Mandy Moore 05/26/09
Amoeba Music – Hollywood, CA
Words/Photos by Reverend Justito
For years, I have had a crush on Mandy Moore. If my wife and I were to play that silly game where we made a list of those we are allowed to cheat on, she would be close to the top of that list. I mean lets be honest here, I went and saw License To Wed in theaters and it was not because of my fellow Bay Area native Robin Williams. So when I discovered my crush was celebrating the release of her latest record Amanda Leigh at Amoeba Hollywood, you know this dirty old man was not going to miss his chance to finally get intimate with her after all these years.
Standing in front of the T-Rex section, I discussed the NBA playoffs with security while waiting for the one time teen pop-star to emerge. After a very quick sound check, we discussed LeBron vs. Mello vs. Kobe vs. Howard a bit more while a diverse crowd filled the aisles. Taking the stage just past 6pm, Moore a clearly intimidated Moore joked with the crowd as unfunny shoppers screamed for “Candy”. Backed by co-writer Mike Viola, Moore and one additional musician, the trio performed a 45 minute set consisting songs from her new record.
In watching the awkward Moore perform, I only fell more in lust (I don’t think we are at the love phase yet) with her. In between new songs, Moore shared how she didn’t feel cool enough to perform in the very store she shops. She also seemed very confused when someone shouted out for her hit movie A Walk To Remember. With a big new shiny rock on her left ring finger, the angelic singer belted out soft and sweet acoustic melody after another. My personal favorite was a song called “Bug “that managed to name drop both the city where I was born, and the city where I currently live.
Perhaps for me, the most remarkable thing about the set was how far Mandy Moore has truly come. I had a good laugh the first time I saw the video for “Candy”. As someone who respected the progress women in rock made over the course of the 90’s, “Candy” was everything anti-Lilith. Sure, Brit Brit and XXXtina have sold more records, but Moore has truly developed into a gifted singer/songwriter. With most songs touching on love, most of the crowd stared on mesmerized by the delicate vocals over simple yet lush acoustic instrumentation. As someone who went strictly because I am a pig, I truly figured I would end up writing some Bukowski type review. However, tonight I gained a lot of respect for Mandy Moore as an artist. I was very surprised at just how grown up and touching her new songs were. Moore has truly evolved as an artist and had time not been tight, I may have even picked up the nre record, it’s that good. Now if only I was Ryan Adams…