When Mandy Moore took to the stage this week for her show at 9:30 Club she faced a daunting task. After an 11-year hiatus between releasing albums (and 15 years between tours), Moore was due for a DC area performance back in 2020 to promote her new Silver Landings album. As the world shut down and the tour was forced into postponement, Mandy Moore hunkered down to write and record yet another new album, In Real Life.
Stream Mandy Moore’s newest album, In Real Life, via Spotify:
Now that the gift of live music has been returned to us and the In Real Life Tour has begun, Mandy faced the tall task of culling material from not one, but two new albums to add to an already impressive setlist of hits dating back to 1999. Keeping in mind that it was a school night, Mandy promised that our ride through the evening would be “gentle” at 9:30 Club on June 14.
Stream Mandy Moore’s 2020 album, Silver Landings, via Spotify:
The evening opened up with “In Real Life” — the first song of off the most recent album, followed by a number from the Silver Landings album. The beauty of experiencing a songwriter perform their music live is that the performer has a chance to expand upon the feelings and the motivations behind their compositions.
Lyrically, Mandy Moore’s music is very personal, but to hear her speak on the journey of where the songs began to where they ended up adds yet another perspective to her words. After a vibrant performance of “Little Dreams,” Mandy got a chance to describe the song “Fifteen” as a song of gratitude to her younger self. Modern day Mandy expressed appreciation and even admiration for all that young Mandy did to pave the way for her current trajectory.
Watch the official music video for “In Real Life” by Mandy Moore on YouTube:
About halfway through the set came the time for band introductions, which Included Mandy’s husband Taylor Goldsmith on guitar. The rest of the band was comprised of Mike Viola doing that thing on guitar, Rob Berger on keys, and the duo of Sebastian Steinberg and Griffin Goldsmith on bass and drums respectively. The timing of the introductions was impeccable as all members of the band supplied harmonious backing vocals on “Heartlands,” the next song in the set.
After finishing out “Heartlands,” the band, with the exception of Taylor, left the stage for one of the most touching moments of the night. Once alone on stage, Mandy and Taylor sang the duet that they had written during lockdown about the littlest future family member that they were anticipating. As the heartwarming ballad about the duo’s firstborn son drew to an end, the rest of the band returned to the stage to finish out the set.
They say that absence makes the heart grow fonder, and I am not one to argue that after experiencing Mandy Moore’s return to the road. Her absence from music has allowed her to write a ton of inspired new music and the ability to enjoy performing it alongside people whom she loves. The energy and excitement in the room was palpable and an absolute treat to behold in real life.
Here are some photos of Mandy Moore performing at 9:30 Club on June 14, 2022. All photos copyright and courtesy of Rashad Polk.