Dido at the Roundhouse
London-born singer-songwriter Dido returns tonight after a five-year hiatus and 15 years after her last international tour, playing songs from her new album Still on My Mind alongside classic hits to an adoring crowd.
Hurricanes sees the five-piece band perform a dramatic introduction, before the artist makes her appearance, her vocals virtually the same as they were more than a decade ago, distinct and beautifully husky. Fire imagery is projected on drapes, while percussion keeps the beat, including gorgeous hand drums for Hell After This. As the performer greets the capital she adds how “it feels surreal”.
Taking things back to nostalgic numbers, Dido performs Life for Rent from the 2003 eponymously titled album, one of the many songs the audience confidently sing along to. Hunter (from best-selling record No Angel) contains great arrangements, a running theme tonight, with the Balearic-sounding percussion and drums taking centre stage alongside the artist’s signature vocals. The singer clearly likes to chat with her crowd, thanking them for coming all this way, jokingly saying how “the pressure is on,” as there are fans from Brazil in tonight.
The gentler songs such as No Freedom, Sitting on the Roof of the World and Quiet Times take a back seat in terms of musical impact, while the more popular tracks take precedence. Grafton Street surprises, with its calm recorded version set aside for the electrically charged live one, stage lights ablaze. Another highlight of the show, Sand in My Shoes, is energetic and fun, both the performer and her audience getting into the swing of things.
Thank You, the single that rose Dido to worldwide fame when rapper Eminem sampled it on his track Stan, receives the expected warm welcome, and it’s wholesome to hear everyone chant this pop classic. With Friends, there’s a vibe of electronic dance music maestros Pet Shop Boys, one to listen to if you’ve missed the artist all these years. Here with Me is as special and goose-bump-inducing as anticipated, the distinct resonant keyboard notes reminding us of the theme tune to 90s hit series Roswell, the vocals soulful and deep, mirroring those of The Cranberries singer Dolores O’Riordan. Other classics getting everyone dancing are End of Night and Take my Hand – the first song she ever wrote – featuring amazing drum and percussion solos. Completing the set with an encore a capella rendition of Have to Stay, about her son – also named Stan – the band return to play White Flag.
Dido knows how to please her audience, and after tonight’s performance it is as if she never left the music scene at all.
Photos: Filippo L’Astorina
For further information and future events visit Dido’s website here.
Watch the video for Take You Home here: