REVIEW: Dido’s ‘Still On My Mind Tour’
By Haydn Hickson
As the lights went down at Glasgow’s Royal Concert Hall, five band members walked onto stage to set up behind the long transparent drapes. It was 9pm on the dot and right on schedule, Dido walks out in her skinny jeans and Adidas Stan Smiths. No avant-garde props, no ridiculous costuming: exactly what I expected from this British singer-songwriter. Only the concert wasn’t what I expected at all.
If you don’t know who Dido is, I thoroughly suggest looking her up. Forever stanned by the Boomers, this singer-songwriter was ubiquitous around 20 years ago thanks to a little help from Eminem and her ability to make Karaoke classics. However, since the release of her first two albums she’s retreated from the charts. Whether it’s because she took time off to focus on her child or because she made music that wasn’t as catchy, Dido started to fade into obscurity. That was until her announcement that she was going on tour for the first time in 15 years, with her brand-new album Still On My Mind.
Dido’s 5th studio album marks a very important point in her career. Distinguishable from all of the previous eras of Dido that we’ve seen, Still on My Mind sees the singer-songwriter snap like she’s never done before. From jazzy horns to warped synths, this LP dips into uncharted territory for the singer-songwriter. Whilst it’s initially strange to hear someone who solely sung over the same four instruments tackle an EDM track, the earworms make you come back for more. Ultimately however, the album misses the mark for creating many epic or cathartic moments in the listener. But the live performance is a different story.
From the second Dido opened her mouth she had the audience in the palm of her hands. Kicking things off with Hurricanes and Hell After This (two songs from the new album), audiences were getting a new Dido and we couldn’t get enough. Dido was no longer timid, she was feisty, evidenced in the remixed performance of an early single Hunter, which had the crowd grooving like crazy. But it wasn’t just this song, as Dido hit us with throwbacks and new tracks, we were captivated. We couldn’t look away from her in that spotlight if we tried, making the simple stage-design very clever in hindsight.
About halfway through the concert Dido joked with the crowd, “So, three of you know that album, then?”. Whilst this was a fair joke to make (as one would expect that the majority of their audience would be there for the 10x platinum debut and 9x platinum sophomore), the audience proved they were loving the new, experimental Dido through their elevated cheers and aggressive clapping. Perhaps, the stage is the essential counterpart to gaining the full experience of the new album.
If this performance taught me anything, it’s that Dido is one of the very few pop stars whom elevates their music when they perform live. Her vocals were flawless; watching her belt and shift-octaves with ease was such a pleasure to witness in person. Not to mention, she was such a charismatic person on stage, you could not be in that room and not fall in love with her. It made me so happy to see Dido so happy at phenomenologically being back on stage. Apart from constantly reminding the audience that she’s missed being on tour, she was so eager to answer each and every fan that yelled a question to her on stage.
Watching Dido on stage was such a pleasure. Not only was it so satisfying to get hit with flawless performances of nostalgic classics, but the glimpse of a new, feisty Dido left me wanting more. She’s hinted on Instagram that she’s bringing this tour down under and when she does, I expect all of you to be there. I know I will.