Phoenix Concert Theatre, Toronto - October 24, 2011

JASON MACNEIL, Special to QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 6:36 AM ET

TORONTO - For electronica stalwart Moby 2011 has been a year that could've seen him destroyed physically on a few occasions.

Early in the year an intruder on an acid trip ended up inside his California home, leaving the startled musician successfully convincing the man to leave without having to call police.

In the spring Moby tweeted how he was “mildly electrocuted” during an acoustic performance in Europe, one caught on YouTube that saw him collapsing to the floor.

Thankfully he still around and shockingly energetic, resulting in an enjoyable 100-minute show Monday night at Toronto's Phoenix Concert Theatre that wasn't too heavy on songs from his new album Destroyed. Well, try none at all despite one listed on the setlist.

Instead Moby relied on his cache of dance-rock guarantees and the pipes of female singer Inyang Bassey to make the fans move and sweat on this “Monday night disco party.” In face, given how powerful and soulful Bassey was on several of the songs maybe her name should've been on the concert tickets.

Coming out to God Moving Over The Face Of The Waters, Moby and his five-piece group (the male component sporting the same comb-free coifs as the front man) were relentless with In My Heart and the pulsating Go.

Dividing his time between guitar, keys, drums and bongos, Moby definitely created a rave-like, ecstasy-free rush on the beat heavy Shot In The Back Of The Head and near the homestretch with Raining Again.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you,” the musician said repeatedly during the show, adding how he first came to Toronto in 1992 and would love to live here except from “November 15 until April” when he would flee to sunny California.

The biggest surprise came when he tossed out a stripped down, impromptu cover of Neil Young's Helpless which Bassey lapped up completely, a far cry from the intense Bodyrock that he said was the “dumbest song I've ever written.” An earlier cover of Whole Lotta Love (and a snippet of Dazed and Confused to close) didn't fare quite as strongly, leaving Led Zeppelin guitarist Jimmy Page with little to worry about. Moby recounted the song's history, adding it was the “only song about dirty sex which funded a school for underprivileged children.”

As for the true highlights, most of the fans danced as if nobody was watching during numbers from his landmark Play album, particularly the rousing Honey and Natural Blues which was briefly downplayed. Yet Bassey seemed to consistently one-up Moby on the high-octane Disco Lies and the spiritual Why Does My Heart Feel So Bad?

Moby – who also put out a photograph book called Destroyed and has an exhibition making its way around the world – might not be packing in halls like current dance heavyweights Deadmau5 and David Guetta are. Yet both have to give kudos to the man who in some respects paved the way and is still paving the way for them.


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