view. What doesn’t quite come across is the enthusiasm of the crowd, which other than occasionally singing along, the viewer doesn’t get to experience. And admittedly, in some shots Moby looks a lot more aged than he actually is. This same performance was broadcast live on Livestream on the October 4, 2013 date. On DVD, however, you get to pick what you want to watch via the “song select” option.

DVD 2, Extras, all three videos made for Innocents: “The Lonely Night,” “A Case For Shame,” and “The Perfect Life,” as well as the making of the latter and the making of Innocents, which shows a ghostly Moby floating in the clouds then landing in his studio, which looks like it could be a time machine from George Orwell’s 1984, some fit-inducing, “arty” jerky shots of him playing instruments, and then some more hallucinogenic montages of studio activities, including some riveting shots of a cup of tea, the bag tag hanging limply over the edge. Additionally, although almost unnecessarily, there are three teaser videos, for “Almost Home,” “The Last Day,” and “Don’t Love Me.” Furthermore, there are tutorials for a number of the songs on Innocents, including the choir and the drums on “The Perfect Life.” An insider look into how these songs are made, the tutorials are far more engaging than the “making of” segments. Plus, Moby always comes across down-to-earth and like a regular human being, which, hey, he actually is.

CDs 1 and 2 are the audio versions of part one and part two of DVD 1, Full Show, respectively—in case you just want to listen and don’t want to watch, making a handy “greatest hits” of Moby’s two-decades-plus career. Altogether, a must-have for any and all Moby fans. –Lily Moayeri