As one who is not a fan of much techno and even less a fan of Moby, it was a little surprising to see what my thoughts were on a recent live DVD that the artist has released (brief political soapbox rant commencing). Quite frankly, I’m not a fan of the man’s politics and his far-left rantings and ravings, and find his urge to help peddle Snapple-like tea beverages a little interesting. What I find even more interesting, nay a bit ironic is that among those that were thanked for the singer’s May 25,…2005 show in Belgium (in support of his album “Hotel”) are a group called Clear Channel Belgium. One would presume that this is the very same Clear Channel organization that many lefties say is run by a crony of George Bush, and if that’s the case, well, you can draw your own conclusions from that (end political soapbox rant).
Having said all that, this performance, which was recorded as part of the “Hotel” tour in 2005, isn’t too bad, despite any preconceived impressions I have about the man, the music and the genre he plays in. Several thousand happy Belgians are more than willing to pogo, cheer, dance and clap in approval of the set that lasts just under 2 hours that starts off pretty strong, as “Find My Baby” (from the “Play” album) gets the crowd going, followed by a block of several solid songs, in “Raining Again” (from “Hotel”) going back to a slower, toned down version of “Natural Blues” before going back to a self-admitted David Bowie-influenced song called “Spiders”. There is a bit of a lull, if you can call it that, while such songs like “That’s When I Reach for My Revolver”, “Next is the E” and “Go” are performed, before he picks the pace back up a bit with “Bodyrock”. Moby does quite a few covers, more than I would assume someone would play, but it’s not that bad because I personally like watching how others interpret more established work. While the band covers a New Order song (“Beautiful” I believe) and the keyboardist gets some time to play some Beethoven, the cover of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side” is pretty good and worth the time.
With albums that would appear to be heavily canned and tightly produced with not a lot of wiggle room, and not seeing Moby play live, he does an excellent job of capturing that on stage. He’s also to be commended for staying true to those who have picked up his albums through the years, as everything is high paced and frenetic, so there’s not a lot of lulls during the show. I’m guessing his “teany” products do an outstanding job of hydration, because he keeps a pretty high pace for 2 hours at a time for a tour of God knows how many dates, and from a performance standpoint, he’s very good.
There’s a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound track to go along with a Dolby PCM mix, and both of them sound excellent, as they should. While it may not be as enveloping as a top shelf DTS mix like the Monterey Pop Festival by Criterion or the Led Zeppelin discs, this one’s still mighty good.
It’s hard to tell, but the presentation appears to be full frame, but it’s not all that bad. There are some moments because of all the cuts during the songs that some pixilation issues appear and it’s kind of distracting, but not enough to complain about.
To go along with the DVD, there’s a CD of mixes of some of the more well-known songs on the “Hotel” album, several of them are different mixed versions of the same song, including “Slipping Away”, “Dream About Me” and “Raining Again”. Some of the mixes aren’t too bad, and are usually standard material with any dance album. As far as DVD extras go, there are three more live songs that weren’t included on the final playlist (including a strange, somewhat dreadful cover of The Doors’ “Break on Through”), and some music videos from “Hotel”, including a somewhat funny one with a stuffed animal orgy of some sort that earn points for originality. Wrapping up the disc are two very short movies that each run three minutes in length, one that’s kinda cool and one perhaps that could infer that Moby may have had to kill some time on a disc with his camcorder.
Fans of Moby will be very pleased by this DVD release, as it looks OK, sounds great and has a bonus CD to boot. If there’s a definitive Moby DVD to pick up, the “Play” videos are the ones to go with, as there’s a lot of extras that are very interactive, but this DVD on its own merits isn’t bad, and worth the time invested.
Special Features List
- Bonus Remix CD
- Extra Performances
- Music Videos
- Short Movies