Woodstock '99 Report #24: Moby Rants And Raves Until Dawn

Dedicated set to 'anyone who has ever stayed out till 4 a.m. dancing.'

ROME, N.Y. — The scene was the rave tent at Woodstock '99 at

1 a.m. Saturday (July 24). The man of the moment was Moby. Unlike the

other DJs in the house, he had a band.

Moby was performing in an aircraft hangar that serves as the festival's

emerging artists stage during the day. The Connecticut native, a

leading DJ in Britain and the U.S., devoted his portion of the rave to a

performance by his band, featuring a platinum-tressed bassist and a

keyboardist with orange hair.

He greeted the audience by saying, "My name is Moby," and spent the next

hour singing songs such as "Honey" (RealAudio excerpt),

from his new album, Play.

"Thanks to everybody for staying up so late to come and see us and for

putting up with all this garbage," Moby (born Richard Melville Hall)

said. He was referring to the enormous amount of trash that accumulated

on Griffiss Air Force base during Woodstock '99.

In the early morning hours, before Moby took the helm, strangers in

various states of undress moonwalked, breakdanced and literally dueled

each other with their bodies as they grooved face to face. One guy

danced as he videotaped his partner.

Images from the day's events flashed on monitors. New York DJ Liquid

Todd spun monotone dance music that kept thousands of fans, many of whom

had been up since the previous morning, spinning around the room as they

watched their favorite bands.

A long-haired guy dressed from head to toe in white underwear riddled by

about 100 holes danced with an imaginary partner. Joe Yarborough, 27,

mesmerized his fellow Woodstockers with a masterful breakdancing

interlude, during which his arms and legs moved so fast they became a blur.

"I've been doing [breakdancing] since I was a little kid," Yarborough

said. "Everybody in my neighborhood in Detroit did."

On two giant screens, lights pulsated with geometric shapes that created

a dizzying environment as revelers bounced off one another. Slogans

such as "Birth is decay ... this decay is birth" flashed randomly.

When it was his turn, Moby played guitar, jumped, kicked his legs and

shook his bald head at the foot of the stage, as the crowd tossed rubber

balls around. He dedicated his set to "anyone who has ever stayed out

till 4 a.m. dancing."

Moby sang his 1993 single "I Feel It" to loud cheers, as dancers stage

right flailed around with baby-bottle nipples in their mouths. He shouted

"lift yourself to heaven" over a track that featured shrieks and echo

effects that brought to mind performance artist Yoko Ono.

Most of the crowd seemed unfazed by the band.

"We just like to dance," 24-year-old Lisa Flesher of Long Island, N.Y.,

said. "This music is good, though," her friend Tiffany Rothstein added.

"I have no idea how you are all still awake, but I'm very glad you are,"

Moby told the crowd with a big smile.

Earlier in the day, Moby said Woodstock "has resonated through my life.

I grew up watching the movie and I have the double album," he said,

referring to the recorded documents of the original Woodstock festival.

"It was a very dominant cultural motif."

He praised the weekend's lineup but said that if he had put the event

together, he would have eased up on the hard rock and added more

eclectic acts. Two of his favorite artists in the lineup, Moby said, are

country artist Willie Nelson and funk pioneer George Clinton.